Back to School and The Pandemic
It’s the start of another semester for colleges and universities across North America. While many believed that students would be going back to full-time on campus learning, COVID had other plans. Many schools have announced that the semester will start online.
This is a major setback for students and educators. Students find it difficult to stay engaged and are worried about how learning disruptions due to COVID will impact their ability to graduate on time and enter the workforce.
Faculty are being forced to once again adapt to an online learning environment and learn new processes and tools. Reduced student enrollment due to COVID is causing some schools to reduce staff, further adding pressure on faculty.
Pandemic fatigue is real, students and faculty are burnt out, and they have every right to be. Luckily (or unluckily), we have been in this situation before and many schools have been developing infrastructure and processes to support online learning.
Still, they could use some support. Software publishers have a prime opportunity to support learning and become part of the curriculum. This can be accomplished by starting an academic program.
Starting an academic program might seem like a daunting task. There are many companies running large elaborate academic programs (see our blog post on academic programs) that are making a big impact. Don’t let the size of these programs dissuade you, it’s easy to start small and grow an academic program into something bigger.
So, how do you start? First you need to think about what you can offer to students and faculty to support learning. It doesn’t need to be anything big, and a little can go a long way! Below are some examples of things you can offer to support online learning.
Providing academic users with discounts on your products helps ensure that students and faculty can afford to have access to the tools they need off campus. Even if your product is not the same tool being used on campus, it may be a good substitute.
Providing students and faculty with access to a free trial or limited version of your software will provide support for students when they need it. A trial helps ensure that students can complete assignments or work on special projects. If your product is geared towards enterprise customers, it’s unlikely that a student will need all the features available in an enterprise version. Consider providing a limited version of your product for students to use. Limited versions can be made available for free to academic users or at a discount.
We all know that it’s easier to teach someone in person. Educators are limited in their ability to teach when they can’t be with their students. Ease the burden of having to teach remotely with learning materials. You know your product category better than anyone else, leverage that knowledge with content that supports learning. This can be things like a series of videos, instructional guides, lesson plans, quizzes, and template files.
You will need to ensure your discount or other academic offering is securely made available to students and faculty. The best way to ensure only students and faculty are given access to your academic offer is by working with a partner like Proxi.id to verify academic status of users.
Without working with a partner to verify academic status there is a risk that non-academic users will take advantage of your offer. This can introduce the risk of fraud and sales cannibalization of product lines.
To learn more about academic verification, please contact us.