Over the past several weeks, the escalation of the COVID-19 virus around the world has had a particular and distinct impact on the higher education sector. The virus’s rapid spread has led to significant changes in how colleges and universities across the United States are providing instruction, and has led many institutions to close their campuses and shift to online modes of learning.
We are acutely aware that the situation continues to develop quickly, and we strive to be responsive to the new challenges that arise with each day. As we respond to these immediate challenges, and begin to anticipate farther-reaching impacts, we have collected and developed a series of resources to help support our community.
These resources include recommendations and strategies for smoothly facilitating the transition to online learning and resources, from the perspectives of administrators, faculty, librarians, and other academic staff. We also include a series of blog posts, providing lessons from our earlier research about moving humanities courses online, on-the-ground views from instructors and grad students, and reflections on participating in a cancelled conference. We intend to publish additional posts in the coming weeks that look at other communities, including museums and higher education programs in prisons.
We are also including links to resources compiled by other organizations. The interactive spreadsheet created by Bryan Alexander to track colleges and universities that have closed and/or shifted to online instruction is one that we are relying on (and helping to update). We are deeply grateful to our partners who have contributed to making these resources available.
At present, the Ithaka S+R team has shifted to working remotely; nonetheless, we will continue to maintain the highest level of responsiveness to our partners as we move our projects forward with minimal disruptions.
Most importantly, I’d like to recognize the importance of supporting each other through this difficult period, and emphasize that our priority is keeping our partners and colleagues across the sector safe and healthy. I welcome your thoughts and feedback, and hope that you may find the resources in this letter helpful.
Catharine Bond Hill
Managing Director, Ithaka S+R
Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to conduct a case study on one of the first American-affiliated universities to move to online in response to the crisis. While students and faculty were on vacation for the Chinese New Year, the administration of Duke Kunshan University (a collaboration between Duke University and Wuhan University in Kunshan, China) made a swift decision to move the remainder of the semester online, and implemented this transition within two weeks.
We are tracking how academic libraries in the US are responding to the pandemic in real time. We encourage all libraries to fill out our live survey, spearheaded by Ithaka S+R’s Christine Wolff-Eisenberg and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, to help contribute to our collective understanding of quickly evolving policies and practices. As conditions continuously change, libraries are also able to update their responses. Our COVID-19 webpage includes results and analysis from the survey.
In the news
March 16, 2020
Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Christine Wolff-Eisenberg Discuss Academic Library Response to COVID-19
Lisa Peet, Library Journal
March 16, 2020
‘As Human as Possible’
Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed
March 15, 2020
Latest Coronavirus News
Inside Higher Ed
March 13, 2020
What ‘Distance Learning’ Looks Like For Students Without Computers Or Wi-Fi
Rebecca Klein, HuffPost
March 12, 2020
The Campus Closure Divide
Lilah Burke, Inside Higher Ed
March 11, 2020
Crowdsourced Google Doc of Shutdowns
Paul Fain, Inside Higher Ed
March 11, 2020
Why Coronavirus Looks Like a ‘Black Swan’ Moment for Higher Ed
Goldie Blumenstyk, The Chronicle of Higher Education
March 4, 2020
Educators Salvage Canceled Educause Event with an ‘Unconference’
Betsy Foresman, EDSCOOP
February 24, 2020
FAFSA for All
Catharine Bond Hill, Inside Higher Ed
February 19, 2020
Effort to Increase Pell Enrollment Slows
Madeline St. Amour, Inside Higher Ed
January 22, 2020
Report: Policies that Help States Expand College Enrollment and Achievement
Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology
January 6, 2020
Expanding Pathways to College
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed
December 16, 2019
Report Outlines Policies and Reforms that Address Student Needs
Lois Elfman, Diverse Issues in Higher Education