Since the lockdown in March 2020, many things have changed due to government-imposed restrictions and regulations. While many government restrictions have been lifted, the way we do things continues to be different than before COVID-19.
Walla Walla University seniors Artur BorgesParaizo and Bryson Collins have experience with both pre- and post-COVID education. Artur BorgesParaizo, an accounting and finance major, and Bryson Collins, a business major, shared their respective experiences.
“I like the direction [education] is headed. I like the flexibility that it allows us,” pointed out BorgesParaizo.  Online education during the COVID-19 pandemic compelled professors to become more proficient in integrating technology, leading to a marked change in their approach to teaching. “I feel like the professors learned how to teach away from students,” shared BorgesParaizo. 
Professors certainly became more flexible with how they teach. "A lot of teachers are still recording their lectures so if you miss the class, you can still go back and watch it and participate," described Collins. 
Nevertheless, it might be more important to hear a professor’s perspective about how COVID changed education.
Conna Bond is an associate professor of marketing and management at WWU. “I feel like I am teaching very different students after COVID than I did before, or even very different students than last fall,” shared Bond. 
Although students may prefer post-COVID education, there are also potential consequences associated with this new mode of learning.
Professor Bond pointed out that “the biggest challenge in teaching now is dealing with lowered student expectations for themselves but higher expectations for professors.” 
These new expectations include recorded lectures for those who can’t make it to class, online take-home tests, and increased usage of digital resources. “My sense before was that students would come in wanting to be engaged and ready to learn and intending to listen. Now I feel like students just come in with no intention to engage and listen at all,” shared Professor Bond. 
Now professors are in a position where they must find ways to engage students and show them value in learning and taking classes. Professor Bond pointed out that “there's much more pressure, I think, on us as professors to help students care, give them a reason to show up to care about their grades.” 
It appears that communicating the value of education to students became more difficult for professors post-COVID.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in the use of technology by both professors and students. Another factor that has impacted education is the integration of Artificial Intelligence. COVID-19 certainly heavily impacted education, though Professor Bond described that “[AI] has impacted my teaching more than COVID.” 
It seems that AI and ChatGPT might be the last nail in the coffin of what we know as university education. AI not only relieves students of the cognitive effort required for critical thinking, but it also presents a challenge for professors in accurately assessing their students' genuine understanding and knowledge.
While we still do not fully understand the long-term and permanent effects that COVID-19 or even AI will have on college education, one thing is certain: education is key for personal development. As we strive to adapt and utilize technology, it is essential that we do so while maintaining our humility and human connection.
Interview with Artur BorgesParaizo, 04/27/23.
Interview with Bryson Collins, 04/27/2023.
Interview with Conna Bond, 04/27/2023.
Photo by Brett Dickinson.