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June 17, 2020

New report shows online rapid response of postsecondary institutions during COVID-19

Colleges and universities across the country were forced to quickly close campuses and move learning online due to COVID-19. The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development has collected data on how the state’s colleges and universities responded to the health crisis, specifically focusing on their online rapid response.

More than 75 public and private institutions provided input from March through May, offering key insights about the abrupt transition to remote learning, including challenges faced, and lessons learned.

Today, the department released its findings in an after-action report. The report concluded that while many institutions faced difficult challenges, they experienced positive opportunities to create stronger communities, become more flexible for students, and develop strategies to flourish in the future.

“While many of Missouri’s colleges and universities entered this moment with great uncertainty, we are pleased that campuses were able to identify and address issues and challenges facing students,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “We hope administrators and educators will reference this report as they determine how to best serve students going forward.”

The majority of institutions found that, as they converted hundreds of courses from face-to-face to remote learning, many students had challenges accessing technology or equipment for online learning.

To improve their remote learning capabilities, institutions devised and implemented new strategies, such as calling every student once a semester, expanding virtual meeting licensing, and distributing computers with built-in internet hotspots.

Subsequent reports will be released in the coming months focused on other facets of challenges faced by higher education institutions during COVID-19. You can access the full Online Rapid Response After-Action Report, at  https://dhewd.mo.gov/documents/AAR.pdf.


About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.