For decades, students who work, student parents, students with disabilities have been seeking remote access for their education. Many have had to leave programs that were perfect for their studies and career goals, all because they needed greater remote access.
Throughout this time these communities have been told increased remote access is not possible in traditional academic environments and our top research universities in the country. We have been told it’s too difficult, too expensive or even that it restricts the academic freedom of faculty. We have been told to just go to school somewhere else.
We are told it’ll be better for us. That we will receive better instruction. But segregation is not equal. Schools across the nation are pushing students out of their community schools, out of their dream universities, because they refuse to leverage technology to ensure equal access for all.
The COVID pandemic and the resulting nation-wide adoption of remote instruction demonstrated that it is possible to bring higher education into the digital age. It showed that schools (namely universities) were only motivated to introduce remote instruction when it threatened their bottom line.
Access to education is a human right, and in this digital age, distance learning integration is more possible than ever. We believe the effort to implement hybrid instruction effectively, is worth the social gains. We know that integrating marginalized communities in education expands social mobility, innovation and the quality of our knowledge production.
Separate is not equal. Integrate our education system by mandating hybrid instruction. The future is hybrid, and we are ready. Are you?