HOUSTON INNOVATORS PODCAST EPISODE 31
About a month ago, the University of Houston announced it's waiving the fees for students during the summer semester. With classes across campus switching to online only in light of the pandemic and the country experiencing historic unemployment, UH made accessibility and affordability a priority.
For the C.T. Bauer College of Business, Dean Paul Pavlou realizes the opportunities that online classes bring — like the ability to serve more students.
"One advantage of online learning is it's very flexible — we aren't confined to the classroom," Pavlou says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "We've opened up more sections and seats to make it easier for students to sign up."
Bauer has seen enrollment up 70 percent for the summer, and that could be for a few reasons — the waived fees, for instance. But also, with the mandates, many of students' summer plans have been canceled — like travel and internships — have freed up students' time to get ahead in their degree.
The school had just a week to turn its in-person courses into online programming, but that's not all that had to switch to virtual. Library and career services had to make changes as well.
"Career services was one of the most challenging — not because it's so difficult to move online, but because of the tight labor market," Pavlou says. "We were actually pretty close to 100 percent placement before the pandemic."
Ultimately, as he shares on the podcast, Pavlou sees some positive things coming out of this entire experience for the university. The school has been moving forward on creating online-only degree plans that will be more affordable.
"Even when we go back to the classroom eventually, we'll be able to use this technology to supplement the class and then we'll use the classroom time in a more productive fashion," says Pavlou. "In the long run, I see that this technology can help students who cannot physically come to the classroom and can actually get almost the whole experience."
And hey, students don't have to worry about traffic, parking, or sweaty walks across campus to get to class.
Stream the episode with Pavlow below or wherever you get you podcasts — just search for the "Houston Innovators Podcast."