With some many schools trying to decide the best ways to navigate the coronavirus pandemic, secondary education is also trying to navigate these uncharted waters. Unity College announced that they have decided to permanently transition the school to a hybrid learning model.

According to a news release by the school:

"Hybrid Learning grants students control over their education through a nonstandard calendar, shorter terms, differentiated tuition, and a multi-modality curriculum that does not rely on maintaining a physical campus. Hybrid Learning retools how we envision education, aligns with the needs of the professional world, and prepares students for their next chapter – whether that is a first job or graduate school – all while giving students control over their educational pace and path”

Unity was one of the colleges my daughter was considering and we enjoyed the campus tour and orientation. However, with the adoption of the hybrid learning model, the campus is really not necessary any longer. So according to the press release the board of the school also authorized Unity's leadership team the option to explore the sale of any assets, and that includes the main campus, located at 90 Quaker Hill Road in Unity. So there is a very good chance that the current campus could be sold in favor of a virtual campus.

“Going from campus-centered to entirely hybrid with no dependence on a fixed campus is the very essence of the type of innovation needed to succeed in today’s economic and educational environment. By eliminating a centralized campus allows us to meet Unity students where they are and offer face-to-face and online courses in multiple locations to best fit the learning experience.”

According to the Chief Learning Officer at Unity;

“Unity College has a rich history in community-based learning and offering courses in a variety of geographic locations to engage our students in immersive learning opportunities, we can offer courses in community colleges, high schools, at any of our owned or leased spaces, and all over the world in places like Costa Rica to study ecology or Alaska to study climate change.”

Closer to home, Unity College plans to secure the use of locations across Maine, including Unity College Sky Lodge in rural Jackman,places along the rocky coast of Acadia National Park and even in cities like Portland, all to provide hands-on learning opportunities in a real-world environment, which is what many students seek.

Although the pandemic did help to decide to go in the direction of a hybrid learning model sooner rather than later, the school says the transition is not a reaction to the pandemic as it has been on the schools radar for some time. Unity feels it is also a critical next step in helping the College thrive and better serve students in the 21st century, while hoping to create a model that is relatively pandemic-proof.

Click Here to read the full press release.

What are your thoughts? How comfortable are you with this new model for some traditional schools?

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