New Normal

When the world changed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so much changed with it—schedules, procedures, even personal habits. In the months since, as COVID has tightened its grip on the United States, some institutions have struggled to adjust to the nation’s new normal. And others have proven more nimble, with built-in advantages that have allowed them not just to survive but thrive.

Such is the case with Campbellsville University in Louisville, which was well-positioned to facilitate student success in a world of remote classrooms and social distancing even before the pandemic. An expert in online learning since 1999—before most people were even on the internet—the Louisville Education Center has been able to shift to accommodate its students in the world the pandemic has created.

Indeed, the new normal is old hat at Campbellsville University in Louisville. “We were set up for this already,” says Mark Mann, Assistant Vice President and Director at the Louisville Education Center. “We’ve been doing remote learning and hybrid learning since 1999. So when COVID happened, we were very, very well-prepared for it.”

While many higher education institutions are struggling to build online course loads or even determine whether they’re holding classes online or in person, Campbellsville University in Louisville is leaning on the same processes it has long used to serve its 5,700 students who were studying remotely even before the pandemic. “We just translated our local domestic students over to that same format,” Mann says.

A seamless transition

Before the pandemic, Campbellsville University in Louisville had two programs that were a hybrid mix of online and in-person courses: a master’s in IT management and professional MBA. That framework allowed the school to offer much of its remaining catalog in the same format—programs such as social work, education, criminal justice, psychology, business, marriage and family counseling and more. And given that all programs utilize the Moodle online learning platform, the changeover was easy.

“It didn’t take anything because all of our classes, regardless of whether they’re face-to-face or online, we utilize the Moodle platform,” Mann says. “Even if you were taking an intro to criminal justice class, the shell of that class and the syllabus and everything would be built into Moodle. You could see your week-to-week assignments and when they were due. And when you would come to class, you would bring those assignments with you. Now you're just turning things in remotely, either uploading via Moodle or email, rather than coming in and handing a paper copy to your faculty member.”

Students studying remotely take their courses at an appointed time via a platform such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, where they’re face-to-face with their instructor, can share their screen, and even raise their hand. It’s the best of both worlds: an interactive experience whose online framework allows Campbellsville University in Louisville to branch out far from its home base.

“Honestly, it allows us to spread our wings on who we can use as faculty,” Mann says. “We’re sharing faculty with Murray State. We're using faculty from San Antonio, Texas; from Phoenix, Arizona; from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Chicago, upstate New York. They are all over the country. We’re able to hire the best of the best in whatever field we're looking at because they don't have to live in Louisville.”

Flexibility and affordability

Facilities at Campbellsville University in Louisville remain open for students who need things like tutoring or help with financial aid, and labs for students in medical and cosmetology fields remain in place—with reduced capacity and use of masks, of course. But at heart, this is a school that fits those seeking their own new normal, perhaps because they lost their jobs or discovered too late that they weren’t essential in their chosen field.

“They need to get into a field that’s in high demand,” Mann says. “A strong, skills-focused education helps them stand out against other applicants.”

The level of flexibility that remote and hybrid classes offer, especially to older or returning students with job or family responsibilities, is a large part of what makes the Campbellsville University in Louisville model so appealing to so many. Another advantage is affordability. While not raising tuition in four years, Campbellsville University in Louisville has committed itself to providing not only a high-quality education, but one that is financially feasible. This is uncommon at a time when the average tuition is steadily increasing from year to year.  In many ways, the pandemic has caused us to uncomfortably adapt to leading a different way of life, but the seamlessness with which Campbellsville University in Louisville has found its place in the new normal inspires confidence in faculty, administrators, and students alike.

Interested in learning more about Campbellsville University in Louisville and how they can help you find your new normal? Contact the school at (502) 753-0264, view their available programs, or visit their website for further information.