COVID-19 and higher education

Changing adoption rates of online learning


  • Dr. Marianne Bickle, PhD University of South Carolina
  • Dr. Ryan Rucker, EdD, MLIS University of Maryland Global Campus


online learning, covid-19, higher education


The landscape of higher education is dramatically changing as a result of COVID-19. No other incident has had as great of an impact on the implementation of online learning as the pandemic. Prior to 2020, approximately 15% of learners in higher education took courses online. In March 2020, 100% of students in higher education were taking courses online. The COVID-19 pandemic changed online learning from being a convenient form of learning to an essential form of learning. Instead of focusing solely on a method of keeping students on track to course completion and graduation, online learning became a method of keeping students and faculty safe while continuing with their respective responsibilities within the higher educational system. Components of online learning, while traditionally not designed nor structured for the entire higher educational system, is proving adaptive to massive groups. The purpose of this paper is to examine the changing adoption rate of online learning in higher education during COVID-19 and the present and future challenges of online learning.






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