This follows from the skills and flexibility that faculty and students have gained and appreciated from online learning during the pandemic.
While addressing the needs of first-year postsecondary students by offering as many in-person classes as possible early in the semester, additional attention must be given to faculty and students who wish to pursue online, hybrid, and blended instruction by allowing for the development of institutional policies and providing these faculty with technopedagogical support. This requires the release and reallocation of higher education budgets.
Future research should focus on students with additional responsibilities (single parents, shift workers, caregivers, etc.), who form a specific online learning clientele, in addition to the new clientele that developed during the pandemic, in order to offer these students the best chances of success.
Finally, the pandemic has taught us an important lesson: disability can be visible (e.g., limited mobility) or invisible (e.g., a mental health issue), permanent or temporary/situational. It is not always easy or possible to disclose a disability and we firmly believe that the use of Universal Design for Learning in higher education, for both in-person and distance learning, should be strongly encouraged to increase accessibility and equity.
Anick Legault, Dawson College
Deposit of the research report: June 2022