In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the world pivoted to virtual learning, and a host of negative consequences quickly followed. Virtual learning exhausts students, exacerbates social class differences and mirrors the gender inequities that exist in in-person classes.
And yet for all its drawbacks, virtual learning has an equalizing power that is undeniable. More institutions of higher learning must leverage many of the features that virtual learning provides to reduce bias and increase accessibility and inclusion for students, and to improve learning outcomes in ways not possible in person.
In a physical classroom, the professor is at the podium and students choose their seats in the classroom. This may result in unconscious biases in both the professor and students about the abilities or motivations of various students (front row or back benchers), fueling disparate effects on learning outcomes.
In a virtual setting, the teacher and students have