COVID-19 and higher education: A pandemic response model from rapid adaption to consolidation and restoration.



COVID-19, coronavirus, curriculum transformation, digital education, university, severe acute respiratory syndrome,


COVID-19 has severely impacted the higher education sector. Early institutional responses have been diverse, ranging from minimal changes to full digitalization of curriculum. This paper develops a preliminary pandemic response model based on responses to the current coronavirus pandemic and those that came before: The Black Plague, Spanish Flu, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), Influenza A, and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Some of these have well-documented cases, and others are lacking. This manuscript adopts a critical perspective drawing on an extensive reading of current and forthcoming literature and institutional responses. A four stages of pandemic response model is proposed, based on a critical review of published knowledge: rapid adaption, improvement, consolidation, and restoration. The time it takes institutions to navigate through each stage will vary, and some more advanced universities and colleges will progress through multiple stages in parallel. This paper provides a first glance at where higher education may be heading, and early evidence-based propositions to begin empirical testing.

Author Biography

Joseph Crawford, University of Tasmania, Australia

Office of the Academic Executive Director, University of Tasmania, Australia