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June 21, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Amid pandemic, Maine College finds record enrollment from diverse learning options

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video, click here.

Summary: Across the country, more than 60 colleges have closed or merged since 2016. The COVID-19 pandemic put further financial pressure on colleges and students alike. But one college in Unity, Maine is seeing record enrollment by offering students various learning options. New forms of alternative learning are just one of many outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeffrey Brown looks at what they could mean for the future of colleges. It’s part of our ongoing series, “Rethinking College.”

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • What is Unity College and where is it located?
  • Why is student Delana Kirwan upset?
  • Who is affected by Unity’s recent change?
  • When did Unity College start to prepare materials for remote learning?
  • How has the transition to online learning benefitted student Joshua Tait and professor Katera Moore?

Focus questions:

  1. As students in the pandemic, reflect on your own learning experiences. What has been beneficial about remote learning, what has been hard about it? Do you imagine similar challenges and benefits for a college? 
  2. Discuss with one or more classmates: do you think there is an argument to keep some degree of remote learning? How might this be possible for grade school students?

Media literacy: This piece is primarily conducted via interview, but some are in person and some are over zoom. Compare and contrast the advantages to each of them, did you think one was more effective than the other?

Dig deeper: 

  1. For a timeline of the history of online education, check out this website.
  2. For more on the effects of distance learning, check out these PBS NewsHour pieces: 

This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.


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