In 2020, roughly 600,000 British students are graduating from universities from the comfort (or lonely isolation) of their own homes. Black fabric and bin bags have replaced the grandeur of the cape and mortarboard, as they sip bubbly from their parents’ glasses, pondering an uncertain future. The world looks very different to three years ago when many of them agreed to take on a minimum of £27,000 of debt to fund a degree for which they only received 19 months of teaching.
The ‘Class of Covid’ has had a disappointing end to life in education. Most universities halted lectures, seminars, labs and field work in March as the pandemic spread west. Sport, shows and competitions were postponed or abandoned as many students left their often-cramped university accommodation to attend virtual lectures and write dissertations from their childhood homes.
Some technology companies have thus proved integral to keeping educational institutions running through the spring and summer terms. US stock darling Zoom (US:ZM) is among a group of companies to have benefited from the increase in remote learning, while many software providers, including LTG (LTG) in the UK and Blackboard Inc. in the US, have quietly operated universities’ digital interfaces at a time when an online connection with students has been more important than ever.