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Ethos Connect: COVID-19 Has Minimal Impact for Online University

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
As COVID-19 continues to batter the county, one industry hit particularly hard is the higher education sector. Most colleges and universities had to shift to the online learning model in March with a myriad of difficulties and mixed results. With California deep in the middle of the pandemic, we reached out to California Intercontinental University (CIU) to understand the impact COVID-19 has had on their programs.

We spoke with David Rodriguez, Marketing Manager, to see how the Coronavirus impacted the University’s students, staff, and schedule. According to Rodriguez, there was no disruption to the course schedule or classes offered. “Our students did not face any interruption in their classes. While other schools are still trying to pivot to online learning, we continued with no impact on our schedule,” said Rodriguez.

California Intercontinental University is an accredited online university offering advanced business degrees that are flexible and more affordable than most California university programs. The CIU program is designed and delivered online to support business professionals who want to earn their degrees while continuing to work. 

When the California Stay Home order happened in March, CIU did receive calls from concerned students who were worried about how COVID-19 would impact their classes. The team at CIU reassured the students that their education would continue as planned with no disruption. Rodriguez explained, “Our students understand how to be productive in taking classes from home on their schedule. The challenge we faced as an organization was to have our staff set up and ready to work from home while creating a seamless experience for the student.” 

The staff at CIU worked quickly to procure laptops and learn new software to ensure that they could continue to support their students and programs without interruptions. Rodriguez explained, “As a small school, we work to build unique personal relationships with our students, and we knew we must continue to support the students at all times, especially during this COVID-19 situation where there is so much uncertainty.” 

One of the interesting outcomes of moving staff to work from home was how the staff who usually are in the office need to rely on technology to keep connected and productive, allowing them to have a greater appreciation of the students’ online experience. CIU students can earn an MBA in just 18 months through asynchronous courses, with all the courses designed for working professionals who want to earn a degree to expand or pivot to a different career. When asked about how this pandemic would affect the school in the long run, Rodriguez said it is a bit early to know. Historically, in times of recession or economic uncertainty, business schools receive a bump in applications. 

CIU’s mission is to bring education and opportunities to all by offering a more economical and flexible approach to earning advanced degrees. Rodriguez explained, “We offer a very similar education experience as traditional higher education schools. Our school’s size allows our staff the opportunity to work individually with students to offer support and ensure that the student stays connected and committed throughout the program.” 

In addition to a flexible course schedule, CIU students have similar opportunities that you would receive if you went to campus for your classes. Students create their cohort with an emphasis on collaboration and begin building networking relationships immediately, all essential skills necessary for furthering their careers.

According to Rodriguez, “While CIU is an online university, we offer a whole higher education experience similar to brick and mortar schools. Our students receive: 1:1 career coaching, strategic networking with current students and alumni, and provide a one-week international residential experience where students partner for a project with a non-profit organization where they are utilizing the concepts they are learning. With the changes facing higher education in 2020, most universities are offering online rather than on-campus experiences. We have this model up and running ready to serve our students.”
 
COVID-19 has impacted so many businesses and people by changing the way we work and live. As an affordable and accessible education option, CIU is working closely with students who want to pivot to a different career or take the path of entrepreneurship without incurring enormous debt. “Our mission did not change when COVID-19 showed up. We remain committed to equip our students with the tools they will need to succeed in the business world,” concluded Rodriguez.
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