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Report Points to Negative Effects of COVID-19 on Student Success

In a recent survey, three-quarters of U.S.-based students, faculty and administrators reported that COVID-19 has negatively affected student engagement. Nearly as many (73 percent) said the pandemic has damaged their work and career readiness. And seven in 10 (70 percent) said they believed that more students are falling behind in their studies as a result of COVID-19. The shift to online learning hasn't drawn huge approval: Fewer than half (48 percent) of survey respondents said their preference for online learning has increased; and the same share said they hold a "more positive opinion" about online learning than before the virus changed life.

Globally, administrators were more likely than students to hold a higher opinion of online learning (62 percent of administrators compared to 50 percent for students).

Those results were shared by learning management system company Instructure, which commissioned Hanover Research to do a global survey in June that drew 7,070 qualified responses from 13 countries. Instructure, which produces Canvas, said it would repeat the survey annually, to monitor trends.

The survey showed that worldwide respondents believe student success is driven heavily by access to the internet, devices and technology (89 percent, 87 percent and 86 percent, respectively). That was followed by the quality of faculty and learning resources (88 percent for both) and engaging content and instruction and hands-on instruction (86 percent for both). Psychological well-being was also high on the list, mentioned by 88 percent of survey participants.

Interestingly, engagement levels rose with income. According to a report on the findings, self-identified upper economic-class students were two-and-a-half times more likely to report being "extremely engaged" in their courses: 56 percent versus 21 percent of people in a lower economic class. Those in the latter demographic were four times more likely to report difficulty in staying "very engaged" with online and remote learning (11 percent for lower income versus 48 percent for higher income).

"Although 2020 has created stressful moments of transition, it has also opened up opportunities and accelerated many changes that were beginning to take place in higher education," said Melissa Loble, chief customer experience officer at Instructure, in a statement. "Colleges and universities have become much more agile in decision-making and we're seeing more and more siloes breaking down. Now, more than ever, it's critical for colleges and universities to better understand what students need to be successful and engaged."

More results are available in the report, "State of Student Success and Trends in Higher Education," which is available with registration on the Instructure website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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