Studying going OK – social life not so much
Most LiU students says that studying during the pandemic works well or very well. But contact with the teachers is poorer, and the students’ social life has been hit hard. These are the conclusions of a survey at LiU.
During February, more than 23,000 students were asked about how they perceived their study situation and their well-being, and how they had been affected by the pandemic in other ways. Just over 6,500 replied, which is a normal response rate among students. And the conclusion is that the students are toiling away with their studies, although many have lost contact with their class and their teachers.
“The trends we saw in the first survey are still there. Everyone has been affected by the pandemic and studying using remote methods, but it is the feeling of social community that has been hit hardest. It is, however, positive that many students know where to turn if they are feeling isolated, experience mental ill-health, or need support in their studies”, says Marina Geijer, acting director of administration.
When the students are asked to describe their study situation during the autumn term of 2020, 63% reply that their studies went well or very well. However, when asked how their ability to succeed in study has been affected, more than half say that it is poorer or much poorer than before. Dialogue with teachers has become poorer or much poorer for 40% of students, while the survey shows that collaboration with fellow students in group work, projects, degree projects, etc., has at the same time functioned well. Seventeen percent say that collaboration in the class is working poorly or very poorly.
In contrast, when it comes to their social life with fellow students – which is, after all, what characterises a campus university such as LiU in normal times – 80% state that it has been hit hard, and is poorer or much poorer than before.
“For many students, the social community is one of their reasons for studying at the university. Many find it important to have contact with fellow students and friends, and it gives them an enormous sense of security. It can be part of the total picture that enables people to keep going when their studies are suffering. In normal circumstances, students usually gain support from each other in their learning, and this is something that is easily lost during distance teaching”, says Elvira Ståhlbrand, student support and welfare officer at LinTek.
The survey shows that 62% of students felt that their mental health became poorer during the autumn term of 2020. But a question about study motivation for the spring term gave widely different answers. Around a third of students said it was high or very high; about the same number said it was moderate, while the group of those who felt low or very low motivation was somewhat larger.
“What we want now is that the results of the survey are used throughout the university as a basis for discussion, and that dialogue with the students continues. One topic to discuss, for example, is how contact with teachers can be improved”, says Marina Geijer.
“The results show that we must focus more on how to establish social contact with fellow students while studying in distance mode. And this will not only benefit our feeling of context, it may also make it easier for us to learn and improve the results. We are convinced that this is something that not only students but also the university can work with, through course coordinators and programme management”, says Elvira Ståhlbrand at LinTek.
The survey has also shown that the students consider the information distributed by LiU about such matters as distance education and exams has been clear. The most effective channels were email from the crisis management team and LiU’s newsletter to students.
Text: Björn Stafstedt
Translation: George Farrants
Bild: Charlotte Perhammar
Last updated: 2021-03-24