Although higher education leaders are immensely proud of how their teams switched to virtual everything almost overnight when the pandemic broke out, students have far fewer views on this point. One interviewee wrote: “In my opinion, there was almost no actual learning last year. This is really a lot of money.” Student Voice SurveyYes 2,000 college students, and others have similar opinions.
By carrying out Inside higher education The University Pulse Survey conducted by Kaplan from May 23 to 27 explored how students believe the pandemic affects their academic progress and overall success at the university.
When asked about the value of the education they received in the past year, 44% of students thought it was very good or very good. But only 7% rated it as excellent, and almost three times as many people rated it as poor. Men and students of non-binary gender are more likely to give bad reviews than women (23% each versus 15% for women).
“We don’t need to ignore what students are telling us at the moment,” said David Graham, Assistant Deputy Provost of the Office of Student Academic Successful Transition and Academic Growth at Ohio State University. “Before the pandemic, the value proposition of higher education was questioned. Popularity will only accelerate or amplify this problem. As managers, we need to listen to the views and expectations of students.”
He added that in March last year, the university “reached 180 degrees” and moving forward must include continuing to “redesign and reimagine higher education” to meet the needs of students.
Brittany Conley, a research analyst at NACS OnCampus, explained that in the National College Store Association student survey conducted a few months after the pandemic, less than half of the students said they were also asked to provide feedback to their institution about the switch to online Research. “If you don’t get the opinions of the students, I don’t think you can design something that works with students,” she said.
The Student Voice survey asked about the services of institutions that helped study during the COVID-19 period. More than one-third of the respondents said that none of the listed items were available. One-third of students found academic advice useful, and a quarter of students found tutoring helpful. Only 17% believe that career services can contribute to a more successful school year.
As managers and faculty and staff hope to open the campus more fully this fall, the survey results show that after three semesters affected by COVID, actions can be taken to help students get back on track.
1. Support the goal of graduation on time.
Nearly a quarter of the students surveyed believe that the pandemic (more or less) will cause the graduation date to be delayed. Students at two-year universities and public universities are more likely than students at four-year and private universities to indicate the possibility of delaying graduation, at least to a certain extent.
President Donde Plowman said that officials at the University of Tennessee Knoxville have asked the academic department to study ways to deal with requirements flexibly, such as canceling the requirement to study abroad for certain courses. Other institutions are reviewing course requirements. A survey respondent at a public university pointed out that “time is money” and put forward an argument for canceling courses that are not important to his major. “Being a’well-rounded student’ is not a valid reason to continue this type of education,” the student wrote.
For a long time, the principal of Complete College America has been calling on states and institutions to review policies that hinder graduation. He said the pandemic highlights why these actions are meaningful. “We keep saying,’Let’s find out the policy you gave up temporarily and think about how to stick to it. [the changes] In the long run,'” Yolanda Watson Spiva said. “Considering the campus, I can imagine a 20-50 year policy. “
For example, changes made after the policy review may give staff more flexibility to deal with the consequences of student account freezes, such as those that hinder the ability to register for the next semester or obtain transcripts. “Everyone is in a fight or flight mode,” Watson Spiva said, so the university did not prioritize policy changes. But as the country recovered from the pandemic, she saw more will.
She hopes to see more attention be paid to non-credit tuition courses, as the university shifts to the common compulsory courses for students who need more basic knowledge of subjects to enter the university. “How do students stay motivated during college? This is by taking college courses,” she said.
As Graham pointed out, “You can get empathy as you want, but if policies don’t support your empathy, it’s difficult.” He added that Ohio State University is studying how its system interacts with others. Student cooperation in crisis. “It’s not that we can’t chew gum and skip rope at the same time, but it’s been an exhausting year and everyone is operating outside of their elements.”
Watson Spiva also hopes to see more provisions from the university, such as during breaks, so that students can earn credits. To cope with the challenge of providing mandatory courses more frequently so that students can study these courses, she recommends cooperating with other universities. Students may take virtual courses through this institution, but they can earn credits at their institution.
2. Anticipate new and stronger student needs.
Students’ main concerns about falls are focused on motivation and attention. Mental health issues are also important. Nearly a quarter of students have lingering concerns about COVID-19.
“I think motivation is a bigger problem than we have faced in the past. We are increasingly aware of the importance of motivation and participation,” said Barbara Means, executive director of Digital Promise, a non-profit organization focused on education. She expects that most students’ motivation problems will decrease in the fall, but they will not disappear, especially when the teaching is not attractive or the content is difficult.
Conley of NACS said: “I think there is an assumption that once students return to a face-to-face class, they will feel normal and more satisfied, but this is not what we should assume.”
In terms of mental health, Watson Spiva pointed out that even students who excel academically may experience severe loneliness. She added that research after the 1918 pandemic found that the health crisis had a lingering effect on mental health.
In addition, students who used to live part-time or unpaid work can now work full-time. Watson Spiva said that students who may have had health care or dependent day care before may not be there now. “The situation has changed-student data for 2019 is now unavailable. Who are the students we serve? What challenges do they bring? Students will change when they come back.”
Of course, this requires data collection and analysis. “These will be the most surveyed students in history,” she quipped.
3. Prepare for the supportive new school year.
The vast majority of Student Voice survey respondents-even those who are still studying completely at home this spring-do plan to re-enroll in the fall semester; only 5% said they will not return. (NACS researchHowever, it was found that 30% of students seriously considered dropping out this school year. )
Many organizations treat sophomores as “freshmen” and include them in orientation activities or create separate orientation activities for this group of students.
Proman reports that UT Knoxville for fall admissions is starting The roll starts to come back This year’s initiative aims to redirect back-to-school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to face-to-face campus life. “In some ways, we are facing three first-year classes: those from high school, sophomores who spent their first year in a virtual environment, and juniors who only had one semester. We are approaching this, as if They are all first-year students,” said Amber Williams, the deputy provost for student success.
After completing face-to-face programming within six weeks, each participating student will receive a $250 stipend. “Some of them involve academic support services and meetings with coaches. Some of them are leadership development and participation in professional development activities, there is a bucket of inclusiveness and diversity, and a series of activities,” Williams said. “In order to get them on the right path and finish their college career, we need them to connect with each other.”
On the academic side, Tennessee professors put forward requirements for targeted content. One is to study with students how to conduct group work in a team. “And we will have a conscious dialogue around classroom participation, what does it look like. If they encounter challenges in the course, when should they contact the teachers? When will they approach the academic chair?” Williams explained, and Added that it is necessary to understand the hierarchy. “When students encounter a setback, they either put it on social media or send an email to the top of the organization.”
No one wants to assume that students know what it means to succeed in college.
The university held a six-week orientation for freshmen last year, and it will continue until 2021-22. Williams said that the goal of helping students navigate the campus is to create an environment where they feel confident and motivated, set high expectations but help them meet, and build structures that ensure student success.
For example, the math counseling and tutoring team will explain what success looks like and will motivate the participation of the study group or tutoring course. “They will be rewarded for participating in the study,” Williams said. Ploman added that no one wants to assume that students know what it means to succeed in college.
Watson Spiva hopes that universities can be student-centered. “Students, especially those from underrepresented, low-income, first-generation groups, need University-they don’t just want it,” she said. “We must create an environment to help them achieve their goals. “
Read about Inside Higher Education/College Pulse student success survey, about the difficult lessons students learned about academic progress during the pandemic, Here.