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Online learning during pandemic has negatively impacted students: Survey

A third-year political science class (POLS 320, Canadian Politics and Policy, instructor Jason Morris) conducted a survey targeted at post-secondary students throughout northern B.C.

The results found that the move to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has had an overall negative impact on quality of education and students’ ability to meet academic goals.
The online survey was live from March 25-April 12, open to all students at all post secondary institutions in northern B.C. The survey received 250 responses, for a margin of error of +/-6 per cent with a confidence level of 95 per cent.

“Going into the study, we had our own thoughts of what the survey might reveal based on our own experiences and opinions,” said Brianna Stinson, political science student. “Some of the results were surprising, however. It was helpful that so many students participated, and it speaks to students’ really wanting their voices heard on the matter.”

The majority of respondents felt that their education over the past year has been negatively affected, with 79.21 per cent stating their education has been much worse or somewhat worse.

Only 15 per cent found the transition to online learning was positive. A full 64 per cent of respondents stated the pandemic and transition to online learning negatively affected their ability to meet their goals. Only 16 per cent felt they were able to achieve their academic goals better during the pandemic, and around 20 per cent found their ability to meet their goals was unchanged.

The desire to go back to face-to-face learning was not as high as expected. Almost 59 per cent of respondents stated they find returning to face-to-face learning to be desirable. About 16 per cent feel neutral about returning. Just over 28 per cent of students did not support returning to face-to-face learning.

“We suspected that post-secondary students were affected but we wanted to know more fully, in what ways,” said Devin Croin, another student. “Now that we have the results, it’s been a good opportunity for students of this class to get real world experience on putting their ear to the ground and capturing what is happening to a community, in the moment. By taking the time to capture real data, we have moved beyond anecdotal discussions and gained a clearer picture of what is happening to the students.”

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