Four walls and one screen

Students open up about their well-being, study progress and engagement during the pandemic.

“I always used to feel inspired and motivated by the environment at school and the building, the social contact with fellow students and lecturers and now all of the above isn’t possible anymore. I just don’t have energy for anything.” This is a quote from a student who participated in a recent study regarding studying during corona, conducted under the consisting lines of research Study Success & Diversity Issues.

Fed up with everything
The quote describes the general feeling amongst students of being fed up with this situation. Results of the study confirmed this sentiment. In comparison with earlier research on the same topic, conducted in the summer of 2020, students in the second wave seem to be more passive and calm. They not only struggle with their motivation and well-being but they also experience a decrease in learning enjoyment. Furthermore we find that the corona crisis has mainly served as a magnifying glass to expose problems that have been around for a while. Besides that, the existing gap between education inequality amongst students has widened.

You can have fun conversations via the laptop, but if you want to talk to someone about something that you didn’t like or felt uncomfortable about, then I find it difficult to express this via the laptop.
Rianne - student Social Work

Good to raise our voice
For this particular follow up study, fifty students in total have been interviewed. We talked with them about how they are doing, how they experience this corona situation and how it influences their motivation, well-being and engagement, as well as their study performances and study behaviour. Most students said it felt good to participate in this study, having this type of conversations already made them feel more engaged with the university and the study programme.

When you are in the classroom with your classmates, there’s always someone, a friend who’s in your class and says “Oh Tom, don’t forget we have to hand in this or that assignment. Kind of a check. You don’t have that now so sometimes I find out last minute that an assignment needs to be handed in. I think in a classroom, classmates are more focused on deadlines and stuff like that.
Tom - student Bouwmanagement en Vastgoed

Based on the results of this research report and based on previous studies, we are going to provide recommendations to lecturers and study programmes who will then try to implement them in order to support students in the best way they can. From a pedagogical point of view, it is recommended to stimulate interaction amongst students and lecturers. And to activate education. Personal attention plays a massive role in ensuring the well-being of students, especially with regards to the more vulnerable students. And last but not least: study progress can be guaranteed by providing a lot of structure in a students’ life. Clear communication on things that matter to students and require their focus, such as exams, deadlines and resits, is essential.

Read all recommendations in the research report “Vier muren en een scherm” (only available in Dutch).

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