Remote studying is stressing – students need interaction

The workload of distance studying and the lack of interaction have weakened students' well-being during the corona year

In the spring of 2021, the Student Union of the University of Oulu (OYY) conducted a survey of students at the University of Oulu on the effects of distance learning on well-being and the progress of studies. 1315 students responded to the survey, i.e. about 10% of the students of the University of Oulu. The questionnaire was sent to all students  and doctoral researchers of the University of Oulu, and the answers have been separated by faculty. The survey is a follow-up to a survey conducted in April 2020 on the effects of the coronavirus on studies and well-being.

The results of the survey are worrying: more than 60 percent of students find distance studying straining. The number has increased significantly compared to 2020, when 42 percent of students responded that remote studying was moderately or really straining. This is also reflected in the progress of studies, about a third of the respondents have not progressed as planned. Doctoral researchers stood out of the crowd, as they did not find remote studying as straining as others.

Respondents reported that they were generally well informed about distance studying arrangements, and only a few would have needed more support or information on assessment methods or guidance on the use of remote studying equipment. Generally the respondents were satisfied with the arrangements of remote studying, as many as 76 per cent of the respondents were either very or fairly satisfied with the arrangements made at the University of Oulu. Even in the faculties with the weakest answers, more than 60 percent of respondents were satisfied. It seems that even when the remote studying is arranged well, students feel encumbered.

Lack of interaction and loneliness emerged as significant factors undermining well-being. Nearly 70 percent of respondents had experienced loneliness moderately or a lot during distance studying, and lack of interaction, workload, and low motivation to study were the most significant problems encountered in distance studying. This is also reflected in the need for support, as a large proportion of respondents wanted support for a lack of community and mental wellbeing. Nearly half of the respondents had not been contacted by their tutor teacher, although all the tutor teachers had been asked to do so by the University. Of particular concern is the fact that 35 % of respondents had not received the support they needed for coping with their problems from the FSHS, and only 17% fully or partially agreed that the support was adequate.

you can read the full report here.

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