We (OYY) have produced a survey about the effects of the emergency conditions caused by coronavirus on students of the University of Oulu on April of 2020 in collaboration with the University of Oulu. 1603 students from the University responded to the survey. The sample of the survey is 12% of all the University of Oulu students (2019). As background variables for the survey the respondents were asked about their faculty and degree programme. You can read the report here.
According to the survey, about one third of the students at the University of Oulu have been able to progress their studies as planned. Most of the respondents have felt that the emergency conditions have made studies more difficult. In addition, most of the respondents have felt that moving to remote studies and studying remotely has been strenuous. However, most of the respondents felt that they have received enough information regarding changes in emergency conditions and feel that remote studying is functional. The students felt that they needed support and guidance most regarding isolation, lack of communality and uncertainty and anxiety concerning the situation.
There has been an increase in the difficulty of carrying out studies according to the survey, especially in increased workloads and changes in availability of study materials and physical study spaces. Other factors making studying more difficult have been stress, challenges in life management, motivation and mental health and endangered livelihood. Additionally, students with families have had difficulties progressing their studies as children might have stayed home.
The results of the survey were also examined by faculty and the results vary partly. Faculty-specific results are in the chapter 5.1. in the report (pages 35-38)
Despite the challenges, respondents also gave good feedback in their responses about the things that have been successful during exceptional circumstances. Lectures and seminars during distance learning, information and accessibility, flexibility, and learning tools and facilities were especially praised. The open responses also gave good feedback to the work of individual staff members and faculties.
Advocacy work has started in the beginning of the emergency conditions – there are some issues we have addressed before publishing the results while analysing the answers. As soon as we got the preliminary results, we presented them to the University’s management and to the Deans of education. We brought up things that needed improving, but also things that the student’s brought up as successful practices and that could be executed more widely.
We told the education management group and education deans, for example, that students have seen it particularly good practice to record lectures and seminars so that the recordings could have been viewed afterwards. This has made it easier to study and learn.
We have also pointed out that due to the coronavirus situation, many students have lost their summer jobs and it would therefore be important for the University to offer courses during the summer so that the students can apply for the study grant and at the same time further their studies. Some of the faculties have increased their summer study offerings.
We will be communicating to the faculties about the results for several times to seek out ways of improving the situation in collaboration with the faculties. We are also considering the possibility of a follow-up survey when the situation has normalized. We have advised students about matters regarding studies and livelihood. If you have any questions about studies, well-being or livelihood, we encourage you to contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org).