Student well-being under pressure due to COVID-19 pandemic
For students at Radboud University, the biggest impact of the coronavirus pandemic is on their well-being. One-third of students also have difficulties with online study and online assessment, while a similar percentage are doing well. These are the results of a survey that Radboud University conducted in December among a random, representative sample of one-third of its students.
The pandemic is having a major impact on students. It affects their experience of the teaching and assessment, their internships and theses, and in particular their well-being. Rector magnificus Han van Krieken: “Although studying mainly from home suits some students, and some even enjoy it, a large proportion of students has difficulty structuring and planning their studies, and they struggle to focus on their study. They also miss their fellow students and lecturers. Stress, loneliness, anxiety and financial worries are also common.”
“Student welfare is therefore our top priority. Students who have any concerns or problems should contact their student advisor or any of the other student counsellors. And anyone with good ideas on how to improve student welfare is more than welcome to contact the newly appointed student welfare coordinator, Hannah Markusse.”
“In addition, the university is helping student organisations with activities that can still go ahead, such as recently the student bingo event with the mayor of Nijmegen. We’re also working on a pilot scheme to see if rapid testing will allow us to offer more activities for our students. And, of course, the aim of the orientation in August will be to give students ample opportunity to meet one another within the boundaries of the safety regulations.”
The main findings of the survey are summarised by theme below. The university is offering everyone an opportunity to read the results for themselves via an interactive dashboard.
Studying at Radboud University
- 42% of students consider the qualityof teaching to be good, while 24% do not.
- Many students (60% and 45% respectively) see motivation and structuring their studies as a problem in the current pandemic.
- Engagement and connection with students, lecturers and Radboud University are a major problem at this time. Students miss each other, their lecturers, face-to-face teaching and a daily structure.
- In terms of study requirements for doing most of their studying online (access to a laptop, sufficiently high-speed internet, a workspace at home), 73% of students are well prepared, while 11% do not have adequate access to these facilities.
- Online teaching also calls for a different way of studying, which doesn’t suit all students equally well. 23% of students have difficulty planning, 45% can’t concentrate properly on their studies (at home) and 12% have difficulty with studying alone.
- 37% of students who were also enrolled at Radboud University last year spend (much) less time on their studies than in the previous year, while 34% spend more.
Online assessment and online proctoring
- 53% of students are satisfied with the quality of the online exams that they sat this academic year, while 19% are dissatisfied.
- 41% of students prefer to sit exams physically on campus during the coronavirus pandemic, while 37% do not. 46% of students would be happy to sit a portion of their exams online after COVID-19, while 35% would not.
- 69% of students find online proctoring more stressful than live offline surveillance. 48% of students regard online proctoring as a suitable tool for fraud prevention. 26% do not, and 26% are neutral.
Internships and theses
- The remote supervision of internships and theses is more difficult and less personal. Some students – 18% for internships and 26% for Bachelor’s and Master’s theses – regard the quality of remote supervision as inadequate.
- Not only do students have difficulties finding an internship placement because of the pandemic, but also a large percentage are experiencing delays with datacollection for their Bachelor’s (44%) and Master’s theses (30%). In addition, the pandemic often has a (very) negative impact on the perceivedquality of internships (59%), Bachelor’s theses (44%) and Master’s theses (52%).
- 63% of students reported no study delay as a result of the pandemic. 21% have incurred some delay, up to six months for most of them. The main reason is that the pandemic has made students less able to study (concentration, loneliness, contact).
- 44% of students do not expect to incur (further) study delay as a result of the pandemic, while 29% don’t know yet. The vast majority of those who anticipate study delay expect a delay of up to six months at most.
- The coronavirus pandemic mainly affects the well-being of students. They miss their fellow students, their lecturers and the dailyroutine at the university. Loneliness,stress,anxiety and financial worries are also common. 66% of students have a more negative mood than before the pandemic.
- 35% of students are better able to organise their days during this time; however, 43% are not. Over half (57%) of students feel less able tostudy than before the pandemic.
The survey was conducted among a random, representative sample of one-third of students at Radboud University. The university will conduct the survey again in April and June.
- Please see also this article (in Dutch) about a study on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the well-being of students and staff at Radboud University.