Emergency online learning during the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020 made students distressed and uncomfortable, David Simes’ Summer Research Scholarship project found.

Long-term home learning caused disturbance and deterioration in students’ study habits and performance of work resulting in growth of stress and dysfunctional learning behaviours.

David, who led the project, was assisted by Dr Nicole Pepperell and Dr Alison Jolley from Te Puna Ako - Centre for Tertiary Teaching & Learning (CeTTL).

To recruit students for the project, they sent a mass email to selected class lists inviting recipients to a landing site where they confirmed their availability for an interview.

At the time David was studying for his Master of Arts in English, and working as a sessional assistant, so could see both sides of the struggle with the rapid shift to online learning.

“Communication and technical issues plus the inability to socialise and connect with peers had a negative impact on students and their willingness to study,” says David.

This resulted in a lack of motivation and raised doubts about how well students interviewed were dealing with the situation in relation to other students.

“Responses within the literature review show that students were comfortable continuing with their studies online but did not see it as a desirable alternative, rather it was a means to an end.”

David wants to use the research project to show how Waikato students responded to e-learning compared to students globally.

“Already there is literature which shows students in Middle Eastern and Asian countries were frustrated, anxious and bored. They had concerns about future education prospects, employability and career opportunities,” says David.