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Differences in Perceptions of Instructional Support between U.S. and International Students Before and During COVID-19

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Perspectives on Engineering Education During COVID-19

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

23

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36979

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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Ziyan Bai University of Washington Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8630-6179

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Ziyan Bai holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies with foci on higher education and mixed-method education sciences. She has over seven years of research and professional experience in the field of higher education. With a dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion, she is committed to using qualitative and quantitive research to inform impact-driven decisions.

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Denise Wilson University of Washington

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Denise Wilson is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research interests in engineering education focus on the role of self-efficacy, belonging, and other non-cognitive aspects of the student experience on engagement, success, and persistence and on effective methods for teaching global issues such as those pertaining to sustainability.

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Shruti Misra University of Washington

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Shruti is a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. Her research interest is broadly focused on studying innovation in university-industry partnerships. She is interested in the various ways that universities and industry come together and participate in driving technological innovation at the regional and global level.

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Morgan Anderson University of Washington, Seattle

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Morgan Anderson received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Hofstra University and her master’s degree in School Psychology from the University of Washington, Seattle. She is interested in the use of digital tools to support school-community partnerships that enhance access to mental wellness assessment and intervention.

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Neha Kardam University of Washington

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Neha Kardam is a Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has a Master's Degree in Power System and is also working as an Assistant Professor and Department Chair in the Electronics Technology at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Kirkland.

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Abstract

The COVID-19 public health crisis has influenced the way American higher education institutions operate and support student success. As a result of the crisis, institutions that traditionally provided in-person instruction abruptly moved to a virtual space with little preparation time in the spring of 2020. Considering the critical roles that both faculty and teaching assistants (TAs) play in student learning and engagement, this study explored the contribution that this abrupt transition to remote learning made in international students’ perceptions of faculty and TA support, and positive emotional engagement, compared to U.S. students. Data collected from surveys in in-person settings prior to COVID-19 and in spring of 2020 immediately after COVID-19 impacted the delivery of higher education (N = 1,212) were used to study if and how the remote setting influenced international student perceptions of faculty and TA support and positive emotional engagement. The pre-COVID surveys were collected from students enrolled in sophomore and junior-level engineering courses prior to 2020, and the remaining surveys were collected from students enrolled in remote learning courses in the spring of 2020. Seven of the courses were the same in both the remote and in-person survey populations, and the remaining five courses were similar (in mechanical or electrical engineering and involving significant TA support).

The data were analyzed cross-sectionally using hierarchical linear models. All models considered demographics (gender and citizenship status), behavioral engagement, and emotional engagement variables. The study found that international students’ perceived level of faculty support was more sensitive to their level of self-efficacy than that of their U.S. peers. International students’ perceptions of TA support were also found to be generally higher than that of U.S. students. Finally, international students’ positive emotional engagement was higher than that of U.S. peers, more sensitive to participation, and less sensitive to perceptions of TA support.

Faculty and TA support are both important to student learning and this is particularly true for international students. Contrary to the perception that remote learning is substandard compared to traditional learning, this study suggests that students overall felt that the instructional team provided adequate support during the COVID-19 crisis. This study was not able to explain whether this effect will “wear off” as remote learning continues, and students become less charitable in their assessments. Although this data was collected from only a single institution, it suggests that what engineering faculty and TAs did in the first term of remote learning worked; and carrying forward those practices into future remote instruction and instruction beyond the COVID-19 pandemic may be recommended.

Bai, Z., & Wilson, D., & Misra, S., & Anderson, M., & Kardam, N. (2021, July), Differences in Perceptions of Instructional Support between U.S. and International Students Before and During COVID-19 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/36979

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