Asee peer logo

Student experiences with the online learning environment during COVID

Download Paper |


2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

ERM: Lessons Learned from COVID (COVID Part 1)

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Maartje E.D. Van den Bogaard Delft University of Technology Orcid 16x16


David Reeping University of Cincinnati

visit author page

Dr. David Reeping is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at the University of Cincinnati. He earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech and was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. He received his B.S. in Engineering Education with a Mathematics minor from Ohio Northern University. His main research interests include curricular complexity, transfer student pathways, threshold concepts, and advancing quantitative and fully integrated mixed methods.

visit author page


Cynthia Finelli University of Michigan

visit author page

Dr. Cynthia Finelli is Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Professor of Education, and Director of Engineering Education Research at University of Michigan. In her research she focuses on increasing faculty adoption of evidence-based instruction, promoting students' sociotechnical skills and abilities, and supporting the success of neurodiverse engineering students and faculty. Dr. Finelli is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), co-chair for the ASEE Committee on Scholarly Publications, and member of the Governing Board of the Research in Engineering Education Network. She is currently associate editor of the European Journal of Engineering, and she has previously served as deputy editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Engineering, and member of the Steering Committee for the IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference. She founded the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at University of Michigan in 2003 and served as its Director for 12 years. Dr. Finelli earned the B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Michigan.

visit author page

author page

Joanna Millunchick University of Michigan

Download Paper |


In this work in progress paper, we report on a component of a larger mixed methods study about student experiences with online education during the COVID-19 pandemic and their socialization processes during the 2020-21 academic year. As most education and assessment quickly transitioned to remote, COVID-19 substantially changed elements of the educational experience, including social interactions between students and their professors and student study behaviors. Here, we report on three specific aspects of the student experience: (1) student perceptions of online office hours, student perceptions of (2) online and (3) recorded lectures.

Our data are drawn from a larger, mixed-methods study on student experiences during COVID that was informed by the Weidman framework for socialization. In Summer 2021, we organized 9 focus groups with 40 undergraduate engineering students to provide more context to our survey findings. The interview protocol was designed by constructing prompts related to the constructs in the survey, which consisted of questions about how students framed their experiences with online office hours and lectures, and how they dealt with the resulting challenges. All interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed inductively.

Overall, the students found online office hours meaningful, depending on how they were set up. Generic office hour Zoom rooms were found to be more accessible and helpful than office hours where students had to register up front for a 10 minute slot. The online and recorded lectures were highly valued by students. They freed up time students did not have to commute, allowed for making better notes and afforded the students with more flexibility. On the flipside, it prevented students from making meaningful connections with their instructors and fellow students. With the flexibility that these formats and lack of social interaction afforded came the challenge to stay focused and motivated, including structuring time and staying on top of course work.

Van den Bogaard, M. E., & Reeping, D., & Finelli, C., & Millunchick, J. (2022, August), Student experiences with the online learning environment during COVID Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--40761

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2022 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015