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Understanding the Academic Shock of Covid-19: How are Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning Evolving Over Time?

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Holy Cow! We’re Going Online When? 

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Masoud Ghodrat Abadi California State University, Sacramento

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Dr. Masoud Ghodrat Abadi is an Assistant Professor of transportation engineering in Department of Civil Engineering at California State University, Sacramento. He earned his PhD degree from Oregon State University in 2018. Dr. Abadi’s research interests lie in the areas of active transportation, engineering education, traffic control, and traffic safety. He teaches graduate and undergraduate classes covering topics such as: Traffic Engineering, Engineering Statistics, and Transportation Planning. Dr. Abadi serves as a member of several national and regional committees including TRB Standing Committee on Workforce Development and Organizational Excellence (AJE15), and ITE Transportation Education Council.

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Understanding the Academic Shock of COVID-19: How are Students’ Perceptions of the Online Learning Evolving over Time?

The COVID-19 outbreak has created an unprecedented shock across every aspect of academia. Some of the most significant affects are being experienced by students and teaching faculty. While online teaching in higher education is by no means novel, COVID-19 exposed online education to myriad instructors and students with no prior experience. A sudden change in teaching modality for all classes, which happened in matter of days or weeks depending on the institution, introduced new challenges and opportunities for instructors who were not prepared for and students who were not familiar with this new environment. The purpose of the present study is to shed light on students’ perceptions of online education and to investigate whether these perceptions are evolving over time. Notably, this study compares students’ interactions, learning, and self-efficacy between online and in-person classes, before and after the collective shift to remote instruction. To achieve this goal, an online survey was distributed in three different times, among Civil Engineering and Construction Management students at XXX University. Initial data collection occurred in the middle of the Spring 2020 semester (third week of March), when XXX University provided one week for instructors to modify their curriculum materials and course components for remote instruction. At this time, in-person classes had been canceled and online classes had not yet started, therefore students were not extensively exposed to online teaching. This sample included responses from 150 students and was employed to perform “pre-analysis”. The second round of data collection occurred at the end of the Spring 2020 semester (second week of May), when students had experienced the sudden change to online teaching for their entire classes. This sample included responses from 132 students and was used to perform the first phase of “post-analysis”. The third round of data collection will take place at the end of the Fall 2020 semester (second week of December), when students will spend their entire semester in a virtual mode. At this stage, students will be extensively exposed to online learning and this sample will be used to perform the second phase of “post-analysis”. In addition to descriptive statistics, advanced analytical techniques will be employed to investigate how students’ perceptions of online learning are evolving over time. This study will document lessons that were learned from sudden change to online teaching at XXX University and findings would help instructors to gauge the effectiveness of their online efforts with regard to students’ perceptions.

Ghodrat Abadi, M. (2021, July), Understanding the Academic Shock of Covid-19: How are Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning Evolving Over Time? Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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