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Work in Progress: A Cross-sectional Survey Study for Understanding and Addressing the Needs of Engineering Students 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

Student Engagement, Socioemotional Needs, and Social Support During Pandemic

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

6

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38115

Download Count

40

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Paper Authors

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Isabel Hilliger Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5270-7655

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Isabel Hilliger is the Associate Director for Assessment and Evaluation at the Engineering Education Division in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC). Isabel received a PhD in Engineering Sciences from UC and an MA in Education Policy from Stanford University. Her current research promotes the use of methodologies and analytical tools for continuous curriculum improvement in Higher Education. She has created qualitative and quantitative instruments for outcome assessment in enginering education. She has also evaluated policy efforts towards engineering diversity and undergraduate research.

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Constanza Melian Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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Constanza Melian is Assessment and Evaluation Coordinator for Division of Engineering Education at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Constanza is sociologist, interested in issues of education, social inequality, poverty and gender gaps. Methodologically his interests and work is in survey design, construction of quantitative instruments, statistical data analysis and evaluation of social programs.

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Javiera Francisca Meza Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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Javiera Meza has a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She is a research assistant of the Engineering Education Division, responsible for supporting research tasks and collaborating in data collection and analysis. Javiera developed a project about STEM education focused on primary school. Her research theme is about gender gap and motivation of students in undergraduate computer science programs. Currently she is researching about student motivation in online lessons due to the influence of COVID-19.

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Gonzalo Cortés Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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Gonzalo Cortés is an undergraduate student at the engineering school in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His Major is Electrical Engineering and his Minor is Energy. Currently, he is a research assistant of the Engineering Education Division, responsible for supporting research tasks and collaborating in data collection and analysis. Gonzalo managed a pre-engineering program to encourage high school students to study careers in engineering and science. He also volunteered as a teacher in communication skills and personal development, aimed at training high school students in vulnerable backgrounds.

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Jorge A. Baier Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

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He is an associate professor in the Computer Science Department and Associate Dean of Engineering Education at the Engineering School in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Jorge holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto in Canada and a Master's Degree in Engineering Sciences from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His research focuses on areas of automated reasoning in Artificial Intelligence; specifically, automated planning, search and knowledge representation. Currently his research focuses on understanding how machine learning techniques can be applied to the intelligent decision-making process, on the applicability of AI techniques for enhancing emotional health in Engineering Education. He is also an assistant researcher at the Millennium Institute for Foundational Research on Data.

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Abstract

In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, many universities and colleges have closed their campus and implemented what researchers call ‘emergency online education’. This means that many faculty members are teaching in front of computer screens while students are staying at home and taking their courses remotely. Unfortunately, this leaves students without some advantages of residential education  such as study spaces, face-to-face counseling, and recreational facilities. In the case of engineering students, this has also left them without access to maker spaces, laboratories, and field trips (among other activities that enrich their learning experience).

For understanding how the consequences of this pandemic have affected students’ well-being, some researchers have implemented cross-sectional survey studies. These types of studies frequently used to measure stakeholders’ needs of support services as they relate to courses, programs or involvement in institutional planning. So far, there is a growing body of knowledge regarding factors that have affected students’ mental health, along with scales to measure students’ anxiety levels. However, the pandemic has come with confusing and changing information, making it more difficult for educational institutions to implement timely support strategies to maintaining some sense of well-being among their students. Given the close relationship between student well-being and learning outcomes, more studies are needed to not only understand factors that might negatively affect students’ learning experiences, but also examine interventions that might positively impact students’ resilience.

This paper presents a Work-In-Progress (WIP) that was carried out in a large engineering school in Latin America. As many schools in many countries, this school shifted to online education during 2020. In order to monitor students’ needs in this remote learning context, a cross-sectional survey study was conducted to evaluate their use of different types of support interventions that have been implemented since the pandemic started. Specifically, this paper presents the perceived benefits of having implemented a mid-semester break of one week to reduce stress during the first academic period. During the week after the break, we applied an online anonymous survey to a convenience sample of 994 engineering students from different admission cohorts and majors. Findings not only reveal how many hours students declare that they spent studying, resting, and doing recreational activities during that break, but also the percentage of students that perceived that this break was beneficial to their overall well-being. Future work will focus on assessing other type of support interventions that were implemented throughout that year, besides providing recommendations to monitor and support engineering students in different educational settings.

Hilliger, I., & Melian, C., & Meza, J. F., & Cortés, G., & Baier, J. A. (2021, July), Work in Progress: A Cross-sectional Survey Study for Understanding and Addressing the Needs of Engineering Students During COVID-19 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38115

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