Online Learning Challenges and Coping Strategies for Students in the Context of COVID-19: A Survey of Chinese Universities

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Sustain Cities Soc. Aug 2022;83:103958. doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2022.103958. Published online May 19, 2022.


The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted normal teaching and learning in universities, posing significant challenges to higher education. The traditional face-to-face mode of learning has been replaced by online (distance) learning, which has various influences on academic performance, physical and psychological well-being of students. With higher education playing a pivotal role in technological innovation and societal development, it is of great importance to study and improve e-learning in the context of COVID-19. This study distributed online questionnaires to undergraduate and postgraduate students from 30 provinces or municipalities in China (covering 88% of the whole country). The results indicate that the online mode of learning is more likely to reduce the academic performance of lower-level students (eg, freshman and sophomore). Learning environment could be one of the essential factors affecting academic performance during online education. Studying at home or in a dorm is more obviously correlated with lower academic performance. When it comes to physical and mental health during online learning, most students experienced eyestrain (84%) and neck stiffness (79%), while anxiety was the top mental issue (66% occurrence). Several coping strategies are suggested to improve online learning in the post-pandemic era, which is essential for higher education and the promotion of a civilized and sustainable society.

PMID:35620298 | PMC: PMC9117162 | DOI:10.1016/j.scs.2022.103958

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