Student Experiences and Recommendations from Transitioning to Emergency Remote Instruction

picture of female student on laptop

Students work in the Tallely Student Union during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Marc Hall

Melissa Hendrickson, Coordinator of the Associate’s Program in Agribusiness Management and Senior Lecturer collaborated with NC State colleagues Alyssa Degreenia and Jackie Bruce to turn the abrupt change to online classes during the 2020 academic year into an opportunity to improve teaching methods in the future. The researchers spoke directly with students in order to capture the emotions, challenges, successes and lesson learned during those historic times. They were able to identify several best practices, especially regarding the frequency and clarity of teacher-student communications, that can be applied immediately to all online classes.

The article, linked below, has been accepted into the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) COVID-19 Special Edition Journal. Additionally, Hendrickson and Deegreenia were invited to present at the International Teaching and Learning Cooperative’s ITLC Lilly Online Conference in May. They are also presenting the journal article research at the NACTA Conference in June as their topic adds to the conference’s theme “Excellence & Innovation in Response to a New Teaching Paradigm.”

COVID-19, which as of March 2021 has impacted 123 million individuals worldwide and 29 million in the United States, generated overnight changes in universities across the United States. Instructors had to move their classes online in a matter of days and students had to navigate online learning, most for the first time. This study takes a basic qualitative approach to explore how students in an associate’s degree program focused on agriculture are experiencing the transition to online learning and its effects both personally and academically.

Twenty-four students completed semistructured interviews during the fall semester of 2020 and the data were coded into themes. Students identified their personal challenges, challenges with courses moving to online instruction, and areas where students felt they were successful. A set of recommendations emerged from the student input, including: starting synchronously, chunked learning, interactive lessons, contained flexibility, adequate communication, timely feedback, and a demonstration of caring on the part of the instructors.

Read the Publication: Student Experiences and Recommendations from Transitioning to Emergency Remote Instruction