Online learning community in the COVID-19 era: A survey study with a large first year psychology cohort

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPresentation


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the rapid adoption of new methods of teaching online and in person. Developing learning communities is difficult under normal circumstances, but barriers are starker in online learning environments. This is problematic given evidence that a low sense of student community is associated with poor attainment. Therefore, knowing that many universities will not be returning to fully in-person teaching until 2022 or later, it is important to learn about how we can best develop our students’ sense of community online. With our latest cohort of first year psychology students, we are in the position to learn about which aspects of our teaching encouraged a sense of community. Throughout the 2020/21 academic year we used a number of techniques to teach and interact with students, including online drop-in sessions, online research groups, interactive workshops, and synchronous lectures. In this paper we will discuss findings from a survey of our first-year students, enquiring into their engagement with, and experience of, these various learning formats. In particular, we will examine which of these components might best nurture a sense of community. The results of this study will inform our own practice as we transition into another year of hybrid teaching, and here, we will discuss our plans and wider implications.
Period24 Sept 2021
Event titleHEIR 2021: Inclusive Institutional Research
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational