Students’ Experiences About Entering Higher Education During Pandemic
Penttinen, L., & Miettinen, R. (2022). Students’ Experiences About Entering Higher Education During Pandemic. In H. Burgsteiner, & G. Krammer (Eds.), Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic’s Distance Learning on Students and Teachers in Schools and in Higher Education : International Perspectives (pp. 79-99). Leykam Buchverlag. https://doi.org/10.56560/isbn.978-3-7011-0496-3_5
© Authors 2022
Autumn 2020 was an unexpected situation for many new university students in Finland as they suffered lack of orientation activities as well as both formal and informal learning experiences on campus. Instead of social events, peer group mentoring and study guidance, they entered university online. Theoretical background. The conceptual framework of the study consists of the engagement and belongingness during studies. In addition, the first-year experience as footing for the academic educational path creates the framework of the empirical study. Method. The study features a student survey carried out in the autumn of 2020 at a midsized university in Finland. A total of 803 first-year students (35% response rate) answered questions about their experience of the first months at the university, the online learning experience of the first courses and the support for learning, and they shared their feelings about belonging to the university and groups as well as concerning loneliness at the beginning of the studies. Results. The main results show that there were contradictory experiences among the students during the pandemic. 30% said that the COVID-19 pandemic did not hamper the beginning of their studies but 60% suffered from the pandemic’s circumstances. There were no differences between faculties or disciplines. Some of the students responded that the distance learning went smoothly for them. In contrast, some students felt it was disappointing. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the beginning of their studies was hampered for several reasons. The critical issues of starting university studies online without campus experience and the consequences for the development of a supporting transition are discussed. ...
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