Title: An Examination of the Impact of Online Education Due to COVID-19 on Women Studying Engineering at Two UK Universities
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Chloe Bellamy, University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
COVID-19 led to higher education moving online. At the time I was studying engineering education and so I was able to collect data on the impact of the move to online on women studying engineering at two UK universities. I conducted online semi-structured interviews with 13 women studying engineering and 2 engineering lectures and conducted thematic analysis on the transcripts. I found that for many of the students there were both pros and cons of the move to online education. Ability to work at their own pace was discussed as a benefit as the recording of lectures made it possible to rewatch sections they didn’t understand. On the other hand, some students mentioned experiencing technical issues, felt isolated and missed the more practical elements of their degree. My project was focused on Problem Based Learning (PBL) and found that the group work involved in this style of teaching was the only opportunity some of the students had to make connections with their peers due to the online nature of the courses. Interaction with staff was another area which received a mixed response as some found it was easier to speak to staff online, but others found it more difficult. Overall, I found engineering students liked the ability to work at their own pace but missed the more practical elements of engineering education. This suggests that going forward a blended approach to engineering education may be useful with online lectures and in person practical sessions.
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