The negative educational consequences of COVID-19 are well documented. Much less investigated have been any potential positive outcomes of the pandemic. We surveyed 392 students at one college querying why they continue studying STEM or leave the STEM disciplines and about the effects of COVID-19 on their education. STEM students may have been especially impacted by pandemic-imposed remote instruction given STEM’s reliance on hands-on laboratory experiences. Because the literature indicates that people of color and those from lower socioeconomic groups were more negatively affected by COVID-19, we hypothesized that students from these groups would report greater adverse educational consequences of the pandemic; however, this was not borne out by our findings. Across demographic groups, students reported negative impacts of COVID-19, although in a few areas we found that more traditionally “privileged” groups complained of more negative outcomes than traditionally “marginalized” students did. Most novel and dramatic in our results were the positive outcomes of the “lockdown” reported by students in the areas of enhanced resilience, improved social relationships, greater opportunities, academic improvement, and better mental health. We conclude with recommendations for addressing the negative outcomes of COVID-19 and remote instruction, and for taking advantage of the unexpected positive effects.
Jiang, Yuchen; Ma, Boyan; Ma, Zimo; Propsom, Pamela M.; Rashed, Zaheen; Upadhyay, Rudrayani; and Zhao, Zichen, "COVID-19 is Not All Bad News: Negative and Surprisingly Positive Reports from College STEM Students and Implications for STEM Instruction" (2023). Student Research. 55, Scholarly and Creative Work from DePauw University.