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Digital Disruption in the COVID-19 Era: The Impact on Learning and Students’ Ability to Cope with Study in an Unknown World

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic will forever be known as a disruptive dilemma that impacted many industries in Australia.  For the university sector, sudden lockdown and social distancing rules resulted in an acceleration in the provision of learning and teaching via online platforms, creating new challenges for students and educators. This project explored the ways in which an enabling course supported students through the forced transition from face-to-face classes to online learning due to the COVID-19 restrictions, and the students’ ability to adjust to the disruption caused by the pandemic. This unexpected change provided the opportunity to explore how enabling students perceived this experience and the effect it had on their ability to complete their units of study.  This paper presents findings on the impact that the abrupt transition to online learning had on the students’ educational experience and on their psychological and emotional wellbeing. It was found that most students experienced increased stress due to the changes in household dynamics, responsibilities and a different learning context, yet many reported improved study and technological skills, as well as an improved awareness of their ability to cope with change.  

Published: 2021-10-05
Section:Online First
How to Cite
James, T., Toth, G. ., Tomlins, M. ., Kumar, B. ., & Bond, K. . (2021). Digital Disruption in the COVID-19 Era: The Impact on Learning and Students’ Ability to Cope with Study in an Unknown World. Student Success, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.1784

Author Biographies

CQUniversity
Australia Australia

Trixie James (Doctoral candidate) is a Lecturer within the School of Access Education STEPS course at CQUniversity. She has completed a Masters of Learning Management (Executive Leadership) (Distinction), Graduate Diploma of Learning Management, Bachelor of Learning Management (Distinction), and a Diploma of Positive Psychology. Her minor Thesis titled, ‘The juxtaposition of STEPS to the undergraduate arena’, investigated STEPS students who successfully matriculated into undergraduate studies. Trixie’s research interests centre on the support and engagement of under-represented adults in the tertiary sector, with special interest in student engagement, quality teaching practices and positive psychology. Her breadth of research encapsulates her many research interests which is reflected in her research outputs. She is a member of the National Association of Enabling Educators in Australia, and well as Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia.

CQUniversity
Australia Australia

Gabriela Toth has a vast experience teaching English as a second language, academic writing and university preparatory units both in Argentina and Australia. Gabriela joined CQUniversity in 2014 to develop a new Foundation Studies course for international students and she is currently an academic writing unit coordinator in the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS) and the Deputy Associate Dean, Operations, for the School of Access Education. Prior to joining CQUniversity, Gabriela worked at INSEARCH:UTS for 10 years where she held various roles, including academic literacy lecturer, Foundation Studies Program Coordinator and Academic Literacy Program Manager. Gabriela has an undergraduate degree in teaching (Argentina) and a Masters in Applied Linguistics - Language Program Management (Australia). Her main research interests are in the areas of enabling education, adult learning, transformative learning, student resilience, student engagement, retention, language and culture, and linguistics.

CQUniversity
Australia Australia

Melissa Tomlins has a background teaching English as a Second Language in Australia and England and  has specialised in teaching Academic Literacy and Study Skills since 2002.  She also has extensive experience teaching International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and examining IELTS speaking and writing.  She has worked with international students, adult migrants, enabling students and post-graduate research students.  Since 2018, she has worked at CQUniversity as an Associate Lecturer and provides Academic Language support for Research Higher Degree candidates Australia wide.  She has a particular interest in critical thinking and academic writing and is pursuing a doctoral degree in this area.

CQUniversity
Australia Australia

Brijesh Kumar is a lecturer in the School of Access Education at CQUniversity. He is an Academic Learning Adviser providing Academic Communication and Sciences support for undergraduate students and lectures into the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies course. He has completed a Masters of Medical Science (Pathology), Master of Science (Protein Chemistry), Graduate Diploma of Teaching and Bachelor of Science (Hon). Brijesh is an emerging scholar who authored or co-authored 9 refereed journal articles and numerous refereed conference publications. The majority of Brijesh’s research has been laboratory-based, but currently, his research interest is students' successful transition in enabling education to undergraduate studies.

CQUniversity
Australia Australia

Kerry Bond has been teaching the sciences for twenty years, having a strong background in science, science education, pastoral care of students and educational psychology, including brain-based learning approaches. She gained experience with various educational research methods during her post-graduate studies. Kerry is currently working as an enabling educator and academic learning advisor in CQUniversity’s School of Access Education. She has a Masters in Educational Psychology and is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching. Membership of CQUniversity’s STEM Leadership Team, the Association for Academic Language & Learning, the National Association of Enabling Educators, and the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society reflect Kerry’s interests in science education, disciplinary language acquisition, brain based learning, and student success.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795