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Supporting Student Experience During the Pandemic and Beyond

Abstract

This article reports the findings from a small-scale, qualitative and phenomenological institutional research project, undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic, on the experiences of undergraduate students from groups who are traditionally under-represented in higher education in the United Kingdom.  Documenting the first two phases of a longitudinal study carried out at one university in England, the over-arching research question investigated here using semi-structured interviews was: How has the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted student experiences and learning at university? Key themes identified included worry, a sense of loss, feelings of connection and support, a sense of a new geography of campus life and students' need to feel "in the loop". Evidence of changes with longer-term implications were also found, namely, an evolution in the relationship between students and their institution. A series of suggestions are presented based on the findings aimed at mitigating some of the ongoing negative effects of the pandemic on students.

Published: 2021-10-11
Section:Online First
How to Cite
Sanderson, R., Spacey, R., Zhu, X., & Sterling-Morris, R.-E. (2021). Supporting Student Experience During the Pandemic and Beyond. Student Success, 12(2). https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.1847

Author Biographies

University of Lincoln
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Rebecca Sanderson is an equalities researcher working within the Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute (LHERI). Her research focus aims to develop our understanding of the experiences of students from groups typically underrepresented in higher education and on the evaluation of student and staff support interventions.  Rebecca’s work is committed to bridging the gap between rigorous and theoretically informed research and the practice of student and staff support, and she works across the HE sector to facilitate reflexive and reciprocal relationships between researchers and practitioners.

University of Lincoln
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Dr. Rachel Spacey is Research Fellow in the Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute where she leads the university’s Access and Participation Plan evaluation work. Rachel has worked as a social sciences researcher for over 15 years in academia and the charity sector. Her research is focused on improving the experience of students who are traditionally under-represented in Higher Education. 

University of Lincoln
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Dr. Xiaotong Zhu is a Research Fellow in the Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute (LHERI) at the University of Lincoln. Xiaotong is passionate about improving learning experience of students from diverse backgrounds. Her main research interests include attainment gaps, international education, student engagement, assessment and feedback in higher education, for which she carries out quantitative and mixed methods research studies. Xiaotong also has rich experience of analysing quantitative data using SPSS and conducting meta-analysis using CMA.

University of Lincoln
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Rhianne Sterling-Morris is a Senior Research Officer in the Lincoln Higher Education Research Institution where she works on the Lincoln Equality of Attainment Project (LEAP). Rhianne has a background in psychology and research methods with experience in mixed methodology.  Although relatively new to academia, Rhianne is passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion specifically within higher education. 

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795