Survey Results Outlines the Student Response to the Virtual Semester

By: Mili Chizhik  |  November 25, 2020

By Mili Chizhik, News Editor

In late September and early October, the YU Observer conducted a survey to understand what the current SCW, YC, SYMS, and Katz School of Science and Health students think of the Fall 2020 virtual semester. The respondents who were not currently in any of the aforementioned YU programs were excluded in the analysis of the results. Respondents had the option to remain anonymous and the personal data, i.e. name and email, were not used for any purposes.

Out of the 100 respondents, 87% were from the Beren Campus and 13% were from the Wilf Campus. 77% percent were SCW students, 10% were YC students, one percent was from Katz School of Science and Health, while 10 and two percent were SYMS students at the Beren Campus and Wilf Campus, respectively. The class statuses of these students were the following: two lower freshmen, two upper freshmen, 17 lower sophomores, one upper sophomore, 28 lower juniors, 10 upper juniors, 30 lower seniors, 7 upper seniors, and 3 super seniors. 

39.2%, 30.4%, and 30.4% current students who were students in YU during the Spring 2020 semester found the transition from in-person classes to virtual learning in the spring felt challenging, neither challenging and straightforward, and straightforward, respectively.

When asked about the transition from in-person classes to virtual learning, 39.2% thought it was straightforward, 30.4% thought it was challenging, while the remaining 30.4% thought it was neither straightforward or challenging.

When asked how much work/effort/preparation was needed in virtual classes compared to in-person classes, 34.2% thought that not a lot more work/effort/preparation was needed, 45.6% thought a lot more work/effort/preparation was need, while the remaining 20.3% thought that neither a lot more or less work/effort/preparation needed.

30.4% of respondents said that their grades declined or were at risk of declining due to the classes being transitioned to online, however 51.9% said that their grades were not at risk of declining and improved and 17.7% reported their grades neither suffered nor improved. 

When asked how much are the learning challenges in the Spring 2020 semester attributed to the professors and their teaching styles, 39.2% of students reported that they did not have learning challenges from professors, 22.8% reported that they have learning challenges due to their professors, while 38% reported partial attribution of their learning challenges to their professors. 

When asked how much the learning challenges in the Spring 2020 semester attributed to the way administration dealt with the transition, 50.6% did not attribute their learning challenges to the administration, 29.1% partially attributed it to them, and 20.2% fully attributed it to them. 

When asked how much the learning challenges in the Spring 2020 semester attributed to the change in academic environment/living situation, 67% reported that it was fully attributed to the living situation/environment, 19% reported partial attribution, whereas 14% reported no attribution to their living situation/environment.

55.7% reported that last semester’s virtual learning really prepared them for this semester’s virtual learning, 19% thought it moderately prepared them, and 25.4% did not think it helped prepare them. Additionally, 53.2% thought that last semester was easier than this semester’s virtual learning, 24% did not find it easier, and 22.8% found it partially easier. Furthermore, 78.5% thought that there was less coursework last semester than this semester, 11.4% thought there was partially less work last semester than this semester, and 10.1% thought that last semester had more work than this semester.

The students were then asked to state whether they agree or disagree with four different statements. When asked what they thought about the following statement, “I have a lot of work and preparation required for my Fall 2020 classes,” 78% of students agreed, 10% disagreed, and 12% neither agreed nor disagreed. Regarding this statement, “my instructors assign a lot of work and preparation required for my classes,” 77% of students agreed, 14% disagreed, and 9% neither agreed nor disagreed. Similarly, when asked about this statement: “my instructors are not understanding that they are assigning too much work,” 51% agreed, 22% disagreed, and 27% neither agreed nor disagreed. Lastly, 55% agreed, 17% disagreed, and 28% neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement of  “the administration is not being active in controlling the amount of work assigned by the instructors this semester.”

At the end of the survey, there were optional questions where students could write about their experiences this semester. In addition to all the anonymous student quotes, one can find the graphs illustrate both the current class types and formats and the preferred class types and formats.