Survey Finds Faculty Adjusted Well to Teaching in the Pandemic

Though 2021 may be behind us, the benefits and challenges of teaching and learning in a digital space continue. And while faculty certainly have more experience this year in these areas, how well did faculty adapt in the midst of pandemic teaching? A recent survey finds faculty adjusted very well.

A survey released late February 2022 found that students had positive perceptions of how faculty modified their courses to fit hybrid and online teaching challenges. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) noted that 73 percent of students believed faculty and staff at their institution did a “good job” helping students adapt to remote instruction.

This finding is in large part due to the exceptional changes faculty made in their classes. The survey found that nearly 88 percent of faculty members significantly adjusted the nature of their assignments, and 89 percent were more flexible about assignment due dates. Further, 64 percent of faculty altered their reading assignments, and 69 percent said that they changed their approach to grading.

Kate Drezek McConnell, vice president for curricular and pedagogical innovation at the American Association of Colleges & Universities, said that the “pandemic made faculty members think more strategically to identify the core ideas in a course and to design courses more thoughtfully.”

The survey also highlighted the broadened responsibilities of faculty as it considered the pandemic’s emotional and mental health impact on students.  Jillian Kinzie, interim co-director of NSSE, said that although online learning wasn’t idea, faculty acted as a “lifeline” for students.

“Instruction became the lifeline for students,” Kinzie said. “A lot of what happened that was effective for students happened through their courses because that was the one consistent experience they had, even during the pandemic.”

This survey was part two of NSSE’s annual report “Engagement Insights – Survey Findings on the Quality of Undergraduate Education.” The survey was conducted in spring 2021 and received responses from 7,413 first-year students and 9,229 seniors from 47 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions in the U.S.

To learn more, visit the National Survey of Student Engagement.

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