Exploring a New Reality: The Shift to Online Learning and It’s Impact on Student Performance and Engagement

De Rose

De Rose, Emma

About me

Hello! My name is Emma and I am a fourth-year Professional Communications student. Throughout these past four years I have explored the interaction between text, image, sound and design through creative and collaborative projects. The knowledge and skills I have acquired thus far has given me the foundation that I will continue to expand on throughout my next chapter. Post-graduation, I am eager and excited to pursue my Masters of Information, with a concentration in User Experience Design.



The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major educational disruptions for students worldwide. My research explores the shift to online learning and its impact on student performance and engagement. Using the community of inquiry theory I have framed my research using three interdependent elements- social, cognitive and teaching presence. 

This study sought to understand what elements of class students find most engaging, what factors pose the greatest challenges as well as whether or not these factors have an impact on student GPA. 

The qualitative study I have conducted through the use of a digital survey has provided insightful conclusions to these questions. The findings conclude that student’s find interactive activities and classroom discussions to be most engaging, although the lack of face-to-face interaction employed by online learning has created a decrease in levels of motivation and focus for students. Moreover, the majority of participants reported an increase in GPA after the shift. This can be linked to an increase in time available to students to dedicate to schoolwork, as expressed by participants. Furthermore, students are experiencing significant challenges in engagement in a virtual environment, although student performance transcends.

Lightning Talk

Project Tags

Education; Online Learning; Performance; Engagement


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