Speaking up: students’ views on university responses to COVID-19

Why university COVID response research?

COVID-19 has presented huge challenges for higher education – necessitating vast changes not just to educational provision, but the safety measures and wellbeing support required from universities.

Students have been confined to their accommodation, with many left questioning the value for money when no longer receiving face-to-face contact. With university life disrupted for the foreseeable future, we looked at what lessons can be learnt by universities to support their students and deliver quality online education.

Communication versus isolation

To bring insight to university COVID response research, we conducted a survey in late 2020 with 1,055 students in the UK to understand how satisfied they were with their university’s response, including the best and worst things they had done:

  • Only 56% agreed they were happy with their university’s approach to teaching and learning during COVID-19.
  • 74% believed that their studies had suffered as a result of the pandemic.
  • 30% felt their university had not offered sufficient pastoral support, with a fifth of students listing a lack of sufficient support as one of the worst things their university had done.
University COVID response

Photo: Joel Goodman/The Guardian

Interested in your own research?

We have vast experience of conducting interviews, surveys, focus groups and other research with student audiences, and have delivered a great deal of research for clients in relation to the pandemic.