COVID-19 and Student Perceptions toward a Swift Shift in Learning Format: Does Experience Make a Difference?

Justin E. Pettigrew, Kennesaw State University
Pauline A. Howes, Kennesaw State University


This study examined university students’ response to the sudden change from face-to-face to emergency remote education (ERE) and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their educational experience in spring 2020 through the lens of self-determination and adaptability. Results of a survey of 3,747 college students showed an overwhelming majority perceived a negative impact on their education, their grades and motivation to do academic work. The pandemic also created personal health and financial concerns that affected students and their studies. Statistically significant results found that experience–with fully online learning and as a college student–made a difference in how students responded to COVID-19 and the class format change. Chi-square analysis showed that students who had not taken a fully online class were more likely to have concerns related to COVID-19 and the class format change than those who had done so. In addition, the percentage of students expressing concerns about the effects of the pandemic on their education declined with each year in college, but high numbers of students were still affected.