The University of Malta fared extremely well in its shift to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, as evidenced by the favourable response given by students participating in a global survey on the impact of the situation on higher education.
Entitled Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Life of Higher Education Students, the study, led by Dr Aleksander Aristovnik from the University of Ljublijana, aimed to capture the immediate economic and social effects of the crisis through a large-scale, quantitative online survey.
COVID-19 has significantly increased study workload, something that was noted by students across all continents, and by no less than 58% of higher education students situated in Europe.
Despite this workload, University of Malta students were still able to settle into and navigate through the reality of remote learning, with the University of Malta coming in second place when the 2,881 students from across the globe were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with their tutors.
UM received a 3.79 rating out of a 5-point scale, tied with Sri Lanka, and surpassed only by New Zealand, which scored a 3.84 rating. The least satisfied students came from Pakistan, Mozambique, South Africa, Brazil, and Nigeria.
The survey also looked at students' satisfaction with the shift from class based to online learning. The University of Malta ranked first with regards to students' satisfaction with recorded videos and second with regards to the use of video conferences. This put the students of the University of Malta amongst the most satisfied amongst the students from over 150 universities in 100 countries and 6 continents included in the study.
The questionnaire extends on the European Students’ Union Survey 2020, and asked higher education students about how student life changed during the pandemic, and how well they are coping with the situation.
The global comparative analysis generated by the results of this survey will help the research group draw up useful recommendations for policy makers on how to support students in such crises.
“Excellent news for our University – another show of how our teaching staff rose admirably to the occasion, and how much the students appreciated it”, said UM rector, Prof. Alfred J. Vella.
Dr Roberta Sammut who was invited to lead the data collection for the University of Malta, stated that the COVID period had been a very challenging and stressful time for both academic and administrative and IT staff of the University, and these results demonstrated just how hard all had worked to provide the best possible learning experience to the students. The results demonstrate how all, including students, were able to make the shift to online learning in a very short period of time and to use the available resources to their maximum capacity and capability.