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During the pandemic, university students for the most part had to study remotely. There were fears that this would lead to poorer study results, but the students seem to have managed the adjustment well.
A study from Umeå University does not show any dramatic changes in the study results before and during the pandemic. In fact, the proportion of students who received at least a passing grade on their courses is actually higher in the autumn semester of 2020 than during the three previous autumn semesters.
"I am not really that surprised, because we have already received similar signals before, but it is of course positive to get further confirmation that the students have done well in their studies even during the pandemic. We know that we have many skilled teachers with experience in online teaching, and that was a prerequisite for us to be able to quickly change and still maintain a high quality of the educations", says Heidi Hansson, vice-principal for education at the undergraduate and advanced level, in a press release.
More remote studies could be expected
Students' grades have also improved during the pandemic. On a scale where the grade "passed" (comparable to E) gives the value 1 and "well passed" (comparable to C) gives the value 2, the average grade increased from 1.33 in the autumn semester of 2019 to 1.37 last year.
"It is impressive to see that our students have both passed the courses in a good way and received high grades. That the forms of examination at a distance may differ from what the students have been used to on campus does not seem to have been a big problem", says Heidi Hansson.
Now some students have had a harder time than others during the pandemic and there are no plans to switch completely to remote studies. But the results show that distance education can become a more common complement to regular education.
"We will take advantage of the experiences we have made during the transition period to develop our remote range even more. At the same time, Umeå University will continue to be a campus university with all that this entails of planned and unexpected contacts between educations, students and teachers", says Heidi Hansson.