Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico

Go to…

Studying online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: assessing the mental health impact on students and staff

Universities have been forced to rapidly transition to online teaching as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking Education Online is a new study exploring how this affects the mental health of students and staff.

taking education online

In March 2020, King’s College London launched a rapid response funding call, ‘King’s COVID-19 Response’, to address the very real challenges and hardships caused by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak across the globe.

Taking Education Online, led by Dr Nicola Byrom and Dr Eleanor Dommett, is one of six projects led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience that was awarded funding as part of the King’s COVID-19 Response.

The shift online has been a dramatic change and our students have handled this admirably. As we look towards a reality of many universities continuing to deliver some of their teaching online through the autumn, it is vital that we understand how to support students online effectively.– Dr Nicola Byrom (Joint Principal Investigator), Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London

Use of digital technology in higher education has substantially expanded in recent years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced all teaching and assessment to shift online. This sudden shift demands that universities must understand how students and staff feel about online-only education. It also provides an opportunity to investigate what is required to ensure that students and staff can still feel supported and retain a sense of university identity while studying or working remotely.

The study will measure how confident staff and students feel in an online environment and how moving online affects their sense of engagement and belonging. Data will be collected through a survey and complemented with in-depth interviews conducted online, to gain a richer understanding of the student and staff experience.

Universities have a lot to consider at the moment as they plan their teaching for the next academic year. Understanding staff and student perspectives of recent online teaching and learning will allow for better design and delivery of online or flexible teaching over the coming months, as well as improved approaches to both staff and student wellbeing.– Dr Juliet Foster (Co-investigator), Dean of Education at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London

The researchers hope to gain an understanding of potential costs and benefits to online education and how to support high levels of engagement for students and staff.

The study team includes Joint Principal Investigators Dr Nicola Byrom, Dr Eleanor Dommett, and Co-Investigators Professor Sally Everett and Dr Juliet Foster.

In this story

Nicola Byrom

Nicola Byrom

Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Juliet Foster

Juliet Foster

Dean of Education