Survey: The quality of teaching and students’ motivation have deteriorated during the exceptional situation

In December, Student Union of Oulu University of Applied Sciences OSAKO looked into how the remote learning is going at Oulu University of Applied Sciences.

503 Oamk students took part in the survey. Half of the respondents started their studies in 2020.

Before the exceptional situation, 72 percent of the respondents studied mainly in contact teaching. 11 percent of the respondents said that the way of studying before the exceptional situation has been mainly online teaching.


“It often feels like we have been left alone here. Messages from teachers are rare and the responses have slowed down, and learning has become much more independent.”

“Teachers should also remember that the majority of students have several courses at the same time in one period and if each course includes several large group assignments, individual assignments and exams, the students simply cannot cope. Written assignments should not be the same as distance learning and cannot replace high-quality (contact) teaching.”

45 percent of the respondents said that their motivation to study was worse and 27 percent said that their motivation to study was much worse than before the exceptional situation.

The same themes as on the results of the spring survey emerge as the main factors influencing motivation. In particular, the responsibility of the studying falling on the students’ shoulders has significantly contributed to the lack of motivation. Students feel that the workload has been increased unreasonably, for example in terms of independent tasks and group work. Furthermore, the answers also emphasize that not all teachers are willing to give remote lectures, but replaces them with assignments that significantly affect study motivation.

Coping psychologically and social life

“Teachers seem very tired and stressed and it affects studying. Some teachers are so exhausted that students don’t dare to ask questions.”

The transition to distance learning has affected contacts and social interaction, as remote learning does not have the same kind of contact and discussion.”

21 percent of the respondents said that they feel that their own mental well-being is very much worse in an exceptional situation compared to the situation before. 51 percent said mental well-being is worse in the exceptional situation.

In addition, 75 percent of respondents said that distance learning causes more stress compared to contact learning.

There are also concerns about teachers’ well-being. Many of the respondents have found that teachers are tired and overburdened, which also delays answering emails or reviewing assignments. Many also feel that during remote lectures there is no time to ask questions.  

Students find it difficult to get help from, for example, study counselors due to long queues. On the part of student health care, discussion opportunities and support for maintaining well-being would be welcome. Students also need a reminder of who they can contact, if they have trouble coping with the situation.

Social relations are also on the break for most respondents due to the exceptional situation and the transition to distance learning. 28 percent say most social relationships are on break and 43 percent say some relationships are on break but contact with some continues. 7 percent of the respondents said that switching to distance learning has had no effect on their social relations.

Communication about changes

“The biggest problem is the late communication of how the studies are carried out and this causes stress.”

“Some of the teachers communicate really well via email about everything. Some, on the other hand, don’t even respond to emails, let alone send anything themselves.”

40 percent of the respondents feel that the university and its staff have informed well about the changed situation and the implementation of the study courses. 30 percent say that informing has been poorly managed, and 7 percent say that informing has been very poorly managed.

Students find the information best through the student intranet Oiva. Students wish that email would be used more when informing about changed situation. Social media and the school website also serve as a source of information for several students.

Quality of teaching

“The poor quality of teaching is not the fault of the teachers, but in remote teaching the teaching methods are limited, so the lectures are mainly staring at the slides.”

“The quality of teaching varies greatly between teachers. Those who just complain that contact teaching would be better do not develop their own remote teaching style at all, as they think that this is only temporary. ”

About half of the respondents feel that the quality of teaching in distance learning is poor or very poor. 27 percent of respondents think the quality of teaching in distance learning is good or excellent.

Students feel that the quality of teaching varies greatly between teachers. Some teachers also provide quality teaching in distance learning, but some have switched to using recordings and independent assignments in their teaching. There are also problems with scheduling lectures, and breaks are not always taken. Exceptionally, some distance lectures are also held in the evening.

Another problem is that students are not able to discuss during distance learning. In addition, teaching has been transferred to fully independent study in some courses, without teaching materials even being provided.

Progress of studies

“Courses are progressing as before, but studying doesn’t make sense when Google is the best teacher.”

“Having started my studies in the fall, I don’t know any better, so it’s easy to adapt to this. I’ve gotten to know my study group pretty well and have made new friends, but you just have to be open and go along to everything to get familiar with the study group. I’m worried about the shy people, though.”

Only one in four feels that the exceptional situation has not affected the progress of their studies. 25 percent of respondents say that the exceptional situation has impacted the progress of their studies a lot. About half of the respondents say that the exceptional situation has had a small effect on the progress of their studies.

The answers emphasize that studies are progressing, but the actual learning is limited. The transition to work or internship is perceived as frightening, as the necessary skills have not been developed.

Students on the verge of graduation have tried to speed up their graduation, but many of the respondents have missed their studies due to, for example, cancellations of exams.

Those who started their studies during 2020 feel that they have gotten to know their study group mainly poorly or very poorly. Only 13 percent of respondents feel that they have gotten to know their group well and 3 percent of the respondents feel that they have gotten to know their study group very well.

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