The Emotional Impact of COVID-19 on UndergradsAuthor(s): Randa Diab-Bahman* and Abrar Al-Enzi
In the pursuit of keeping Kuwait’s education active during unfortunate times, it is essential to turn to non-conventional learning methods such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). The tools and expertise are readily available at first glance; however, it is important that we further examine the primary roll-out of this framework and monitor its’ overall impact on the primary stakeholders–the students, who are often left out of the conversation. In this paper, we reached out to students in higher education universities in Kuwait, in order to gain insight on their perspectives in terms of emotional and social impact of COVID-19 on online education, and their overall sentiment regarding the roll out of VLE in their institutes. We investigated the sentiments of 309 students from three private universities in Kuwait currently undergoing VLE models and platforms as mediums of study for the first time. This insight from a first-person point of view will give feedback on the emotional and social implications of online learning as experienced by the students, the future expectations of the students involved, and how they felt about the way their respective institutes implemented VLE’s for the first time. A questionnaire was used to examine the how the mentioned impacts sentiments of their first-hand experiences. It was found that, due to the emotional and social impact of COVID-19, virtual learning was deemed less efficient than in-class learning as currently experienced by the mentioned students. Also, the majority agreed that despite the emotional stress experienced during the pandemic, most respondents reported having a positive outlook towards the future of their higher education careers. The findings are significant as they provide insightful observations on the need for psychosis s they shine the light on the need for prioritizing mental awareness during stressful times. As well, they give way to further analysis of psycho-related studies to investigate the impacts of involuntary online education.