• COVID-19 At USI: Investigating the Effects of Campus Shutdown and Online Learning on Student Health Outcomes

      Pilot, Zachary; Daniels, Katherine; Rope, Lakota Iron; Pfingston, Ben
      Research Question and Context The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated quick and far-reaching decisions throughout academia. The decision to close campuses and shift to online learning models, accompanied by isolation as part of the shutdowns and quarantines, spurred intense interest in understanding how these environmental changes are affecting students. The current study compares student health outcomes of Introduction to Psychology students from the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters. Grounding Mental health problems are common on college campuses and resources are sparse (Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2020). Mental health problems can dramatically impact student motivation and concentration (Unger, 2007). The addition of pandemic-related stressors such as frustration, fear, boredom, and financial loss (Brooks, et al., 2020)may have a sizable effect on an already vulnerable population (Shuchman, 2007) Recent research has shown negative mental health outcomes associated with the lockdown according to student self-reports (Son, et al., 2020), and a study of French university students who had to move mid-semester, during lockdown, were particularly affected by heightened stress (Husky, et al., 2020).The students in the current study were mostly freshmen and will continue to live with this experience as students at USI for several years. It is imperative that we understand how the pandemic has influenced them, and it is our duty as educators to guide them with these potential repercussions. Approach/Method This study is a between-subjects design, comparing students from the Fall 2019 semester to students from the Spring 2020 semester. The primary difference between these two conditions is that all students in the Spring 2020 semester participated after the campus shutdown and switch to online learning. The current study will compare scores on Adverse Childhood Experiences (a factor that may also contribute to stress in college (Karatekin, 2018)), the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), Life Events Scale for Students (LESS), and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). The Adverse childhood experiences questionnaire ranges from questions about physical, psychological, and sexual abuse to whether a family member was imprisoned. The DERS can be calculated as a total or as subscales like difficulties with impulse control, a representative item is “When I am upset, I have difficulty getting work done”. The LESS is a self-report questionnaire for students about the number of times stressful events have occurred in the last year, such as the death of a loved one or a change in living conditions. The PHQ-9 is a simple screen of depression and anxiety that asks how many times a student experienced “little interest or please in doing things” in the last two weeks. Discussion/Lessons Learned Preliminary independent t-test comparing the Spring 2020 semester to the Fall 2020 semester showed significantly higher scores on the DERS, t (274.023) = 2.68, p = .008 and PHQ-9, t (291) = -15.49, p < .001. Many educators are forced to rely on anecdotal experiences due to the lack of empirical research and lack of similar comparisons to the pandemic. These preliminary findings show differences in emotion regulation and experience of depression/anxiety symptoms. These findings suggest that the myriad effects of the pandemic could be influencing the mental health of students. Thus, their performance in classes and degree pursuit may be affected. There are many solutions to this, from leniency with due dates and understanding. It may necessitate that instructors are more vocal and informed about mental health resources for students. Additionally, it may serve as evidence that future campus mental health resources may be required to meet the current and future needs of students at USI for several years to come. References Brooks, S. K., Webster, R. K., Smith, L. E., Woodland, L., Wessely, S., Greenberg, N., & Rubin, G. J. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet. Center for Collegiate Mental Health. (2020, January). 2019 Annual Report (Publication No. STA 20-244). Husky, M. M., Kovess-Masfety, V., & Swendsen, J. D. (2020). Stress and anxiety among university students in France during Covid-19 mandatory confinement. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 102, 152191. Karatekin, C. (2018). Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), stress and mental health in college students. Stress and Health, 34(1), 36 Shuchman, M. (2007). Falling through the cracks—Virginia Tech and the restructuring of college mental health services. New England journal of medicine, 357(2), 105-110. Son, C., Hegde, S., Smith, A., Wang, X., & Sasangohar, F. (2020). Effects of COVID-19 on college students’ mental health in the United States: Interview survey study. Journal of medical internet research, 22(9), e21279. Unger, K. V. (1998). Handbook on supported education: Providing services for students with psychiatric disabilities. Paul H Brookes Publishing Company.
    • Don't Just Sit There: Student Engagement and Undergraduate Research

      Blair, Greg
      This presentation will focus on two interrelated questions encountered while teaching university art lecture and art studio courses. The first of these is how to increase the engagement of students with course content. The second is how to encourage undergraduate students to start developing their own research. This discussion will review how engagement and research can be inspired, in both art lecture and art studio style courses, as well as for introductory or advanced art students. The strategies presented in this discussion have mainly been developed from self-reflection, self-assessment, and student feedback but also draw upon some of the literature on student engagement and active learning. These strategies can be described as participatory, experiential, and student-centered because they shift the student experience into a more responsive and responsible role. This shift is similar to what David Lapotto has described as gains in individual development, including the growth of self-confidence, independence of work and thought, and a sense of accomplishment. Within the context of the education of an artist this effect can lead to the further development of their individual voice, vision, and artistic practice. One of the main strategies that I have employed to increase student engagement in art lectures courses is experiential learning or situated cognition. Some examples include getting students outside of the classroom so that they can physically perform for themselves some of the difference artworks and theories that we have studied. Another example includes field trips, maybe right on campus, in which students experience firsthand some of the concepts and artistic principles that we have recently discussed in class. In terms of promoting undergraduate research in art studio courses, for introductory courses, I introduce students to different methods of doing artistic research such as data mining. This serves to expand their understanding of the possibilities for developing their own artistic practice. For more advanced students, I encourage doing research by asking the students to develop self-directed projects with a focus on certain methodologies. As the students shift toward solely working on their own research interests, they begin to feel more ownership for what they are doing. Through this sense of ownership, their engagement begins to increase. These implemented strategies have impacted student experience and success through both anecdotal evidence and demonstrable outcomes. These include less absenteeism, better test scores, better conceptual development, and higher levels of retention. Passion and enthusiasm are certainly helpful in increasing engagement but by experimenting with some of the strategies that I have used in my own courses such as the flipped classroom, art making as a social activity, situated cognition, and educational constructivism, perhaps other faculty will also experience a positive impact on their pedagogical development and the success of their students. References Bonwell,, Charles C. and James A. Eison, Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom. 1991 ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Reports, ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, The George Washington University, 1991, https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED336049.pdf Hall, Joshua, 3 Ways to Encourage Independent Undergraduate Research, Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, September 19, 2016, https://theihs.org/blog/3-waysencourage-independent-undergraduate-research/ Himmelsbach, Vawn, 19 Student Engagement Strategies to Start with in Your Course, Top Hat, May 17, 2019 Khoo, Shaun, How to make undergraduate research worthwhile, Nature, Career Column 14, November 2018, https://www.nature.com/nature/articles?type=career-column Lopatto, David, Undergraduate Research as a High-Impact Student Experience, Association of American Colleges & Universities, peerReview, Spring 2010, Vol. 12, No. 2, https://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/undergraduate-research-high-impactstudent-experience