In-Person and Emergency Remote Learning: An Examination of the Perceptions and Experiences of Seniors at Harvard University

youseypdf239 KB


Many higher education institutions previously offered online courses, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the rate at which higher education institutions transitioned to emergency remote classes. Research on the effects of this emergency transition is limited due to how recent the events have occurred and given the fact that these events are ongoing. The emergency shift to remote learning due to the sudden onset of COVID-19 makes remote learning distinct from typical remote learning circumstances. In this context, it is critical to understand how students are perceiving and experience their classes. The aim of this study was to compare 4th year students’ experience and learning in their emergency remote and traditional in-person class settings. Using qualitative data from six interviews with Seniors at Harvard, I found that student motivation and engagement have dramatically fallen while taking emergency remote classes, largely due to a lack of social interactions inside and outside of their classes. However, the students felt they had greater access to resources and their professors which they saw as a primary benefit of their remote experience. This study found that while students saw several benefits of learning remotely, overall the students expressed a strong preference for in-person classes.
Last updated on 05/20/2021