Changes in Academic Rigor and Faculty Perception of Student Learning in the Post-Secondary Classroom During COVID-19

Tasci, Kayra
Drewery, Merritt
Anderson, Ryan
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North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture
The environment created by Covid-19 did not allow for face-to-face instruction, forcing educators to transition courses online. While Covid-19 disrupted the learning experience, it also accelerated the delivery of online courses at the post-secondary level. Thus, we should leverage the widespread adoption of online learning that occurred during the pandemic to document effects on the learning experience and help educators craft their online courses moving forward. Our objectives were to capture: 1) how and why post-secondary agricultural faculty altered academic rigor in courses in response to Covid-19; and 2) faculty perceptions of student learning during Covid-19. Respondents lessened (33%), increased (10%), or did not change (52%) academic rigor from March to October 2020. When asked an open-ended question about why they altered academic rigor, responses emerged into four themes: 1) concerns over academic dishonesty; 2) difficulty converting practical concepts to an online format; 3) student engagement or communication suffered; and 4) lacking resources or time. Faculty felt students learned less (56%), more (4%), or the same amount (33%) in courses during Covid-19 as compared to previous semesters. Using the Academic Communities of Engagement (ACE) model, we interpreted our data and discussed best practices for faculty teaching online.
Coronavirus, COVID-19, academics, student learning, higher education, Agricultural Sciences
Tasci, K., Drewery, M. L., & Anderson, R. G. (2021). Changes in academic rigor and faculty perception of student learning in the post-secondary classroom during Covid-19. NACTA Journal, 65(2), pp. 526-534.