Lessons Learned: Academia's tryst with the pandemic-mental and physical health impacts ---7th International Conference on Embracing Change & Transformation Innovation and Creativity
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Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic brought various changes in the manner we work and the teaching-learning profession is not an exception. It is essential to understand the impact which the pandemic has had on the physical and mental well-being of the major stakeholders of the academic ecosystem.
Objectives: This study discusses the condition of educational institutes due to the pandemic and its impact on the mental and physical well-being of the faculty members and students.
Research Methodology: In order to understand the viewpoint of the students and faculty primary data collection was undertaken in graduate and postgraduate colleges in four Indian states namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. There are approximately seven to eight thousand colleges in these four states which offer graduate and post-graduate courses. More than 80,000 students’ study in these colleges. Due to the pandemic, it was not feasible to collect data from all of the colleges. In total, 25 colleges were contacted from these four states. Hence, the method of convenience sampling was used to collect the data. A structured questionnaire was designed and distributed to 1,750 students. 1,500 undergraduate and post-graduate students completed the questionnaire (85.7% response rate). From the same institutes, around 715 faculty were given a questionnaire to complete about issues faced in shifting to online teaching from offline teaching due to COVID-19. 600 faculty members completed the questionnaire (83.9% response rate).
Results: According to the findings, online learning has progressed but is resulting in a rise in loneliness and isolation among students and teachers. When one-on-one communication between instructors and students is disrupted, the majority of students felt isolated, which can lead to poor mental and physical health in pandemics.
Conclusion: Research outcomes can help institute, university, and policymakers in designing effective mental and physical health policies or developing programs to mitigate the negative effects of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings can help researchers discover that mental health is just as vital as physical health.
*(The paper presented at the 7th International Conference on Embracing Change & Transformation Innovation and Creativity 26-28 May 2022)
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