Journal of Dr. NTR University of Health Sciences

ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year
: 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23--28

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the academics of medical students


Dedeepya Kobaku, Phanindra Dulipala 
 Department of Community Medicine, Katuri Medical College and Hospital, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dedeepya Kobaku
Department of Community Medicine, 18-1-66, Yashoda Nagar, K T Road, Tirupati - 517 501, Andhra Pradesh
India

Abstract

Context: Almost every sector in the world is affected due to COVID-19 pandemic. Among them educational sector is the one which is also badly affected. Due to this pandemic, all the students across the world were forced to an online mode of teaching. Aims: The aim of this study is to assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic among the medical students on their academics. Settings and Design: This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted in a teaching hospital, Guntur, in the month of October 2020. Methods and Material: A self-designed, semistructured questionnaire was circulated to all 600 students of the college through online social media groups. Statistical Analysis Used: The data were entered in to MS Excel and were analyzed statistically using SPSS 25 software. Results: Five-hundred and thirty-seven (89.5%) students responded from 600. Out of 537, females were 362 (67.4%) and 175 (32.6%) were males. Among them, 424 (79%) were using smartphones to attend online classes. Network issues were the main reason of disinterest; 439 (81.8%) of the students followed by lack of interaction during classes for 319 (59.4%). The problems raised were visual fatigue by 374 (69.6%) and auditory fatigue by 299 (55.7%). Two-hundred and eighty-six (53.3%) of them were not comfortable with online exams. Conclusions: As social distancing is one of the major barriers against COVID-19 pandemic, online classes were acceptable but the network issues being faced by many students must be addressed. Teachers must take an initiative to make the sessions more interactive and interesting.



How to cite this article:
Kobaku D, Dulipala P. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the academics of medical students.J NTR Univ Health Sci 2022;11:23-28


How to cite this URL:
Kobaku D, Dulipala P. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the academics of medical students. J NTR Univ Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 4 ];11:23-28
Available from: https://www.jdrntruhs.org/text.asp?2022/11/1/23/345796


Full Text



 Introduction



Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been reported in 216 countries and has affected more than 5.4 million people.[1] The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, declared this disease as a pandemic.[2] The first case of COVID-19 in India was confirmed on January 30, 2020.[3] In order to contain the spread of disease, India declared a national lockdown starting from March 24, 2020.[4] Almost every sector is affected due to COVID-19 pandemic. Among them educational sector is also the one which is badly affected.

The pandemic of COVID-19 resulted in a complete transition from traditional way of learning to online mode of teaching, that is, to a setup which involves digital mode of learning and teaching to the students. The closure of schools, colleges, and universities had created a stressful situation for educational administration with very limited options. With this evolution in teaching modalities, a “flipped classroom” model for learning has been adopted by many medical schools around the world.[5],[6] Online learning is classified as synchronous/asynchronous. Synchronous technology allows for “live” interaction between instructor and students (e.g., audio conferencing, video conferencing, web charts, etc.) while the asynchronous technology which involves significant delays in time between instruction and its receipt (e.g., e-mail, earlier video recording, discussion forums, etc.).[7]

 Aims and Objectives



To assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic among medical students on their academics.To assess the perception of students regarding digital mode of teaching and learning.

 Subjects and Methods



Study period: 1 month [October 2020].

Study setting area: Teaching hospital of Guntur.

Study design: Descriptive, cross-sectional study.

Study tool: A self-designed, semistructured questionnaire, in the Google form format was circulated to all the students through online social media groups. The questionnaire comprises the following:

Section 1 includes socio-demographic data.

Section 2 includes multiple-choice questions about sources and duration of online classes.

Section 3 includes the questions regarding quality of online classes which were classified according to 5-point Likert scale.

Section 4 includes yes/no questions regarding perception of students on these classes.

Sampling technique

A total of 600 students were selected by convenience sampling in teaching hospital of Guntur. Out of them, 537 students responded to the questionnaire.

Data analysis

Data were entered into Microsoft Excel and were analyzed using SPSS 25 software by appropriate statistical tests.

Ethical committee

Ethical clearance was obtained from institutional ethical committee of Katuri Medical College, Guntur.

 Results



Section 1:

Out of 537 respondents, 362 (67.4%) were females and 175 (32.6%) were males.One hundred and sixty-one (30.3%) were in the age group of >18 years, 350 (66.03%) between 21 and 23 years, and 26 (4.9%) in >23 years as shown in [Figure 1].By religion, 85% are Hindu, 10.2% are Christians, 3.7% are Muslims, and 0.9% are others.A percentage of 28.3 were residing in urban areas and 71.70% in rural areas during COVID-19 lockdown as shown in [Figure 2].{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

Section 2:

Students used smartphones, laptops, and tablets to attend online classes which accounted for 424 (79%), 71 (13.2%), and 42 (7.8%), respectively [Figure 3].{Figure 3}

Platforms used by most of them were GoToMeeting app 386 (71.9%), Zoom 14 (2.6%), Google 37 (6.9%), YouTube 2 (0.4%), WhatsApp 2 (0.4%), and others 96 (17.9%) [Figure 4].Among 537 medical students, 4 (0.7%) stated that duration of class was found to be <1 h/day. About 384 (71.5%), 124 (23.1%), and 25 (4.7%) of them stated 2–4 h/day, <1–2 h/day, >4 h/day, respectively [Figure 5].Among 537 medical students, duration of average class was found to be <1 h/class by 351 (65.4%), 1–2 h/class by 165 (30.7%), and 2–4 h/class by 20 (3.7%) [Figure 6].Two hundred and twenty-seven (42.7%) used cellular data, 106 (19.7%) Wi-Fi, and 204 (38%) used both for attending online classes as shown in [Figure 7].{Figure 4}{Figure 5}{Figure 6}{Figure 7}

Section 3: Perception of students on online classes

Section 3 includes the questionnaire regarding audio quality, video quality, content, interactions, and discussion of doubts and they answered according to 5-point Likert scale [1: very poor, 2: poor, 3: neutral, 4: good, 5: excellent as shown in [Figure 8].{Figure 8}

Section 4: Yes/No

In [Figure 9], 237 (44.1%) stated that the online classes were more stressful than normal classes. Three hundred and nineteen (59.4%) have apprehension of being questioned. Two hundred and sixty-eight (49.9%) had learnt at leisure times; visual fatigue 374 (69.6%) and auditory fatigue 299 (55.7%) due to prolonged classes; 319 (59.4%) lack of interactions during classes. Four hundred and thirty-nine (81.8%) found network issue as a major drawback. While attending online classes, 223 (41.5%) were taking notes, 73 (13.6%) were recording the classes, and 241 (44.9%) were doing nothing. Four hundred and three (75%) felt that a greater number of theoretical classes over online platforms could not compensate the practical approach. Four hundred and forty-one (82.1%) stated that they lack enough confidence to interact with patients once they get back to clinical postings. Two hundred and eighty-six (53.3%) were not comfortable with online examination. Lack of sufficient mobile data is also one of the drawbacks by 322 (60%).{Figure 9}

 Discussion



There have been a very few studies on the perception of students about online classes during the lockdown period in India.In developing countries like India, online education is a challenging task due to poor network coverage in remote regions.India is second only to China in terms of internet users with the internet user's penetration rate of 50%. This implies that nearly half of the country's population has no access to internet.[8]In our study, out of 537 students, 362 (67.4%) were females and 175 (32.6%) were males. Four hundred and twenty-four (79%) used smartphones which are not optimized for online classes. Three hundred and nineteen (59.4%) explained regarding the lack of interactions during online classes. On a whole, the students rated average to good for the factors like video quality, audio perception, content, interactions, and discussion of doubts. Three hundred and seventy-two (69.3%) favored regular classes, whereas 165 (30.7%) favored online classes. Four hundred and thirty-nine (81.8%) found network issues and 60% found insufficient mobile data as the main drawbacks.A similar study was done by Andrew Thomas, Mohan T Shenoy et al.[9] in which among 1016 students, 673 (66.2%) were females and 343 (33.8%) were males. Nine hundred and fifty-five (94%) used mobile phones for attending online classes; Zoom and Google platforms were used by 580 (57.1%) and 553 (54.4%), respectively. Regular classes were favored by 370 (36.4%) and online classes were favored by 81 (8%). A percentage of 85.5 stated network problems and 61.1% lack of interaction during classes as reasons for disinterest of students toward online classes.

 Conclusion



As social distancing is the one of major barriers against COVID-19, the online classes were acceptable but network issues being faced by many students should be addressed. Limited breaks between the sessions can minimize the visual fatigue and auditory fatigue and facilitate the students to concentrate over the classes. Teachers must take an initiative to make the sessions more interactive and interesting.

 Limitations



Only students of one medical college were included in the study. Further research including students of more colleges is required.

 Discussion



There have been a very few studies on the perception of students about online classes during the lockdown period in India.

In developing countries like India, online education is a challenging task due to poor network coverage in remote regions.India is second only to China in terms of internet users with the internet user's penetration rate of 50%. This implies that nearly half of the country's population has no access to internet.[8]In our study, out of 537 students, 362 (67.4%) were females and 175 (32.6%) were males. Four hundred and twenty-four (79%) used smartphones which are not optimized for online classes. Three hundred and nineteen (59.4%) explained regarding the lack of interactions during online classes. On a whole, the students rated average to good for the factors like video quality, audio perception, content, interactions, and discussion of doubts. Three hundred and seventy two (69.3%) favored regular classes, whereas 165 (30.7%) favored online classes. Four hundred and thirty-nine (81.8%) found network issues and 60% found insufficient mobile data as the main drawbacks.A similar study was done by Andrew Thomas, Mohan T Shenoy et al.,[9] in which among 1016 students, 673 (66.2%) were females and 343 (33.8%) were males. Nine hundred and fifty-five (94%) used mobile phones for attending online classes, Zoom, and Google platforms were used by 580 (57.1%) and 553 (54.4%), respectively. Regular classes were favored by 370 (36.4%) and online classes were favored by 81 (8%). A percentage of 85.5 stated network problems and 61.1% lack of interaction during classes as reasons for disinterest of students toward online classes.

Acknowledgments

I acknowledge all the participants.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

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