In order to analyze the perspective of the students in relation to the instruction carried out during the confinement period and to define those questions susceptible to improvement, a descriptive analysis by sections was first carried out and added to possible correlations. Independent variables were also considered.
4.1. Descriptive Analysis
Technological devices, materials, and resources used
: This section is made up of the following items: 1. I was familiar with the technological device that we have used. 2. In general terms the technological devices were easy to use. 3. I have used only basic digital tools (institutional email, virtual university campus…). 4. I have worked with online materials that were visual, attractive and motivating. 5. The teaching staff only gave me access to closed source and proprietary software resources. 6. The students [we] have participated in the development of materials and resources. 7. Materials and resources were easy to access and download. 8. I have a computer and internet at home for work (Table 1
The majority of the surveyed population stated that they were familiar with the technological devices used and that it was easy to manage. Closed source and proprietary software resources such as institutional email or the virtual campus of the university were fundamentally used. Another data to highlight is that the majority (76.2%) of the surveyed population had a computer and internet connection at home to work.
Considering the participants who answered all the items of this dimension (N = 875; Figure 1
), the resulting mean values (between 1.45 and 3.61) have been compared, finding statistically significant differences between them, with p
< 0.001 (Friedman: value = 2107.91; p
-value = 0.000000; very large effect size: R2 = 0.337). These significant differences also suggest that a large majority of the students had the necessary resources; a computer and internet connection at home as well as the fact that they were familiar with the technological tools used. On the contrary, we found significant differences in the fact that the students were never involved in the creation of materials and resources since they used closed-source and proprietary software resources/material provided by the professors.
In this same section, we wanted to inquire about how instruction is carried out with the item “Teaching has adapted to the confinement situation, and due to the impossibility of conducting face-to-face classes, can you indicate what teaching actions have been carried out and/or what the majority of the professors use and how often?”; we received 12 ordinal response items that we have coded to resemble the Likert scale used in the first part of this section in the following way: 0 = no, 1 = once a month, 2 = once every two weeks, 3 = once a week, 4 = more than twice a week. Since the responses are ordinal in nature, it would have been more appropriate to work with the medians, but since the mean values are similar to those of their medians, we decided to make the contrasts with the mean values of each item. Table 2
contains the descriptions of this 2nd group of items. The degree of reliability is remarkable (0.722). When reviewing the responses, we observed that 3 items were more concentrated in the upper part of the scale, that is, having a greater frequency of use (No. 19, 15 and 11); In other words, online teaching was mainly focused on: video conferences for the whole class, individual activities, and uploading documents to the platform. The averages of these items indicate that the professors interacted this way once a week. However, the data show us that video conferences on an individual level (by way of individual tutorials) as well as video conferences with experts (No. 18 and especially 13 and 14) were used less, approximately once a month.
The mean values of those who had answered the complete set of items (N = 827; Figure 2
) were contrasted, which vary in the range between 0.35 and 3.01 points (similar to those in the table above). The differences observed between these items are highly significant with p
< 0.001 (Friedman: value = 3156.50; p
-value = 0.000000; very large effect size: R2 = 0.358). The contrast between the means can be confirmed as at least once a month the professors planned concrete actions once a week focused on group video conferences. The frequency was extended to more than a month if the programmed action was related to individual tutorials or the participation of experts. These actions have the lowest average.
: This dimension consists of 8 items in Likert format: 21. The organization of online learning was clear from the first moment: tasks to be carried out, delivery method, delivery periods, and evaluation activities. 22. The workload to be carried out has been adequate for the time established to do it. 23. The online sessions respect the timetables of the face-to-face sessions, facilitating no overlapping periods online between subjects. 24. The evaluation was adapted to the online model. 25. The evaluation criteria was made clear. 26. To convey the content of the curriculum, documents have been posted and activities requested on these documents. 27. To convey the content of the curriculum, mostly online video classes have been used, with little or no interaction from the students. 28. Students have been asked to participate in the curriculum process (preparing materials, sharing resources, etc.). Reviewing the responses (Table 3
), one can see a greater variability than in previous items.
Nevertheless, we can observe two items (No. 26 and 23) where there is a higher frequency of response in the upper part of the scale. That is to say that the online sessions respect the timetables of the face-to-face sessions, facilitating no overlapping periods online between subjects and that these sessions also consisted of conveying the content of the curriculum, through online video classes with little or no interaction with the students. On the contrary, we observed that several items (No. 21, 22, and 28) had a greater tendency towards the lower end of the response scale. This puts into evidence the students’ opinion that the organization of online teaching was not clear from the first moment: tasks to be carried out, form of delivery, delivery periods, evaluation activities. In addition, the workload was not adjusted to the time established to do it and the students have not been asked to participate in the curriculum process (preparing materials, sharing resources, etc.).
Contrasting the mean values of these items (Figure 3
), which range between 1.58 and 2.85 points, finding highly significant differences between them, with p
< 0.001 (Friedman: value = 1072.22; p
-value = 0.000000; large effect size: R2 = 0.171).
This leads to the verification that the students conclusively state that the on-line teaching which was carried out focused primarily on conveying the content of the curriculum by the professor through video conferences, and therefore promoting a passive attitude of the student body.
Digital skills: This dimension has been defined with 3 items on a Likert scale: 29. I have skills using ICT tools and that has made it easier for me to follow through with online work. 30. I need to find out or ask for help to be able to technologically solve some of the activities to be carried out: videos, PowerPoint, etc. 31. I have received training to teach online and to use the tools we have used.
Item 29 is formulated in a direct sense (more response value = greater digital competence/skills), while items 30 and 31 (Table 4
) must be recoded in reverse so that a higher value corresponds to greater digital competence/skills. 7. The results are all concentrated in the high values that imply a greater degree of digital competence (around 3 points out of 4) and is corroborated when the same students state that they have not needed to ask for help to solve technological issues or have had to receive specific training to be able to cope with the online instruction that was developed, and the use of the technological tools used.
: This dimension is made up of 8 items (Table 5
), those of which maintain the previous Likert format: 32. The professors were attentive to the emotional state of the students as well as took a constant interest in their students. 33. The professors have adapted the tasks to be carried out while considering the emotional state of the students during confinement. 34. In the confinement situation, the changeover to online instruction has given me an additional state of anxiety. 35. I have always felt willing to do what the professors have sent me and without having the possibility of contributing anything or interacting. 36. During this confinement I have felt uneasy and concerned about the situation. 37. [I am] feeling down and sad about the situation. 38. [I have] anxiety and a desire to end the confinement. 39 [I] accept what happens in a calm state. Item 39 has an inverse statement to the previous ones and therefore has been recoded in reverse, expressing a higher score represents a worse emotional state with more type symptoms: restlessness, dejection, anxiety, uneasiness, etc. Items 32 and 33 were inversely related to all the others and, and reviewing their statements, it was observed to be convenient to recode them in reverse as well. Therefore, calling attention to the answers of the respondents where they underline that their emotional state was one of concern about the situation as well as anxiety with wishes that the confinement would end. The data also indicates that the professors have not always been attentive to the emotional state of their students and have not taken this situation into account by adapting their academic tasks.
By contrasting the mean values of the participants who had responded to all the items in this dimension (N = 870; Figure 4
) and whose values ranged between 2.08 and 3.19 points; the differences observed between these items are highly significant with p
< 0.001 (Friedman: value = 1153.84; p
-value = 0.000000; large effect size: R2 = 0.156). It mainly highlights that the emotional state experienced in these months of confinement is restlessness and concern about the situation, with anxiety, dejection and sadness, and hoping that the confinement will come to an end as soon as possible.
Professors have not taken this situation into account when adjusting virtual tasks and this has added to levels of anxiety to the radical change in the way of receiving instruction, which is now online.
: With 6 items on a Likert scale which are: 40. The professor has always been attentive to answering and giving directions. 41. The professor answered the queries quickly (approximately, no more than 24–48 h to do so). 42. The professors have encouraged proactive and positive interactions in the different online meetings: video classes, emails, forums…. 43. I have participated actively because I felt that my contributions were considered. 44. We have worked as a team and we have interacted with each other. 45. Most of the activities proposed were individual and we have only interacted with the professor in the case of a doubt and to turn in the activities. The last item has a negative relationship with the rest, which implies that its statement generates inverse responses to the rest. For this reason, it has been recoded in the opposite direction, with the intention that all the items can be interpreted in such a way that, the higher the value, the higher the degree of interaction. The description of the responses (Table 6
) in almost all the items places the group in the lower middle zone, which is therefore an indicator of the degrees of medium-low interaction. In this sense, one item stands out (No. 43: active participation) with more responses in the two lowest values. This is followed by another item (No. 45 inverted) with a trend in the same sense as the previous one and that implies a lesser degree of agreement with the statement raised by that item.
That is to say, the students have stated that most of the activities proposed were individual and that the interactions they had with the professors were to clarify doubts or to deliver activities. They have not felt challenged to participate actively since they did not believe that their contributions were considered by the professors.
Perceived quality: lastly, this block is made up of 4 items with the usual Likert response (0–4), whose degree of reliability is very high (0.863). 46. Evaluate the online instruction that you have done during confinement. 47. Evaluate the attention of the professor with online instruction. 48.Evaluate the quality of the activities and the time it takes to do them. 49. Evaluate the tools and resources that have been used.
The description (Table 7
) places the group of participants in the middle area of the scale. One item has stood out (No. 48: quality of activities and time) with a worse evaluation than the others, as more responses are concentrated in the lower values of the scale. This leads us to the conclusion that the quality of teaching has been met with approval, but only minimally, and what students most negatively valued is the quality of the activities proposed and the inadequate time frame in which to carry them out.
4.2. Differential Analysis
The mean values of the different items are contrasted (using non-parametric tests) based on three possible differential factors (Table 8
): Sex, Academic course level and Age. We will only present those items where there are significant differences (p
< 0.05) and at the same time considering the R2 effect analysis if it is low (<2%) or very low (<1%).
The female population of the study have demonstrated more restlessness and have been more worried about the situation, experiencing feelings of anxiety, sadness, and wanting to end the confinement. However, the male population have stated that they have not been able to contribute nor interact in the online instruction. Nevertheless, it can also be observed that in these cases the R2 effect in the gender variable for these items is low, that is, there is not much difference between genders.
In the case of the levels of education variable, we have significant differences in the items that appear in Table 9
, although it must also be stated that R2 is low.
It should be noted that the students of the last course in undergraduate studies and of the master’s and doctorate courses (second stage of tertiary education) stated that the tasks, forms of delivery, periods, and evaluation activities were made clear from the first moment, and in summary, the workload to be carried out in teaching online was adjusted to the established time, in contrast to the students of lower courses.
The students of the first stage of tertiary education affirm that they have had to interact in groups and state that the interactions with the professors have been scarce except for doubts and delivery of individual activities.
And finally, and by age, only significant differences appear with an H value of 54.44 and an R2 of 0.073 in relation to item 21 in favor of students with an age ≥31 years that we can extend to ages 26–30. These coincide with the master and doctorate studies which already have contrasting information stating that the organization of online instruction was clear from the first moment: tasks to be carried out, delivery method, delivery periods, and evaluation activities.