SNS Research Brief 89. How Does Online Education Affect the Well-Being and Grades of Students

Adrian Mehic

Swedish colleges and universities switched to online teaching for more than three semesters during the coronavirus pandemic. This report compares three types of teaching: campus teaching, teaching exclusively online and hybrid teaching, which means that campus teaching is mixed with online teaching. Comparisons are made with regard to both grades and well-being. The report covers more than 300 engineering students at Lund University and also describes how gender and socio-economic status affect the outcome of the various forms of teaching.

SNS Research Brief 89. How Does Online Education Affect the Well-Being and Grades of Students 37.5 KB PDF

Results and conclusions of the report

  • Hybrid teaching (i.e., mixing campus elements with distance learning) was better for the well-being of students compared to teaching exclusively online. This applies to all students, regardless of gender and socio-economic status.
  • The only group benefitting from hybrid teaching consisted of female students with a strong socio-economic background. This group even received better grades than when all teaching took place on campus, which was the case before the pandemic.
  • Teaching exclusively online did not have any major negative effects on student grades, but women performed somewhat poorer than men when it came to this form of teaching.

Recommendations of the report

  • Even relatively limited elements of campus teaching during the pandemic led to substantial improvements in the well-being of students. This should be taken into account in the event of similar situations.
  • More generally, colleges and universities should be cautious in terms of replacing campus teaching with hybrid-based elements.
  • If this is nevertheless the case, action must be taken to ensure equivalence and that certain groups of students do not fall behind.

about the author

Adrian Mehic is a PhD student in economics at Lund University. He carries out research in the fields of econometrics, political economy and economic inequality.