The Impact of Covid-19 on the Learning Experience of International Students studying Public Health

  • Holly Musson

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Covid-19 has had a profound effect on higher education globally, whilst literature has shown online distance education as a suitable and efficient substitute for traditional higher education, there are still many factors that need to be incorporated in distance education, in order to promote motivation and engagement. Literature has shown that motivation is an intrinsic factor associated with successful learning, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has had detrimental effects on student attainment and whilst this is illustrated within literature, the impact on international students is significantly under-researched.

The aim of this study was to identify the impact of Covid 19 on the learning experience of international students. Specifically, the study’s objectives were to explore the impact of learning modes and their influence on academic success; examine the effects of Covid- 19 on student motivation and explore enhancement strategies to promote successful learning and engagement.

A case study approach, using semi-structured interviews of five students, completed using Microsoft Teams. Data collected was analysed using template analysis.,

The study revealed five key themes that influenced the international student’s experience during the Covid-19 pandemic: 1- Interaction (peers & tutors); 2- Mental health and well-being; 3- Internet connectivity and Technology; 4- Student Expectations and 5- Motivation. The study also found recommendations for future educators, to implement in practice for distance learning.

Conclusion and Recommendations
The study concluded that Universities must implement live interaction to promote engagement whilst also giving students access to prompt feedback. Mental health was found to decline during the course of the pandemic, and it is recommended that the maintenance of international student’s mental health and well-being is viewed as a priority. Guidance, support and accessibility to IT assistance, content materials and software should be easily made readily available with good communication strategies in place for students.
Date of Award26 Oct 2022
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMichael Snowden (Main Supervisor) & Jamie Halsall (Co-Supervisor)

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