UK study reports 58% decline in student satisfaction with spring move to online architectural studios

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

In October, the University of Bath released the final version of a National Design Studio Survey examining the impact of the spring transition to online learning in UK architecture schools.

Soon after UK universities shifted to online learning this spring, the University of Bath undertook a survey of the impact of Covid-19 on studio teaching in architectural education. 798 students and 120 teaching staff at 29 schools of architecture responded to the questionnaire.  This resulted in the largest design studio survey produced to-date on the challenges and opportunities faced by schools of architecture in a Covid-19 world.

“Across all items surveyed, satisfaction among students had decreased following the move to remote teaching. Most significantly affected was the ability for students to learn from each other, to feel part of a community and to access the emotional and motivational support of their peers,” write the report’s authors.

“This was echoed in responses from tutors. While in many cases universities were commended for adapting to online teaching, the absence of a physical workplace resulted in an overall detrimental impact on student learning. There was a 58% fall in student satisfaction after the move to online learning and only 7% of students preferred online delivery over its face-to-face equivalent.”

The study finds a similar result for teaching staff: while 39% of tutors were satisfied with their online teaching experience, this fell from 95% satisfaction with in-person delivery. Only 4% of tutors preferred online delivery to its face-to face equivalent.

As social distancing measures continue into 2021, these findings provide information that may help schools of architecture develop appropriate responses in the Covid-19 environment.

Preliminary results from the University of Bath’s survey were released in the spring. Since then, architecture schools across Canada have been exploring ways to deliver their curricula virtually and adapt studios to online learning.  Most Canadian universities have been closed to in-person learning for the fall 2020 and winter 2021 semesters to limit the spread of Covid-19.

The full University of Bath report is available here.