Barriers and facilitators to online medical and nursing education during the COVID-19 pandemic: perspectives from international students from low- and middle-income countries and their teaching staff.Hum Resour Health. 2021 05 12; 19(1):64.HR
The COVID-19 pandemic posed a huge challenge to the education systems worldwide, forcing many countries to provisionally close educational institutions and deliver courses fully online. The aim of this study was to explore the quality of the online education in China for international medical and nursing students from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) as well as the factors that influenced their satisfaction with online education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Questionnaires were developed and administered to 316 international medical and nursing students and 120 teachers at a university in China. The Chi-square test was used to detect the influence of participants' personal characteristics on their satisfaction with online education. The Kruskal-Wallis rank-sum test was employed to identify the negative and positive factors influencing the online education satisfaction. A binary logistic regression model was performed for multiple-factor analysis to determine the association of the different categories of influential factors-crisis-, learner-, instructor-, and course-related categories, with the online education satisfaction.
Overall, 230 students (response rate 72.8%) and 95 teachers (response rate 79.2%) completed the survey. It was found that 36.5% of students and 61.1% of teachers were satisfied with the online education. Teachers' professional title, students' year of study, continent of origin and location of current residence significantly influenced the online education satisfaction. The most influential barrier for students was the severity of the COVID-19 situation and for teachers it was the sense of distance. The most influential facilitating factor for students was a well-accomplished course assignment and for teachers it was the successful administration of the online courses.
Several key factors have been identified that affected the attitudes of international health science students from LMICs and their teachers towards online education in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. To improve the online education outcome, medical schools are advised to promote the facilitating factors and cope with the barriers, by providing support for students and teaching faculties to deal with the anxiety caused by the pandemic, caring for the state of mind of in-China students away from home, maintaining the engagement of out-China students studying from afar and enhancing collaborations with overseas institutions to create practice opportunities at students' local places.