The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted education across the world as campuses closed to restrict the spread of the virus. UK universities swiftly migrated to online delivery. The experiences of students and staff during this transition can inform our return to campus and our ability to deal with future disruption. This study draws on Moore’s Theory of Transactional Distance to understand factors influencing student study skills engagement and participation in online learning during this period. We surveyed students (n=178) in a computing school at a UK university. A partial least squares (PLS) analysis was used to explore the influence of transactional distance (between students/ teachers and between students/ students), access to e-learning capital, and perceived usefulness on two measures: study skills engagement and participation in online collaborative activity. Results show that transactional distance influences participation and e-learning capital influences study skills engagement. Our findings suggest that if universities continue with aspects of online learning for previously on-campus students they should provide access to infrastructure and training on utilising the online ecosystem to avoid disadvantaging students. Further investment in students’ e-learning capital, such as signposting and adapting existing resources, is also necessary to support this key influence in study skills engagement.


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Fabian, K., Smith, S., Taylor-Smith, E. & Meharg, D. 2022, 'Identifying factors influencing study skills engagement and participation for online learners in higher education during Covid-19', British Journal of Educational Technology. http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2861385

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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