COVID-19 Impacts on Geoscience Academic Instructional Environments in Spring 2020

PDF versionPDF version

This data brief provides preliminary insights from early responses about the changes in instructional environments during the Spring 2020 term. All responding departments shifted from in-person to online-only instruction during the Spring 2020 term. In addition to in-person courses, approxi­mately one-third of departments already were offering online course courses at the start of the Spring 2020 term, and another third had flipped/blended courses comprised of a combination of planned online and in-person instruction. The majority of responding departments converted lab sections into virtual or at-home activities, and nearly two-thirds con­verted lab sections to computational approaches. Across most departments, field courses were converted to virtual experiences (68%) or were cancelled (58%).

Data Brief 2020-006 chart 01: Changes in lab sections/classes during Spring 2020 (credit: AGI)

Data Brief 2020-006 chart 02: Field course changes during Spring 2020 (credit: AGI)

Nearly all departments deferred both faculty and student research during the Spring 2020 term, and nearly one-third cancelled planned research activities. Active research was more frequently cancelled for undergraduate students (38% of departments) than for graduate students or faculty mem­bers. In addition, the mode of research for students was changed to virtual or computational for just over three-quar­ters of departments. Two academic departments reported no impact to some research activities for undergraduate students and faculty during the Spring 2020 term.

Data Brief 2020-006 chart 03: Research impacts during Spring 2020 (credit: AGI)

We will continue to provide current snapshots on the impacts of COVID-19 on the geoscience enterprise throughout the year. For more information, and to participate in the study, please visit: covid19

Funding for this project is provided by the National Science Foundation (Award #2029570). The results and interpretation of the survey are the views of the American Geosciences Institute and not those of the National Science Foundation.

Date updated: 2020-06-05
Data Brief 2020-006
Written and compiled by Leila Gonzales and Christopher Keane, AGI, June 2020

Subscribe to Geoscience Currents

Interested in receiving the latest in data and information about the geosciences? Enter your email below to subscribe to the Geoscience Currents channel.