Virtual Community Outreach and Its Impact on Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic at the University of the West Indies, Mona
Keywords:student engagement, virtual community outreach, social systems
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, was forced to re-examine its operations and the role of student engagement in community-based activities. Co-curricular activities serve as a progressive tool for student development and retention.
Using an exploratory qualitative approach we assessed the student services using virtual outreach programmes and their role in developing students’ learning. The population sample consisted of seven students and five administrative staff from the Campus One Life programme, Chancellor Hall, and Leslie Robinson Hall. Focus group discussions and interviews were conducted and thematically coded. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory of change was used to show the result of experience, reflection, conceptualisation, and experimentation.
The findings showed that online engagement had an impact on interaction and the social aspect of learning because of the isolated virtual environment. This research proposes a model to help student services practitioners improve student engagement in online communities and explore the use of technology while examining the evolution of students’ interaction.