How Do We Do This At A Distance?! A Descriptive Study Of Remote Undergraduate Research Programs During Covid-19
CBE Life Sciences Education
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down undergraduate research programs across the United States. A group of 23 colleges, universities, and research institutes hosted remote undergraduate research programs in the life sciences during Summer 2020. Given the unprecedented offering of remote programs, we carried out a study to describe and evaluate them. Using structured templates, we documented how programs were designed and implemented, including who participated. Through focus groups and surveys, we identified programmatic strengths and shortcomings as well as recommendations for improvements from students’ perspectives. Strengths included the quality of mentorship, opportunities for learning and professional development, and a feeling of connection with a larger community. Weaknesses included limited cohort building, challenges with insufficient structure, and issues with technology. Although all programs had one or more activities related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, these topics were largely absent from student reports even though programs coincided with a peak in national consciousness about racial inequities and structural racism. Our results provide evidence for designing remote Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) that are experienced favorably by students. Our results also indicate that remote REUs are sufficiently positive to further investigate their affordances and constraints, including the potential to scale up offerings, with minimal concern about disenfranchising students.
Erickson, Olivia A.; Cole, Rebecca B.; Isaacs, Jared M.; Alvarez-Clare, Silvia; Arnold, Jonathan; Augustus-Wallace, Allison; Ayoob, Joseph C.; Berkowitz, Alan; Branchaw, Janet; Burgio, Kevin R.; Cannon, Charles H.; Ceballos, Ruben Michael; Cohen, C. Sarah; Coller, Hilary; Disney, Jane; Doze, Van A.; Eggers, Margaret J.; Farina, Stacy; Ferguson, Edwin L.; Gray, Jeffrey J.; Greenberg, Jean T.; Hoffmann, Alexander; Jensen-Ryan, Danielle; Kao, Robert M.; Keene, Alex C.; Kowalko, Johanna E.; Lopez, Steven A.; and Mathis, Camille, "How Do We Do This At A Distance?! A Descriptive Study Of Remote Undergraduate Research Programs During Covid-19" (2022). School of Graduate Studies Faculty Publications. 130.