Mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic
This thesis explores the impact that the sudden shift to a non-traditional, online learning model had on the mental health of college students in the United States. The work reviews 27 published sources between the Spring of 2020 and March of 2020 that produced findings on the mental health of college students during the pandemic, perceptions and lessons learned regarding the academic models utilized during the pandemic, or on both subtopics in conjunction. This thesis was inspired by the recognition of the immense cultural and pedagogical shift that suddenly occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study was also inspired by a desire to learn how the target demographic experienced these shifts. This research also set out to understand the role online education and its features might play in the context of post-pandemic higher education in the U.S. The thesis is divided into three sections. Section One outlines the background context of the work and explains the methods used to compile the sources of the literature review. Section Two includes the results of the literature review and a discussion of the findings. Finally, Section Three concludes the literature review and provides a foundation and suggestions for future research. This includes a detailed proposed research project at Tulane University to further understand the relationship between academic models and student mental health. The thesis found that mental health rates among students declined because of the changes to student's lives the pandemic brought about, and students had mixed but primarily negative perceptions of online education in the first months. However, the thesis also found that having adequate time to prepare for an online or hybrid course led to higher levels of satisfaction among both students and faculty, which implies aspects of an online education model may be retained.