‘I’m not listening to my teacher, I’m listening to my computer’: online learning, disengagement, and the impact of COVID-19 on French university students

Abstract: In a French context where universities are thought of and analysed as ‘weak institutions’ that leave learners to themselves, the effects of the pandemic present great risks to students who already face structural obstacles to their education. This qualitative paper is based on the experience of 19 students in a typical non-selective university in France, who have disengaged or have thought of dropping out during the pandemic. We examine how lockdowns and distance learning have impacted French students’ learning and living conditions unequally, unpacking ideas of student engagement and disengagement through a sociological lens looks at students within their social context and places importance on the role of institutions in ‘holding’ students. By unpacking our participants’ narratives, we address the implications of online learning for educational justice and the long-term opportunities of students …

Charlotte Branchu and Erwin Flaureau, ‘I’m not listening to my teacher, I’m listening to my computer’: online learning, disengagement, and the impact of COVID-19 on French university students, Higher Education (2022), published 27 April.

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