ESRI Research Bulletin

Home broadband and student engagement during COVID-19 emergency remote teaching

ESRI Research Bulletin Articles provide short summaries of work published by ESRI researchers and overviews of thematic areas covered by ESRI programmes of research. Bulletin Articles are designed to be easily accessible to a wide readership. A reference or references to the full publication is included at the start of each Bulletin article.

November 12, 2021
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, school buildings worldwide closed for often prolonged periods, necessitating a shift to emergency remote teaching. This study assessed the influence of high-speed broadband availability on second-level student engagement with distance learning during this period in Ireland. Employing data from a representative sample of second-level schools, we assessed the extent to which students were seen to engage with their learning and whether this varied across different types of schools and according to broadband coverage in schools’ catchment areas. Other studies have highlighted that the use of, and access to, technology and digital media have been important factors in shaping the learning experience during the pandemic. However, our study is unique in that it identifies schools located in areas characterised by lower availability of high-speed broadband using objective information.