Abstract—The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions in every sector of human activity around the world. The education sector is no exception. Due to physical restrictions in accessing campus infrastructures, students and instructors at academic institutions have forcibly adapted to the new norm of virtual learning with mixed expectations and outcomes. There have been several studies conducted by educational practitioners since the pandemic began, which mostly focused on how academic constituents quickly adapt to virtual learning in a general sense. The main objective of this study is to examine the effects of virtual learning infrastructure and environment on student learning, specific to the civil engineering program at Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU). A survey was distributed to civil engineering students at PMU at the end of the fall 2020 term to gather perceptions about virtual learning and check the adequacy of online learning tools and associated environments. Student performance during virtual learning in terms of grade achievement was also investigated and compared with a normal situation. In general, it was found that students are satisfied with the current technology used to facilitate virtual learning. The anticipated outcomes of this study, including online technology readiness, curriculum adjustment, and teaching styles or methods, are to be used for virtual learning improvement should the current pandemic restriction extend to the end of the 2020–21 academic year and possibly far beyond.
Index Terms—COVID-19 restrictions, engineering education, equipment used, online learning, student environment, student perception.
The authors are with Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University (PMU), Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com).