New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Learning Lessons: Differences in Student Performance in Analytical Problems in Remote Learning Vs In-person Learning of a Biochemistry Course

Harsha Rajapakse, Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science, Medgar Evers College, City University of New York (United States)


Covid-19 affected people regardless of nationality, level of education, income, age or gender, and its consequences have hit the most vulnerable the hardest.[1] Education is one area that got tremendously affected by Covid-19’s effects and the impact will dwell in the world for decades. It has been known that teaching, as well as learning Biochemistry, is challenging.[2] Changes in the learning platforms due to Covid-19 made teaching and learning Biochemistry even more challenging. Sudden switch of learning modalities due to the world’s emergency forced significant changes in the manner teachers teach and learners learn with minimal time for gradual adaptation. The changes were rigorous due to related encounters such as accessibility issues, lack of technological literacy and skills, increased stress levels among others.[3] To learn how students’ ability to successfully solve analytical problems got affected by switching to remote learning, a classroom study involving Biochemistry students was performed. This study involves a comparative analysis of student learning outcomes of pre-Covid in-person student performance data and remote learning student performance data during years 2019, 2020, and 2021 of Biochemistry class (CHEM 341) at Medgar Evers College.  Four semesters worth of data was analyzed to identify trends associated with the change of student performance owing to the change of learning platforms. Specific analytical problems were selected as research problems and incorporated into regular tests to understand students’ approach on solving these problems. Students’ overall performance in mixed problem tests was used to normalize the score of analytical problems to eliminate all the other variables in student performance. Overall grades and student participation were also closely monitored. Students in all online classes demonstrated a significant preference for remote learning over In-person learning although a few aspects such as increased personal connection, comfort of accessibility and feeling of being a part of the college community were appreciated by the students. However, this study indicates a significant decrease of students’ ability to logically approach an analytical problem among students who used remote learning compared to that of in-person students. Although various sources such as the Department of Education. State-wide and City-wide programs, Institution level support programs eased this transition by providing additional resources, and training, this study indicates a significant impact on the analytical problem solving of Biochemistry students.

Keywords: Student performance, remote learning, Analytical problem solving


[1]           Adnan, M.; Anwar, K., Online Learning amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Students' Perspectives. Online Submission 2020, 2 (1), 45-51.

[2]           Wood, E. J., Biochemistry is a difficult subject for both student and teacher. Biochemical Education 2010, 18, 170-172.


[3]           Aristovnik, A.;  Keržič, D.;  Ravšelj, D.;  Tomaževič, N.; Umek, L., Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on life of higher education students: A global perspective. Sustainability 2020, 12 (20), 8438.


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