The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has presented physician assistant (PA) educators with unprecedented challenges in delivering content remotely with minimal time to develop new pedagogical strategies. We surveyed faculty about their experience during the early weeks of adapting to these new instructional techniques.
An anonymous quantitative and qualitative survey was distributed to all individuals registered by programs as Physician Assistant Education Association members.
The survey response rate was 22.3% (667/2991) with 32% of program directors (PD), and 23.7% of faculty reporting they had taught online synchronous content prior to COVID-19 adaptations. Prior experience with technology was associated with significantly lower levels of faculty stress during the pivot to online instruction. A majority of the respondents felt educational quality had remained consistent despite the transition to online teaching, and a majority of both faculty and program directors anticipate only minor changes to program structure once they are able to return to traditional classroom learning. Concerns about technology were most commonly cited as stressors and as causes of decreased quality of instruction.
Educational challenges and stress during the pandemic were most prominently associated with unfamiliar technology. It remains to be seen what changes persist when the pandemic subsides.