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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on both education and research activities. A survey conducted within the geotechnical engineering and earth science academic communities between April 22 and 24 explored the variables that affect working efficiency and intellectual development during the pandemic period. We received 274 complete responses from faculty and graduate students in North America, Europe, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. The four variables that correlate best with individuals’ perceived consequences of the pandemic are: setting daily goals, focus on academic tasks, time spent reading literature outside core research or on professional development, and commitment to exploring deeper scientific concepts. Overall, 28% of the respondents exhibit a positive outlook. For the other 72%, living with non-family members or with children, hindered access to needed materials, and excessive time spent with video entertainment exacerbated the perception of potential negative consequences of the pandemic. Observed percentages and trends are very similar across age, gender, living conditions and regardless of regional/national restrictions. Two complementary surveys addressed faculty choices for online education and student preferences. These results document the effective transition from in-person to online education using readily available technology, and highlight students’ preferences for in-person education followed by live online platforms; pre-recorded lectures emerge as the least preferable choice.
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