Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Crisis-driven digitalization and academic success across disciplines

Tinjic, Dina; Nordén, Anna


While the rapid digitalization in higher education, accelerated by the COVID-19 pan- demic, has restructured the landscape of teaching and learning, a comprehensive under- standing of its implications on students’ academic outcomes across various academic disciplines remains unexplored. This study, therefore, aims to fill this gap by providing an in-depth examination of the effects of crisis-driven digitalization on student performance, specifically the shift to emergency remote education during the COVID-19 crisis. Lever- aging a panel dataset encompassing 82,694 individual student course grades over a span of six years, we explore the effects of digitalization across nationalities, educational levels, genders, and crucially, academic disciplines. Our findings are threefold: (i) firstly, we note that crisis-driven digitalization significantly impacted students’ chances of passing a course and achieving higher course grades in comparison to the pre-crisis period. (ii) Secondly, we found the effect to be heterogeneous across disciplines. Notably, practical disciplines, such as nursing, experienced a negative impact from this sudden shift, in contrast to more theoretical disciplines such as business administration or mathematics, which saw a positive effect. (iii) Lastly, our results highlight significant variations in the impact based on educational levels and nationalities. Master’s students had a harder time adapting to the digital shift than their bachelor counterparts, while international students faced greater challenges in less international academic environments. These insights underscore the need for strategic interventions tailored to maximize the potential of digital learning across all disciplines and student demographics. The study aims to guide educators and policymakers in creating robust digital learning environments that promote equitable outcomes and enhance students’ learning experiences in the digital age.

Published in

2024, Volume: 19, number: 2, article number: e0293588

    UKÄ Subject classification


    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)