STUDENT REACTIONS TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC NEWS BASED ON AN ELECTROENCEPHALOGRAM HEADSET

I. Marin

University Politehnica of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
News, social media, newspapers spread information quickly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and they influence the daily lives of students. As digital technology evolved, students have become accustomed to have access to knowledge via the Internet. The current paper outlines a concept that was created to study the emotions of students as they reacted to messages about COVID-19. An electroencephalogram headset analyses the brainwaves of the user and the created web application analyses the mood, focus, stress, relaxation, engagement, excitement and interest levels as numerical values according to the five channels of the headset. The electrodes of the device touch the user’s head and they monitor the activity of the left and right frontal regions, as well as the temporal lobe. The students provide information about their reactions after reading messages about the pandemic. According to the study, users had higher values for the focus, stress, engagement and interest levels based on electroencephalogram emotion recognition. This is caused by the fact that the students engaged while having access to messages about overflowing morgues, frontline workers and social distancing. The results triggered by the headset had high values even when the students viewed advertisements related to the pandemic. The web application allows the student to provide information about his/her daily activities during lockdown. In this way, significant behaviour changes were observed while staying indoors. Based on the study outcomes, the engagement of students while learning is affected after reading such news. Teachers, professors and students can collaborate and the training process can be adjusted based on the data which was triggered by the headset, as well as the one gathered by the created application. During lockdown, students have found the proposed solution to be useful because their engagement and understanding of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic was closely connected to the instructional design that needed to include notions about the protection measures which had to be ensured during such a difficult period.