The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to higher education. When utilized correctly, online education can be an efficient way of delivering instruction materials and engaging students from an array of geographical areas with instantaneous communication. Emergency responses taken during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in in-person courses suddenly transitioning to remote courses. To assess this transition, Michigan State University students completing courses within the Department of Animal Science were asked to complete a survey to assess student motivation, focus, and priorities resulting from the transition to emergency remote teaching (ERT). Responses were analyzed using the Proportional Odds Model. Student participation, motivation, and focus were significantly influenced by students’ internet speed during ERT. Students with slower internet speed were more likely to actively participate in ERT courses (P<0.0001). Students with faster internet speeds reported a decrease in focus and motivation (P<0.0001). A shift in students’ priorities was also found. While coursework remained a priority, respondents indicated that coursework was a lower priority after the transition (P<0.0001). Upper-level undergraduates tended to prioritize free time above other activities (P<0.0001). Findings from this study will aid in beneficial preparation should there be continuation of online instruction or future crises.