Learning at a distance but not a distance learner: Meeting the needs of a diverse body of students post COVID-19



Digital technology, Online and remote learning, Postgraduate studies.


Researchers have a significant role to play in addressing the challenges that COVID-19 presents for example, to our health, education, psychological, economic and social wellbeing.  The aim of this ongoing PhD study is to learn from the experiences of graduates who completed a PhD on a part-time basis within the university sector in Ireland.  The preliminary research findings shed light on how we might support future generations of researchers, who may not “fit the mold” (Gardner, 2008) of the traditional full-time research student, situated in the academic institution. In line with recent findings from the UK PRES Postgraduate Researcher Experience Survey (Higher Education Academy, 2017), respondents preferred face-to-face contact over interaction through remote or digital communication media.  This article raises the question of how face-to-face and digital technology can complement each other for future learners and what can we (e.g. academic and support staff and postgraduate researchers) learn from our own experiences of learning in a socially distanced climate.

Author Biography

Maeve A O' Regan, Trinity College Dublin

Doctoral candidate in the School of Education Trinity College Dublin






Rapid Responses