Online Learning Experiences of Irish University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and the resulting lockdowns have affected nearly every sector of the global economy, and the higher education sector is no exception. Following the closure of campuses on the 12th of March 2020, all teaching in Irish higher education institutions had to be delivered entirely online through to the end of August 2020. Responding to this unique situation, this study investigated 132 full-time Business postgraduate students’ online learning experience in an Irish University. Findings from both quantitative and qualitative data provide insights into what worked, what did not and why. Most students still prefer in-class learning, despite some very positive online learning experiences. They felt that the social aspect and the learning benefits from face-to-face interaction with instructors and peers are not fully replicable in the online learning environment. The findings suggest that the foundation for an effective online learning experience is engagement.
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