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From Digital Natives to Zoom Graduates? Student Experiences with Distance Learning during Lockdown in Portugal

Published: 13 September 2022
 by  MDPI
 in Youth

Abstract: Public health measures adopted due to the COVID-19 pandemic made emergency remote learning the designated higher education delivery model under lockdowns, causing several transformations in the sector. Based on an online survey of 1009 students aged between 16 and 24 years old during 2021, this article examines the perceptions and experiences of distance education of a cohort dealing with the second lockdown in Portugal. It explores how young people perceived their student lives during the lockdown. More specifically, the study focuses on higher education experience, from learning conditions to pedagogical quality; expectations regarding academic life; and main concerns about academic (and professional) futures due to the lockdown’s effects. The results show that while some students adapted well to remote teaching, stressing its advantages in terms of time management and convenience, the majority disliked it because they had greater difficulty in following classes, not due to material and technical limitations, but rather for lack of socialisation and peer support. We discuss the value of a hidden curriculum for student engagement.
Keywords: student engagement / higher education / emergency remote learning / hidden curriculum / academic transitions

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