Student Experience of Learning, Assessment and Support during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Creating a New Reality Phase One Report

Eunice Lumsden, David Meechan*, Tanya Richardson, Sharon Smith, Michelle Bugby, Claire Dugan-Clements, Peter Goy, Devon Rossetti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/ReportTechnical Report


March 2020 saw the start of a pandemic in England which has impacted on every
part of society. In Higher Education online teaching, meetings and engagement
with students and colleagues became the norm. All face to face teaching was
suspended at 5pm on Friday 20th March 2020.
Since 2014 the University of Northampton has been moving towards its current
institutional approach to learning and teaching: Active Blended Learning. This
approach has eased the transition to online learning and provided a firm
foundation on which to build (JISC, 2020). However, translating this into online
teaching was new for us all and capturing academic and student experience
within the Early Years subject area was crucial to shape teaching in the
forthcoming academic year and beyond.
This report presents the findings from phase one of the research. They suggest
that students missed the opportunities afforded them by face to face, campusbased sessions. Long sessions were difficult for both students and academics.
Whilst the majority had appropriate technologies for online learning, this was not
the case for all. In fact, academic staff also faced internet challenges which could
impact on the students learning experiences. The key recommendations of this
report are a focus on the basics of ensuring accessibility, developing student’s
skills and familiarity in using the online tools and continuing to match the supper
supportive environment provided face to face through online alternatives.
The student voice and lecturers’ experience enabled the team to reflect and
innovate for the new academic year and develop a flexible working module that
would support online or face to face teaching. Shorter whole group sessions,
small group work, tutorials and bespoke support, where necessary is now
embedded and constantly reviewed. This ensures the model adapts to the
continual shifting landscape that we current find ourselves in within Higher
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


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