Higher Learning Research Communications

Digital Object Identifier






Objectives: The main objective of this study was to explore students’ experiences of the emergency virtual remote teaching, which was implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: 439 students enrolled at a community college in Canada responded to a survey that had Likert-scale and open-ended questions. Anderson’s model for online learning was used as an analytic lens to gain insight on student experiences. Descriptive statistics were used to make meaning of the data. Thematic analysis was done on student responses to open-ended questions.

Results: Findings were organized according to Anderson’s six factors in online teaching, namely: (a) Independent Study; (b) Peer, Family, & Professional Support; (c) Structured Learning Resources; (d) Community of Inquiry; (e) Communication; and (f) Paced, Collaborative Learning. The study revealed both challenges and opportunities that students experienced during their transition to emergency virtual remote learning.

Conclusions: The invitation to students to share what worked—and what didn’t—yielded a wealth of specific suggestions for engaging students, promoting accountability, and supporting collaborative learning.

Implication for Practice: This study looked past anticipated pressure points to reveal critical teaching factors that challenge—or enable—students as they transition to emergency virtual remote teaching. Post-secondary instructors would be well served to consider how they promote self-efficacy, provide access to supports, fashion an online learning environment, develop community, communicate expectations, and encourage collaboration.