Purpose: The emergence of COVID-19 and its classification as a pandemic in March 2020 disrupted the higher education sector forcing a pivot to an online setting at short notice. Much was learned during the initial period of crisis and opportunities to implement best practice or even determine what that is continued into the 2020-21 academic year.
This paper details the experiences and perceptions of students participating in an introduction to financial accounting module in a large group setting.
Design/Methodology/Approach: The study adopts a thematic analysis approach (Braun and Clarke, 2006). Independent Student Feedback surveys are examined and coded thematically.
Findings: Recurring themes emerge from this data including the heightened appreciation of course organisation, the reliability of systems and the doubt that disruption can cause, and the transformation of interactions between the student and lecturer.
Practical implications: The findings will aid lecturers to prepare future modules in a way that may mitigate the risk of disruptions that were experienced in this case and incorporate the positive aspects of the student experience going forward. Future hybrid models will require investment in systems that are robust and reliable. Students in the online setting require significant guidance, particularly first year undergraduate students who lack experience of autonomous learning in tertiary education, and any hybrid models that will likely emerge from this crisis should consider the implications of such.