Latest article: Adjustments to Pandemic Enforced Constraints: Insights from Postgraduate Students’ and Educators’ Transitions

Nolan, E., Rienties, B., Brady, M., & Heliot, Y. (2022). Adjustments to Pandemic Enforced Constraints: Insights from Postgraduate Students’ and Educators’ Transitions. International Journal of Educational and Life Transitions, 1(1), 3. DOI:


You can listen to Dr Eimear Nolan’s podcast for an introduction to the article.

Transcript of the podcast

The title of our paper is Adjustments to pandemic enforced constraints: Insights from postgraduate students’ and educators’ transitions.

The early stages of the global covid-19 pandemic led to major educational delivery changes for students and educators alike. Once governments announced lockdowns, Universities across the world were forced to rethink their educational delivery methods to ensure that students continued on their educational pathway despite the disruptions. As a result, educators were forced to rapidly shift their in-face lectures to online delivery with little preparation time, and most often, limited knowledge on how to do so effectively. Students were required to study in a new online environment. Our study investigates this panicked transition to online education delivery on a Master’s programme at an Irish University. We investigated the transition journey of both students and educators during the first three months of lockdown. We used Multiple and Multi-dimensional Transition and Self-Regulated Learning perspectives within a two-time interval research design of postgraduate Master students’ and educators’ lived experience at this time.

Our paper describes the transition journey from initial shock and loss to eventual acceptance despite the major challenges in place for students and educators. The findings illustrate a complex narrative for both students and educators as they adjust to a new educational experience.

 We categorised our findings on the student experience into three themes. Theme 1. Like a Zoo – where students longed for face-to face social interaction in the classroom with both their fellow classmates and the educators.  Theme 2. Distracted Teams: New Rules of Engagement for teamwork – where students spoke about the various distractions and expectations when working virtually in teams, and Theme 3. Like Getting Off a Rollercoaster, there was a wide array of emotions that students and educators had to navigate, from fear of the unknown to shock and panic and eventual acceptance.

 For educators, the panic and levelling off occurred in a similar manner to the students once the technology decision was made and work was uploaded onto the VLE successfully. In response to the rapid shift online, educators delivered their courses using various methods, some were asynchronous while others opted to have live synchronous sessions. The level at which this was achieved was largely determined by the educators capability and knowledge of the technology.

The main finding of this study was that both students and educators transitioned rapidly to the new learning environment and both were accepting of the limitations it presented.

As technological adoption continues within HE, research findings of this nature situated during the early stages of the pandemic can inform and guide the next iteration of educational and technological developments.

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