bioCEED news

A short survey recap on students’ perceptions on digital teaching at UNIS during spring 2020

As all other mainland universities, UNIS had to shut down in March 2020 and move to online teaching. It forced teachers to change almost all aspects of their teaching, including field work and lab work as well as exams and learning outcomes.

As part of the evaluation of the COVID-19 teaching situation, a student survey was sent out in June to 134 bachelor-, master- and PhD students that had been taking courses at UNIS during the spring period. This was done to evaluate the students’ perception of the digital teaching that they had experienced and to better understand how the situation had influenced their life in general. The response rate was 43% (n=58). In addition to the survey, four COVID-19-related questions were added to six regular student course evaluations (n=57, findings from these specific questions are marked with cursive below).

Some of the main findings are:

Overall perception of digital teaching:

  • Most students felt their teachers did their best during this period (74%).
  • 67% of the students found that it was more difficult to follow the course with digital teaching.

Digital teaching methods:

  • Most students had discussion with teachers through Teams or similar and participated in group discussions (72%).
  • 28% of the students watched recorded lectures from the semester.
  • 12% of the students watched short tutorial videos.
  • Digital field teaching was given to one third of the students.
  • Almost no students (2%) had been involved in digital lab teaching.

Some written suggestions from students to improve the digital teaching:

  • Students should be given specific tasks to prepare for lectures.
  • Make sure students have camera turned on.
  • Use break-out rooms for group discussions to create more student active learning.


  • 51% of the students thought that the online teaching would negatively impact their learning outcomes whereas 14% disagreed on this statement.
  • Over half of the students (66%) found that some of the learning outcomes were cancelled or changed to better meet the learning situation and the assessment whereas 12% disagreed on this matter.
  • Around 60% of the students did not receive any test exam before the exam.
  • 57% ofstudents agreed that it was clear what to expect and how to prepare for the final exam (27 % disagreed).

Student life:

  • Students felt it was difficult to stay motivated (72%) and focused (60%) with home office.
  • Students felt a lack of interaction with other students (72%).
  • For many students it was difficult to structure workflow from home (67%).

The UNIS survey was partly based on the questionnaire that was sent out from bioCEED to students at BIO in Bergen in April 2020. For a recap of the results from the BIO survey from a previously posted item please have a closer look here: Students experience with the sudden shift to digital teaching.



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