Enthusiasm, Frustration and Exhaustion: Staff Perceptions of Student Engagement Through the Pandemic



The move to online and blended learning caused by the Covid-19 pandemic brought about sudden, rapid, and ongoing change to learning and teaching practices in Higher Education. The paper discusses the findings of a research project, led by academic developers, which used a storyboard methodology to follow the experience of staff through the Autumn 2020 semester. Despite initial enthusiasm for teaching in new ways, staff increasingly became frustrated with teaching online and perceived issues with student engagement and interaction. By the end of the semester staff were exhausted by the process. Our findings raise questions about the future of teaching (as opposed to the facilitation of learning) the purpose of Higher Education now and in the future, and the role of student power and voice in that future.


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Author Biographies

Tom Cunningham, Glasgow Caledonian University

Tom Cunningham is a Senior Lecturer in Academic Development at Glasgow Caledonian University. He is the Programme Leader for the Advance HE accredited Accelerate Programme, and a tutor on the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice. He has interests in assessment and feedback, storytelling and the role of Academic Development.

Catriona Cunningham, Edinburgh Napier University

Catriona Cunningham is a Professor and heads up the Department of Learning & Teaching Enhancement at the University of Edinburgh Napier in Scotland. She is passionate about higher education and is particularly interested in interculturalism in HE, student engagement, and academic identities.


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How to Cite

Cunningham, T., & Cunningham, C. (2023). Enthusiasm, Frustration and Exhaustion: Staff Perceptions of Student Engagement Through the Pandemic. Student Engagement in Higher Education Journal, 4(3), 122–135. Retrieved from https://sehej.raise-network.com/raise/article/view/1176



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