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The effects of the COVID-19 lockdown on teaching and engagement in UK business schools

The global outbreak of COVID-19 mandated a rapid shift to online teaching and assessment. We use quantitative and qualitative research to examine how prior online experience, learning during the lockdown, and work engagement impacted upon academics’ views of teaching delivery and assessment during the lockdown. Representative quantitative data from 2,287 business, management and economics academics in the UK shows that: 1. experience of online activity prior to the lockdown is positively related to perceptions of working virtually, though perceptions differed by seniority; 2. experience of online activity during the lockdown does not impact academic’s views of online delivery, but increases positive attitudes to online marking; 3. those able to maintain mental resilience and energy are considerably more likely to perceive online activity positively. Perceived job insecurity affects how academics assess online activity. Academics agree that the amount of work involved in preparing for an online environment is greater than required for face-to-face delivery. Qualitative data shows the impact of the social and individual context of the respondents on wellbeing, job security, engagement and aspirations towards online teaching and learning.


Higher education, global lockdown, online teaching and assessment, work engagement, job insecurity

Published on 4th November 2020
Authors Prof James T Walker, Dr Rita Fontinha, Dr Washika Haak-Saheem, Professor Chris Brewster
Series Reference JHD-2020-05