The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Pandemic and Disruption: Opportunities for Learning and Social Transformation

Isabel Abreu dos Santos, MARE.Nova, Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre ULHT, Lusofona University (Portugal)

Albertina Raposo, Polytechnic Institute of Beja (IPBeja) - MARE (Centre of Marine sciences and Environment) (Portugal)

Anabela Durão, Polytechnic Institute of Beja; ICT - Institute of Earth Sciences (Portugal)

Lia Vasconcelos, School of Science and Technology. Nova University of Lisbon, Caparica, Portugal Mare - Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (Portugal)


The societal disruption caused by the presence of the COVID-19 virus that generated a pandemic affecting peoples and social organizations in the world, has created an unprecedented crisis in current generations, “a downward spiral in the world economy” that “caused a huge impact on the higher education system” [1]. Like all crises, it has associated with it the other side of the coin where opportunities are found. Within the teaching environments, the pandemic generated uncertainties and anguish, but also the space for reinvention at the individual and collective levels, in the teachers and in the apprentices’ contexts. The need to continue the teaching activities led to the innovation of this new technological and pedagogical learning beginning with educators, but quickly spread to the entire school community, namely students and families. The school entered each house, overcoming the physical presence, the contact, the sharing of the senses as a whole, making it difficult to transmit knowledge, emotions, smells, touching, seeing life in all its colors. In this paper we present and reflect over the views of Higher Education students in Portugal and discuss some issues that may be behind their feelings. To this end, we conducted an anonymous, online questionnaire to collect perceptions and feelings about emergency remote education in times of pandemic. 41 students from various institutions and geographic locations participated in the study. The results reveal that students value distance learning because they do not spend time in transportation (53.7%), it reduces costs (51.2%), they can combine work and study (46.3%) and they can be at home (comfort) (43.9%). But, many of the respondents express anxiety, anguish, paranoia, stress, suffocation, loneliness, sadness, tiredness, overwork and isolation, with 80.5% revealing that they do not have human contact with colleagues. A substantial amount also points out not to understand the matter taught in the same way, being tired of being in front of the computer and having problems with the internet (these three aspects account with equal representation of 63.4%). The majority of students value online classes using interactive methods (51.2%) with collaborative work being the most valued component (76.2%). Finally, our respondents offer some suggestions to decision makers that should make us reflect on aspects to improve in remote emergency education with a view to better learning and happier students and as advocated by Strielkowski [2], changing the status quo of higher education.

Keywords: collaborative learning, active learning, pandemic, emotions, higher education.


  1. Shazia Rashid and Sunishtha Singh Yadav Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on higher Education and Research, 2020, Indian Journal of Human Development 1–4, SAGE, . DOI: 10.1177/0973703020946700
  2. Wadim Strielkowski, COVID-19 pandemic and the digital revolution in academia and higher education, 2020, doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0290.v1, Preprints (

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