Teaching Matters

PS8 R2 Teaching face-to-face during COVID-19 in Higher Education: Student engagement, lecturer capability and fatigue during a pandemic

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Teaching Matters 2020 | Presentation Details | 2 December 20202 Dec 2020


Teaching face-to-face during COVID-19 in Higher Education: Student engagement, lecturer capability and fatigue during a pandemic


Umar Raza Khan, Australian Maritime College, CoSE



Presentation Type

Showcase Presentation


Room 2




COVID-19 has led to a Higher Education shift to online teaching leveraging learning management systems, multimedia tools, social media apps, and videoconferencing among others (Butler-Henderson & Crawford, 2020; Longhurst et al., 2020; Rajhans et al., 2020). These have offered temporary supplements for traditional practical education. At the Australian Maritime College (AMC), practical seafarer safety and survival short courses were delivered over 1-5-day face-to-face intensives. During the pandemic, these were continued with safety measures of physical distancing, hand hygiene measures, and mask usage implemented. This presentation reports on a synthesis from critical reflections and a literature review of managing on-campus practical learning during COVID-19.

In the reported case with modified face-to-face teaching delivery, student engagement decreased, affecting student-to-teacher and peer-to-peer interactions, and learning equipment usage. Physical distancing and hygiene practices affected students’ ability to physically handle equipment, which affected student sensemaking. Pre-COVID-19, equipment rotations between students were common. Participant number limitations for practical activities also affected students’ collaboration on their construction of knowledge. The lecturer’s capability in delivering the course was affected by fatigue.

The literature on COVID-19 practical teaching is diverse (Butler-Henderson et al., 2020), with the majority of these reporting on digital learning (e.g. Quezada et al., 2020; Wang & DaLaquil, 2020). This presentation seeks to share learnings from teaching on-campus during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The focus is in seeking to understand how connections between student cohorts, who typically work together (e.g. border security staff), can be maintained during physically distanced classrooms.


Butler-Henderson, K., & Crawford, J. (2020). A systematic review of online examinations: A pedagogical innovation for scalable authentication and integrity. Computers & Education. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2020.104024

Butler-Henderson, K., Crawford, J., Rudolph, J., Lalani, K., K. M. Sabu. (2020). COVID-19 in Higher Education Literature Database (CHELD). Version 1. Institute of Research Innovation. https://doi.org/10.37074/jalt.2020.3.2.11d

Longhurst, G., Stone, D., Dulohery, K., Scully, D. Campbell, T., & Smith, C. (2020). Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT) Analysis of the Adaptations to Anatomical Education in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in Response to the Covid‐19 Pandemic. Anatomical Sciences Education, 13(3), 301-311. https://doi.org/10.1002/ase.1967

Quezada, R., Talbot, C., & Quezada-Parker, K. (2020). From bricks and mortar to remote teaching: a teacher education programme’s response to COVID-19. Journal of Education for Teaching. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/02607476.2020.1801330

Rajhans, V., Memon, U., Patil, V., & Goyal, A. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on academic activities and way forward in Indian Optometry. Journal of Optometry. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.optom.2020.06.002

Wang, L., & DeLaquil, T. (2020). The isolation of doctoral education in the times of COVID-19: recommendations for building relationships within person-environment theory. Higher Education Research & Development. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2020.1823326

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