1 Superior School of Education from the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu - Centre for Studies in Education and Innovation (PORTUGAL)
2 University of Aveiro - DigiMedia Research Centre (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 5576-5582
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.1135
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
In late January 2021, due to the evolution of the epidemiological situation caused by COVID-19, Portugal was forced to change the measures it had put in motion to fight the disease's spread. One of the measures implemented was the suspension of face-to-face teaching in higher education institutions from January 22nd, which led to the adoption of a complete online teaching regime.

However, since the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year, many higher education institutions have already faced the challenge of ensuring physical distancing in classrooms. Hence, they were forced to adapt the methods used to teach some curricular units to ensure that both the teaching and non-teaching activities and the different assessment periods could happen in a face-to-face learning regime by the accreditation act produced for each course.

Ensuring both entire face-to-face teaching and proper distancing, in total accordance with the DGS standards and guidelines, proved difficult, so some curricular units (especially those with a high number of enrolled students) had to adopt a blended-learning model, where in-person sessions are combined with online sessions. A weekly rotation system among students was established (those who attended face-to-face classes at the institution on a given week would take online classes the following week and vice-versa).

This article reports a situation that occurred in a communication course run at a Portuguese higher education institution. In this particular case, one of the curricular units of the 1st semester of the 1st year had to be taught using a blended-learning regime. Students answered a short questionnaire to provide information about their learning experience. The results obtained are presented in this text. Fifty-seven students, 41 female and 16 male students, took part in the study. Most of them were 18 (n=24) and 19 (n=22) years old. In terms of equipment, the vast majority of the respondents used their laptops (54), and 37 of them stated that they used their Smartphones to access the subject they were attending. For most of them, the balance between face-to-face and online classes was appropriate. They also considered that online teaching is adequate as far as theory classes are considered, although their preference for face-to-face teaching is undeniable. Nevertheless, they claimed they had never felt unmotivated when they had to attend online classes because the technological equipment and the internet connection allowed them to follow the online theory classes without too much trouble. The study also shows that the vast majority of the students could develop practical tasks and install the software required to follow the practical classes without any trouble.

The students also revealed that the teacher's videos and tutorials were essential to perform the tasks remotely. However, if they had the choice, they would rather have all the practical classes in person. As for the forms of communication adopted, the study reveals that the vast majority of the respondents consider that the Moodle Platform was fundamental for the CU's functioning and that the services provided by the Zoom software were suitable for both practical and theory classes. Finally, most students considered that the activities proposed in the CU were adjusted to develop the competencies they were expected to develop.
Higher Education, Students, Higher Education, COVID-19, Portugal.