The current and unexpected health situation caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has brought many changes and obstacles to life. In the field of education, this emergency forced to higher education institutions to rapidly switch to distance learning in March 2020, due to the total confinement of the population in Spain. The main objective of this work was to study the perception of students on online teaching during COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was conducted in 174 students of different levels of health science education. They were enrolled in a Vocational Education and Training (VET) cycle of intermediate level (Emergency Health Care), in a higher-level VET cycle (Pathological Anatomy and Cytodiagnosis, Clinical and Biomedical Laboratory or Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear Medicine), or in a University Degree (Pharmacy). A self-designed anonymous survey was used as measuring tool.

According to the survey, most students enrolled in VET cycles thought that the adaptation to the sudden change of teaching -from face-to-face to digital- was adequate whereas university students considered that the University and its teachers were not prepared for that. More than 70 % of all students coincided that distance learning reduces the quality of teaching and believed that the lack of social interaction is an important inconvenient of this methodology. Its flexibility, comfort and profitability were some of the main advantages indicated by students. Although most learners considered that online marks were similar to those obtained in face-to-face exams, there is an important percentage (39.7 %) that believed that they were higher. Finally, when students were asked about the best teaching-learning modality for the academic year 2020-2021, 48.9 % of them considered that the hybrid one would be the most adequate.

The results indicate that, according to the student’s opinion, the adaptation from face-to-face to remote learning was more adequate in the case of VET than in the University. However, health science students agree in the main benefits and barriers of online teaching. Considering the current health situation, most of them conclude that the best option for the present academic year is a hybrid learning mode.