Insights Into Learning and Examination Experience of Higher Education Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic Polona Gradišek and Alenka Polak
Summary: The study process in higher education in Slovenia and worldwide was strongly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which began in the second semester of the 2019/2020 academic year. There was a sudden shift from face-to-face teaching and learning to virtual teaching and learning; this shift was facilitated by various digital platforms such as Moodle, Zoom and MS Teams and exam applications such as Exam.net. The process of student integration was affected, including formal and informal student interactions with peers, formal and informal teacher–student interactions and students’ psychological needs of relatedness, competence and autonomy. In a sample of 110 students of the first year of different study programmes at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Education, we investigated how specific study methods and tasks contributed to the students’ competence development and how demanding they were for the students during the Covid-19 pandemic. We also analysed the students’ perceptions of the online exam process. The results showed a positive contribution of the chosen adapted teaching and learning methods and tasks to the students’ competence development and that the students successfully mastered the new skills related to online exams. Furthermore, various study difficulties and examination challenges were mentioned and analysed. Although online teaching and learning is successful, it cannot replace the face-to-face experience, especially in pedagogical faculties where university teachers are important role models for future teachers.