«The students like me less in digital lectures»

- The teachers’ experiences of teaching in digital learning environments with large groups of students during the COVID-19 pandemic





Teaching, digital learning environments, online teaching, Zoom, black screens, digital apathy, teachers’ experiences


The COVID-19 pandemic actualized teaching in digital learning environments and brought a steep learning curve for teachers in higher education. Several studies focusing on students’ experiences of this period have gradually emerged, but there has been less on how teachers experience digital learning environments. Hence, the purpose of this empirical study was to gain knowledge about how teachers experienced online teaching of large groups during the pandemic. Two group interviews were conducted with experienced teachers. The main finding was that teaching in digital environments leads to a type of digital apathy. The teachers experienced black screens and a lack of response from students, having a negative effect on them. They become tired, demotivated, and drained of energy. They experienced losing their qualities as lecturers, becoming boring, and being less free in what they could say. Breakout groups were easy to manage, but many students would leave when these were introduced. Teaching in digital learning environments seemed to lead to a comfortable distance, which posed a risk for both students and teachers to become resigned. Therefore, this teaching format may be more demanding than teaching in physical environments. The interviews were conducted at a time when teaching in digital learning environments was novel, and the informants’ expectations may have been characterized by traditional teaching. Their experiences may be different in the long run.


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How to Cite

Breiby, M. A., Hauge, Åshild L., Holen, S., & Stølan, T. (2023). «The students like me less in digital lectures»: - The teachers’ experiences of teaching in digital learning environments with large groups of students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Seminar.net, 19(2). https://doi.org/10.7577/seminar.5503