Digital teaching
Digital teaching. Photo: Clara Fagerlind

Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching (CeUL) is for the second year in a row presenting the results of a survey on online teaching. This year the survey was answered by more than 6,000 students and over 700 teachers at Stockholm University. The distribution among those who responded in terms of gender, age and experience of studies and teaching is basically the same as last year.

The survey shows a number of perceived improvements for students; that fewer students (41 percent) than last year (51 percent) find it difficult to stick to a daily structure that they have set up for their studies; and that fewer students (50 percent) feel hindered in their studies due to the lack of social contact with their classmates and teachers, compared to last year (63 percent). On the other hand, again about a third of the students answer that they experience a lack of opportunities for good ergonomics in their study situation.

More students work in groups or in projects

The answers by students also show other differences in relation to the previous year. This year, more students have worked in groups with projects (58 percent), with group essays or similar (50 percent), compared to last year's 42 percent. Students have also to a much greater extent been asked to answer questions from teachers about the content of the lectures.

 It is positive that it seems that teaching to a greater extent has adapted to the distance based conditions and that teachers have invested in making it easier for students to get to know each other through group work and that they ask questions about the lecture content to create better conditions for student learning, says Klara Bolander Laksov, professor and director of CeUL, who was responsible for the surveys.

When it comes to the question of student motivation, a similar pattern as last year can be discerned, where students start their studies with a high level of motivation that gradually decreases. But this year, the starting level for motivation was higher, at 91 percent at the start of the course, to decrease to 71 percent at the end of the course, which was not quite as drastic as last year.

— This is possibly not an effect of the distance-based teaching, but can be a common pattern on courses and therefore something we should explore further as teachers. For instance through questions in course evaluations teachers can try to find out what positively affects the motivation of their students by trying out different pedagogical approaches and tools, says Bolander Laksov.

The teachers believe that the biggest obstacles to online teaching are the lack of contact with students (70 percent) and with colleagues (53 percent). One third of teachers also highlight shortcomings in ergonomics as an obstacle.

Difficult to find time to integrate digital tools into teaching

During the year, more teachers have done video-recorded lectures, an increase from 24 to 29 percent. Nevertheless, the survey shows that teachers still mainly use the Athena learning platform for formal communication, sharing of links and materials, and for assignments. A quarter of teachers say they have started exploring other features of Athena such as the use of quizzes and discussion forums. They have also increasingly started to use the learning platform for more informal communication, which has increased from 21 to 28 percent. Many teachers, 59 percent, say that they spend more time teaching when it is online than when it is given on campus. Compared to last year's survey, this is a decrease, as 78 percent of teachers gave the same answer. At the same time, more teachers compared to last year express that they feel hindered by their digital competence. And significantly more teachers this year feel hindered by the time it takes to integrate tools into teaching.

Perhaps the past year has meant that many teachers have become more aware, both of the possibilities with digital tools, and of what it takes in terms of digital competence and time to use them in a good way, says Bolander Laksov.

The methods for examinations are largely unchanged since spring semester 2020, with a strong focus on home exams, compulsory parts, active participation and assignments, often in combination with each other.

Klara Bolander Laksov is surprised and believes that it may have to do with the fact that the university only in June 2021 decided to procure Inspera, a more appropriate digital examination system, and that changes may only be expected in the upcoming year.

Education is needed to counteract plagiarism

New questions asked in this year’s survey are about plagiarism and cheating, as the number of cases increased during the year 2020. A quarter of the teachers suspected cheating during examinations. And 12 percent of the students stated that they know someone who has cheated. Teachers believe that the most common reason for cheating is that students do not believe that they will succeed otherwise (71 percent) or that they want to pass without doing any work (65 percent) and 41 percent of teachers believe that both themselves and students need training in how to combat plagiarism.

Collegial conversations crucial for development of teaching

The answers in the survey clearly show that over 80 percent of the teachers think that the collegial discussions about teaching are the most important factor in facilitating their own teaching.

Bolander Laksov emphasizes that it is positive that the teachers express that they have a significant exchange of each other's experiences, but at the same time states that only about a quarter of the teachers actively participate in CeUL's activities, or further train themselves through instructional videos and participation in digital. social teacher networks.

During the year, more and more teachers have become both more confident and more comfortable teaching online (86 percent) and state that they will continue to use digital tools in teaching (81 percent), but most prefer to meet the students physically in the classroom if they can choose (53 percent).

In September, CeUL will send out the survey results departmentally to enable further processing locally at the department. Later this autumn, an in-depth report on the university's teaching will be available online.

If you want to know more about the survey, please contact Klara Bolander Laksov, director of Centre for the Advancement of University Teaching. E-Mail:

Read more

News article about last year's (2020) survey results:
Survey reveals major challenges with online teaching

Reports on last year's (2020) survey on online teaching at Stockholm University:

Bolander Laksov, Klara; Ismayilova, Khayala (2021): Responses to emergency remote teaching at Stockholm University - the teacher perspective. Reports on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Report.

Bolander Laksov, Klara; Ismayilova, Khayala; Curtis, Reed (2021): Responses to emergency remote teaching at Stockholm University - the student perspective. Reports on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Report.