Policy concern about university students’ online professionalism in the post-pandemic era in UK context

Xianghan O'Dea, Xue Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The extensive and intensive online teaching and learning during the pandemic has provided good opportunities for academic staff and students to experiment with learning and teaching using synchronous communication technology and learning platforms. This experience is highly valuable for helping higher education institutions move learning and teaching practices forward after the pandemic. Indeed, many universities are considering adopting blended learning in the new era. However, it is worth noting that a number of emerging issues related to student behaviour also appeared during online learning, such as teaching to blank screens, students’ inappropriate use of social media icons, languages and their inappropriate outfits. It appears that these issues have not yet been investigated properly, and are not addressed by the existing codes of conduct, since these have been written mainly for face-to-face teaching. This study offers some important insights into students’ unprofessional online behaviour from tutors’ perspective, and also the experiences of academic tutors in managing such behaviour in formal online learning and teaching environments. It used semi-structured interviews to collect data, and analysed the narratives of 20 academic staff working in UK universities. The findings report and describe students’ unprofessional online behaviours witnessed by academic tutors in different academic disciplines. The findings also suggest that special attention needs to be paid to policymaking regarding online learning, in particular, in the area of students’ online professionalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-386
Number of pages15
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number4
Early online date17 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023
Externally publishedYes


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