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2020-2021 Research Seminars

Research Seminar Series

Wednesday Research Seminar Series - Environments for teaching and learning: Undergraduate student responses following the closure of campuses in the UAE during the COVID-19 pandemic

Event information

START DATE 17 March 2021


END DATE 17 March 2021

We are pleased to invite you to our Wednesday Research Seminar. It will be held online on 17 March from 4pm via Microsoft team platform. Wednesday Research Seminar Series was launched in 2008 and has featured more than 290 presentations to date. The seminars provide a forum for researchers to share their work. Presenters include faculty from Middlesex University Dubai and other universities in the United Arab Emirates, as well as researchers from other global institutions. Philip will deliver seminar on:      

“Environments for teaching and learning: Undergraduate student responses following the closure of campuses in the UAE during the COVID-19 pandemic”

Philip Anderson          


On March 8th 2020 the Ministry of Education (MoE) closed all schools and universities in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic, and moved all learning online.  This mixed methods action research study explores responses to this change of learning environment from BA Education and Early Childhood Studies students at a UK university in Dubai.  Quantitative data was collected via questionnaires adapted from Noel Entwistle’s (2003) research on student perceptions of learning environments.  Questionnaires were given before and after the four-week period online, allowing students the opportunity to reflect on whether their approaches to, or perceptions of the environment had changed. Weekly focus groups were held to triangulate with the surveys, finding out what pedagogical approaches could be adopted in the future, and also gain insight into perceived feelings of connectedness to the university.  The data found that most students favoured a deep approach to learning, which did not change over the four-week period.  There was strong preference for the traditional didactic lecture format, as opposed to arguably more innovative pedagogical approaches like ‘Flipped Learning’.  This suggests a connectedness to the physical classroom environment and a desire for the subjective norms associated with it.  This paper demonstrates the adaptability of the Education students to the new environment, and while lessons continue to be delivered online, it highlights the need to establish communities and foster a sense of belongingness.


Philip Anderson is lecturer in Education and Early Childhood Studies at Middlesex University Dubai. He holds a Masters in Applied Professional Studies in Education from Sheffield University in the UK, and is very happy to have recently completed the PGCert at Middlesex Dubai.  Philip is a former Head of Performing Arts, and has worked as music teacher in schools in Dubai and London.  He is active in building educational partnerships and has successfully organised an annual “Year in Residence” programme with schools in Dubai.  This research is also going to be presented alongside Dr Dawn England at the Gulf Comparative Education (GCES) Conference on Tuesday 23rd March.

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