Finnish upper secondary school students' experiences with online courses

Liisa Ilomäki, Minna Lakkala, Education in the North

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During 2020, online education has become an alternative way of studying in primary and secondary education in situations in which ordinary contact teaching is not possible. In our study, we investigated upper secondary students’ experiences of virtual online courses in 2018–2019 using a questionnaire and open-ended questions. Students participated in virtual online courses during which they met the teacher and peer students regularly in online sessions and completed individual homework assignments. A private company provided a digital platform, a conferencing tool, and other digital applications. Teachers could tailor the environment and links to the contents and to other digital applications. Students were from one school (Group 1, N=53) and they studied all courses online while their school was being renovated, and Group 2 (N=109) were students studying a subject (mainly language) which was not taught at their own school. The experiences of students in both groups were mainly positive. Students were especially satisfied with the course content and organisation. The lowest scores were in interaction and the support provided for study skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-91
Number of pages19
JournalEducation in the North
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding: This work was supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture (Grant for Developing Teacher Education, 2017).
Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to students and teachers of Digiclasses for participating in the study, and to anonymous reviewers for excellent comments.


  • online education
  • upper secondary
  • student experience
  • digital technology


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