Transforming a doctoral summer school to an online experience: A response to the COVID‐19 pandemic

Alison Cullinane, Debra McGregor, Sarah Frodsham, Judith Hillier, Liam Guilfoyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

For the last 28 years, one of the leading international science education organisations has regularly provided a week-long summer school experience for doctoral students. In summer 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented international travel and close-contact interactions between scholars. This required the transformation and relocation of learning interactions between mentors and doctoral students online through a virtual week-long summer school. All doctoral participants, from across the five continents, were invited to reflectively comment on their educative experience after the online event. This paper consequently presents the perspectives of these science education PhD students who engaged with the transformed virtual summer school to consider how the range of varied online interactions maintained the learning opportunities for them and enabled their introduction to an established research community. The study indicates how the digital activities facilitated and maintained high-quality learning exchanges through a varied array of intellectual activities involving both experienced and novice scholars. The findings demonstrate how successful academic outcomes can be achieved remotely while minimising international travel and significantly reducing financial outlay. This was achieved through creatively structuring a week-long virtual experience and combining a series of synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for different groupings of participants within the international summer school community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-576
Number of pages19
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • community
  • digital transformation
  • doctoral education
  • science education research
  • summer school education


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