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Teaching, virtually: a critical reflection

Lisa Powell (Department of Accounting, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)
Nicholas McGuigan (Department of Accounting, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

Accounting Research Journal

ISSN: 1030-9616

Article publication date: 2 December 2020

Issue publication date: 23 August 2021




The purpose of this paper is to present critical educator reflections on the pivot from the traditional physical accounting classroom to the virtual learning environment amidst COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.


This paper outlines the reflexive experiences of two accounting educators on their scholarly journey into virtual learning and their inhabiting of the virtual accounting classroom. We adopt a critical stance in exploring what has been lost and insights gained.


We heed caution in the ongoing reliance on digital technologies and virtual learning that strip accounting education of its richness and complexity. Although the virtual learning environment brings with it benefits of accessibility and flexibility, it fails to replace the complexity of human connection, authenticity and informal spontaneity found in face-to-face learning. We further contend that COVID-19 presents an opportunity to rethink accounting education. We encourage educators to embrace this opportunity as a force for educational transformation; to reimagine an accounting education that embraces change, ambiguity and humanistic qualities such as empathy, compassion and humility.


Our critical educator reflections explore the impact of COVID-19 on the humanistic qualities at the heart of education and on the future of accounting education. This paper contributes to the scholarship of teaching and learning during global pandemics and other crises.



The author wish to acknowledge their students with whom we have shared this journey into the virtual learning environment. We look forward to joining you once again in the physical classroom.


Powell, L. and McGuigan, N. (2021), "Teaching, virtually: a critical reflection", Accounting Research Journal, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 335-344.



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Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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