Remote Knowledge Acquisition and Assessment During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Sébastien Jacques University of Tours, College of Engineering, GREMAN UMR 7347 (CNRS, INSA Centre Val-de-Loire), France
  • Abdeldjalil Ouahabi University of Tours, College of Engineering, France University of Bouira, LIMPAF, Algeria
  • Thierry Lequeu University of Tours, France



COVID-19, Distance learning, Higher education, Synchronous e-learning, Knowledge acquisition and assessment


On 16 March 2020, as a result of the unprecedented global health crisis linked to the emergence of a new form of coronavirus (COVID-19), the 74 universities of France closed their doors, forcing nearly 1.6 million students, as well as their teachers, to find solutions and initiatives that could ensure continuity in teaching. In the reliance on videoconferencing tools, chat, the sharing of documents/tutorials/videos/podcasts, and the use of social networks, many ideas have emerged, but no consensus has developed nor has a common way of doing things been adopted by a majority of teachers. Some software tools, such as Zoom, have also been questioned over data security issues or excessive intrusion into the student learning process. Nevertheless, in these uncertain times, much had to be done so that students can acquire the requisite knowledge, develop skills, and build on what they have learned. How can we ensure that the learning process is as smooth as possible for everyone involved? How can we evaluate knowledge and skills learned at a distance, and their relevance? Four groups of electronic and electrical engineering students in France were monitored during the containment period in order to provide answers to these questions. Lectures, tutorials, practical work, and projects were carried out using the Microsoft Teams and Zoom video conferencing and chat tools to complement activities made available through the digital work environment. In order to ensure equity among all students, especially in view of the digital divide, open access tools/software/applications have been promoted. In the various surveys completed, the engineering students asserted their complete satisfaction with the learning process, the use of distance tools, and the level of mastery of these tools by their teachers. The results of the various knowledge tests show that, for the same course, distance learning does not reduce the performance of the engineering students. Indeed, they obtained local grades similar to those expected in face-to-face teaching. The results presented in this article are not intended to highlight the virtues of distance education, but rather to open up a debate and reflect more widely on the sustainability of this transformation of education in universities.

Author Biographies

Sébastien Jacques, University of Tours, College of Engineering, GREMAN UMR 7347 (CNRS, INSA Centre Val-de-Loire), France

Sébastien Jacques has been an Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Specialty at the College of Engineering of the University of Tours (France) since 2012. He has also been with the research group on materials, microelectronics, acoustics and nanotechnology (GREMAN UMR 7347, CNRS, INSA Centre Val-de-Loire). His teaching and research activities focus on electronic systems and their reliability dedicated to smart cities. In parallel with all these activities, he is interested in the implementation of innovative teaching methods in universities.

Abdeldjalil Ouahabi, University of Tours, College of Engineering, France University of Bouira, LIMPAF, Algeria

Abdeldjalil Ouahabi is Full Professor at the University of Tours in France. He is currently leading a research team at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bouira in Algeria. His research interests include Image and Signal Processing, Biomedical Engineering and Machine Learning. Prof. Ouahabi is the author of over 170 published papers in these areas and he is a member of the editorial board of several Web of Science journals. He has also served as General Chairman of various international conferences.

Thierry Lequeu, University of Tours, France

Thierry Lequeu has been working at the University of Tours (France) as a Senior Lecturer since 1996. His teaching and research activities are related to the conversion and management of electrical energy. In many power electronics projects, he has focused on the development of electric go-karts as multidisciplinary educational applications.




How to Cite

Jacques, S., Ouahabi, A., & Lequeu, T. (2020). Remote Knowledge Acquisition and Assessment During the COVID-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy (iJEP), 10(6), pp. 120–138.