While accessing pre-recorded lectures, students have been finding it hard to find a quiet space in their homes and are struggling to keep their focus on the tasks.
A second-year student from the University of Canterbury said it was hard to stay motivated.
She said the lack of certianty about the future made it difficult to focus.
The university was communicating via weekly emails, but they contained little to no information. Students felt "left in the dark", she said.
Individual lecturers had been supportive and generous with extensions, however.
University of Canterbury criminal justice student Libby Colyer said online learning had been a good experience, but had changed her day-to-day routine.
Colyer said she had become used online lectures, which she could pause to consider questions and ideas. Going back to face-to-face learning would increase stress and anxiety levels.
She said people would notice interruptions in lectures, someone coughing for example.
"Coughing in lectures will definitely make people anxious. Also with the lecturers talking fast, it's going to be stressful writing down all the notes," Colyer said.
University of Canterbury lecturer Phillip Borell believed his class had coped well considering the circumstances.
Of 108 students, only five had missed the first deadline. Engagement in terms of accessing course work outside lecture times had dropped, however.
Borell said he preferred doing pre-recorded lectures to live teaching through video conferencing.
"Students with their microphones muted, not knowing if they should talk or not, I find that it really impacts on their engagement," he said.
At this stage, Borell’s class would not be back on campus until the second semester. They would continue online learning for another three weeks.