The University of Iceland: Shifting Learning and Research in Time of Covid-19

Lára Jóhannsdóttir*, Throstur Olaf Sigurjonsson, Svala Gudmundsdottir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The COVID-19 epidemic that began early 2020 had a wide-ranging effect on the world, including Iceland. The education system was among the sectors that were significantly affected, globally and locally, by the epidemic. This chapter aims to explore the impact of the outbreak on University of Iceland (UI), which is by far the largest university in Iceland, and how it reacted and adapted to the ongoing situation. A content analysis was conducted to analyse more than 80 announcements sent from the University’s Rector to various stakeholders, mainly students and staff. Additionally, the content of 16 news articles describing UI’s projects, societal support, and COVID-19-related research was analysed. From this analysis several key teams emerged. These are transparency and communication, working during COVID-19, teaching and learning during COVID-19, and research during COVID-19. The last three themes associate closely with the core roles of universities. The results of the study have significance for the Icelandic education system and school authorities, as well as for schools and school authorities elsewhere in the world. In addition, it is essential to map universities’ response to an epidemic, whether in Iceland or elsewhere, and draw lessons from the responses to the situation if they need to deal with shocks of this nature in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCross-Driven Institutional Resilience : Case Studies of Good Governance in Europe during the Covid-19 Pandemic
EditorsThrostur Olaf Sigurjonsson, José M. Ruano, Alina Georgiana Profiroiu, Saule Maciukaite-Zviniene, Kosjenka Dumančić
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)9783031318825, 9783031318856
ISBN (Electronic)9783031318832
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Governance
  • Epidemic
  • Pandemic
  • Resilience
  • Crisis
  • Europe
  • Iceland

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