Emergency remote online teaching was introduced in response to national lockdowns aimed at slowing down the rate of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Little is known about how postgraduate research students maintained scholarly relationships with their peers without the physical interaction and social relational contexts of the university research-learning environment. The study contributes to knowledge on PG students experiences of digital spaces of learning. This qualitative interpretivist study used a purposive sample of nine students representing a range of practitioner experience, contexts, disciplinary backgrounds, and research experiences. The data sets were analysed using a mix of inductive coding and the constant comparative method to construct categories or themes that captured the recurring patterns. Comparisons between individuals built a multi-perspective view that informed the findings shared in the paper. Results show that a powerful transformative digital space of learning created the conditions in which individuals experienced perspective transformation, an evolving PG student researcher identity and a community of practice where individuals can voice their fears and concerns regarding their digital and ‘real world’ knowledge and competence in conducting practitioner-focused research projects, that has continued to operate - post lockdown and into the ‘new normal’.
Keywords: Transformation, Identity, Digital, Community of Practice