Universities had to make a seismic shift in teaching models when COVID-19 forced campuses to close as the autumn session was getting started.
Academics were forced to rethink their content and delivery - with mixed results.
Large-scale lectures and intimate tutorials were replaced by Zoom classes and lectures, online forums and peer-led study sessions.
ANU political science lecturer Dr Kim Huynh had never used Zoom before April but managed to adjust his lectures to suit the screen.
He found the class polls and the chat functions to be a boon to the one-to-many lecture format, but said the drawbacks of Zoom outweighed the benefits when it came to tutorials.
"As much as I am for Zoom about lecturing, I don't have any problem saying that the students are getting a lesser product, that their learning has been diminished through this period," Dr Huynh said.
"A lot of what we're doing [in tutorials] is trying to keep in touch with students.
"So we may be breaking up into groups and be with one group, but we're listening to other groups at the same time. And with Zoom breakouts, you can't do that."
ANU English lecturer Dr Millie Weber said it took extra effort to engage with students in the video conferencing format.
"You don't have the sort of the social cues, so you have to put a lot of additional cognitive effort, very deliberate, explicit effort into those things. And I think that that's been really challenging for me," Dr Weber said.
ANU Students Association president and fourth-year economics and international relations student Lachlan Day said the Zoom experience just wasn't the same as face-to-face learning.
"At a certain point, if you're watching Zoom all day for class, then you're zooming your family at the end of the day, the last thing you want to do is log into Zoom again," he said.
"Zoom-fatigue is very much being felt."
He said the university didn't realise how much work it would take to maintain a fully virtual platform. Logistics, like how to account for a student if their internet cut out in the middle of an exam, had no precedent.
He said some students struggled to cope with workloads while studying remotely and others either deferred or had seen marks drop due to stress and anxiety.
"A lot of students are falling through the cracks," he said.
There were some experiences that couldn't be replicated in the online space.
Professor Joseph Hope's undergraduate physics course at ANU had switched to a flipped learning model five years ago.
Long lectures were reworked into information-dense videos for students to watch in their own time. The remaining face-to-face class time would usually be used interacting with experts and working through problems - a process that worked relatively well on Zoom.
Laboratories and workshops posed a real problem during the lockdown. Instead of regular workshops, students were given hands-on tasks they could do at home. The team of physics educators and lab technicians sent out about 120 lab kits.
"We had some people stuck in Europe and some people stuck in China ... we got lab kits to a lot of students," professor Hope said.
"Some of the reports that came back were amazing."
While some academics stuck to their existing slides, others were able to rework their content into a more engaging format.
Dr Nici Sweaney co-convenes a first-year course called Australia's Environment at ANU and changed her course material into documentary-style videos, incorporating interviews, graphics and footage of her local area on the NSW South Coast.
"For years students have stopped engaging in lectures," she said.
"When I watch a documentary or Youtube video, it's never PowerPoint slides."
The jury was out on whether students' results had been affected. Some academics actually reported a lift in semester one results. But there was an acknowledgement the biggest loss for this year's university cohort wasn't the academic side.
"For the first years, more than half the experience is not what they're being taught," Dr Sweaney said.
Mr Day said students were desperately missing the lively atmosphere of campus.
"It's just a very odd situation to think that you have first-years who've been at ANU technically for eight months now, but have never once stepped on campus, never once met someone in any of their classes, let alone in any of their extracurricular activities," he said.
"It's incredibly, incredibly difficult for them."