This study compares and contrasts teachers' and students' perceptions of online teaching and learning during the COVID-pandemic in higher education using the co-orientation model. Data were collected from 145 students and 31 teachers in two Hong Kong higher education institutions. The findings show that teachers were generally more negative about online teaching and learning than students, but such negative views should be reconsidered as students positively evaluated teachers' efforts to various degrees. It is suggested that during future online learning experiences (1) teachers and students set up expectations together to evaluate online interactions, (2) teachers should not be overly concerned about the potential embarrassment of using camera for class activities, and (3) teachers pay more attention to feedback delivery. Understanding these gaps will provide teachers with insights into more strategic communication and planning to manage the expectations and optimise the online experience for both parties. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier.