Making online education effective and engaging has been a policy priority in the higher education (HE) sector since the COVID-19 pandemic arose in 2020. Based on an online survey and qualitative interviews, we examine experiences of HE students and teachers in Hong Kong, and provide recommendations that can enable countries/economies to leverage on the good practices of online education to rejuvenate HE in the post-COVID era. We find a need for greater institutional support beyond its current availability. Students’ perception of online education is less optimistic than what such labeling as “digital natives” suggests. However, with time, online education is being viewed more positively. Teachers find their online education workload to be higher. More female teachers cite difficulties in balancing work and life, while older teachers report more technological difficulties. Since many respondents come from public affairs programs, which emphasize interaction in the classroom, the findings suggest that a rethinking of pedagogical strategies of public affairs education is required. Copyright © 2022 The Author(s).