In this paper, four educators teaching undergraduate jewellery design and manufacture recount our adaptations to online learning during the COVID19 lockdown, and how this impacted our ideas about lecture content and delivery. We look at the possibilities for online study in jewellery design in relation to the developments of the fourth industrial revolution, such as blended learning, simulations and computer-aided design and manufacture. We share adaptations that may serve educators in distance or blended learning scenarios. However, the lockdown created difficult learning circumstances in South Africa in which we often ‘lost connection’ due to high data costs and inequalities in students’ living conditions. We discuss problems of student access, staff and student resilience and wellbeing, and how coloniality and technocracy are bound together in 4IR.