Rapid migration from traditional or hybrid to fully virtual education in the age of the coronavirus Pandemic: Challenges, Experiences and Views of College and University Students

Margaret Ross

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

    Abstract

    The abrupt outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic throughout the world in March 2020 resulted in the sudden closure of all schools, colleges and universities, institutions, and an unprecedented pivot to remote learning. Students and teachers were confronted with the overwhelming challenge of migrating from the traditional face-to-face or hybrid mode of education to fully virtual learning and assessment environments within an extremely short amount of time. This migration was exceptionally difficult, as it took place halfway through the academic or school year in most countries. While pandemic restrictions currently vary across different regions, the 2020-2021 academic session continues to pose challenges despite the experience gained. In addition to a review of the current state-of-the-art in relation to the effects of COVID-19 on teaching and learning, this paper reports on an empirical study carried out in 26 countries (from Asia, Europe, Africa, and America), by 36 academics from 29 academic institutions. Through an extensive global survey of college and university students, information was collected about the challenges (technological, economic, psychological) faced by them, as a result of the pandemic. We also asked the students to offer their ideas and suggestions for further improvements in teaching and learning, as we look toward a post-COVID-19 world.

    In this paper, we address issues relating to the availability of, and accessibility to, necessary digital technologies (e.g., learning and communication platforms), isolation, disconnection, and loneliness among students, the overall impact of the pandemic on learning and academic performance, and the reliability of assessment methods, cybercrime dangers and fake information. A total of 1005 responses to the survey were received and analysed. The results are presented in this paper together with reflections of the authors. The paper concludes with a summary of suggestions for process improvements in distance education, and the need for preventive preparedness in the post-COVID period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDelivering Global Education and Impact in Emergencies Using E-Learning
    Subtitle of host publicationINSPIRE XXVI
    EditorsJ. Uhomoibhi, P. Linecar, P. Marchbank, Margaret Ross, G. Staples
    Place of PublicationSouthampton
    PublisherSolent University
    Pages433-542
    ISBN (Print)978-1-9996549-5-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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