Special Issue "Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Technology Enhanced Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Palitha Edirisingha
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Education, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK
Interests: technology-enhanced learning; digital literacy; digital divide; international education; learning design

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

The rapid spread of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19) has changed all aspects of life including formal education all over the world. As Covid-19 became a pandemic, many countries began to introduce various lockdown and social distancing measures, with schools and universities having to close their campuses. Teachers and school leaders had limited time to prepare for remote online teaching. These unprecedented developments provide a useful context for researchers, practitioners and policy makers to examine how teachers, students and parents respond to a public health emergency and overcome barriers to education.

The purpose of this special issue is to report empirical and theoretical work on the use of online / distance / remote and blended teaching and learning methods in all levels of educational contexts during these unprecedented times. In this special issue, we are interested in contributions that explore how remote teaching and learning methods might have helped teachers, educational leaders and policy makers to develop innovative ways of delivering lessons, managing educational institutions; how students engage with learning and study activities; and how parents support their children’s learning during the pandemic (covering the whole of the year 2020). We are interested in papers that report not only primary data, but also work based on secondary data analyses and systematic reviews of published work. We are also interested in position papers that looks into how educational institutions might need to rethink their teaching and learning provision as we learn to live with health and other emergencies such as Covid-19.

The knowledge that we gain from exploring the developments of teaching and learning approaches in many countries and educational contexts in response to the pandemic would be useful for all stake holders in education to reconsider the future of education, to meet the challenges in the months, and possibly, years to come.

Following is a short list of themes that the special issue is interested in:

  1. The different pedagogical approaches that have emerged as a result of teachers’ rapid adaptation of online methods for their teaching
  2. The challenges faced by school and university leaders in moving to online teaching and management of school work
  3. Technological developments that help teachers and students to continue their teaching and learning
  4. Students’ engagement with online delivery of teaching, strategies that they develop to learn from home while in lock down conditions
  5. Parents’ involvement in their children’s learning
  6. Methodological approaches used in researching this unprecedented phenomenon of learning online in lockdown conditions
  7. Digital literacy skills and teachers’ professional development
  8. Rapid approaches to design for online learning
  9. Online assessment methods
  10. Learning opportunities provided and emerged in the nonformal education sector to cope with lockdown conditions.

The contributions could be based on one or mixture of methods:

  1. Primary data (using online or face to face methods) collected from teachers, students, parents, and learning technology professionals
  2. Secondary data such as documents including publicly accessible videos created by teachers on showing their online teaching methods, blog posts written by teachers, and other documents available on the internet relevant to the research topic.
  3. Theoretical discussions
  4. Reports on technological and pedagogical developments

Dr. Palitha Edirisingha
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ICT
  • Distance learning
  • Online learning
  • Technology-Enhanced Learning,
  • Covid-19
  • Teacher professional development
  • Remote learning
  • Teaching and learning in emergencies

Published Papers (25 papers)

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Article
Technology as Thirdspace: Teachers in Scottish Schools Engaging with and Being Challenged by Digital Technology in First COVID-19 Lockdown
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030136 - 21 Mar 2021
Viewed by 863
Abstract
This paper looks at the impact of digital technology on teaching and learning in primary schools in Scotland during the first COVID-19 lockdown from March to June 2020. The pandemic has challenged our understanding of schooling as, for the first time in many [...] Read more.
This paper looks at the impact of digital technology on teaching and learning in primary schools in Scotland during the first COVID-19 lockdown from March to June 2020. The pandemic has challenged our understanding of schooling as, for the first time in many years, schools as we know them were shut and the school building was removed as the site of teaching and learning. This paper uses the concept of Thirdspace as developed by Edward Soja (1996), where Thirdspace is understood as an in-between space between binaries that enables the possibility to think and act otherwise. Drawing from qualitative data from interviews with primary school teachers, this paper explores how the lockdown in general, and digital technology in particular, facilitated a Thirdspace in the first COVID-19 lockdown. Findings from the study indicate that engaging with digital technology offers the teacher more possibilities than they have come to expect in the physical space of traditional schooling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Article
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Teaching Mathematics and Students’ Knowledge, Skills, and Grades
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11050225 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 902
Abstract
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to secure public health, many processes have moved to the online space. The educational process is not an exception. Our main goal, which is presented in this article, was to re-design the educational process [...] Read more.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to secure public health, many processes have moved to the online space. The educational process is not an exception. Our main goal, which is presented in this article, was to re-design the educational process from face-to-face to distance learning in the Mathematics 1 course at the Technical University of Košice. This article describes our approach to teaching, observations, and experience. This case study examines three factors: Firstly, the impact of distance education on overall assessments of students. Using descriptive statistics, the results of student evaluations were compared from the overall assessments for the last six academic years. It was found that distance learning does not affect excellent students and eliminates the number of students who do not pass. Secondly, the participation of students during online lessons, and thirdly, the use of electronic materials. The questionnaire survey and the data from the learning management system Moodle were used to examine the second and third factors. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the questionnaire survey data (frequencies, percentages and averages). An exploratory factor analysis was performed in order to assess the underlying key concepts regarding student evaluation of the teaching process. The exploratory factor analysis confirmed that this questionnaire followed the four key concepts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Lecturer Readiness for Online Classes during the Pandemic: A Survey Research
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030139 - 22 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1331
Abstract
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most educational institutions across the world have shifted their teaching and learning processes and put efforts into preparing online distance education to ensure education continues uninterrupted. Some did not face difficult tasks or challenges during this process because [...] Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most educational institutions across the world have shifted their teaching and learning processes and put efforts into preparing online distance education to ensure education continues uninterrupted. Some did not face difficult tasks or challenges during this process because they were already implementing online or blended learning before the pandemic. However, some institutions, lecturers and students were not ready to adapt to the conditions, and it is therefore important to examine to what extent lecturers are ready to teach online. This research aims to evaluate the readiness of lecturers during a pandemic that arises unexpectedly. It also aims to investigate the weaknesses and obstacles that lecturers must overcome in order to teach an online class. This research applies a mixed-method approach. Lecturers were surveyed through online preparedness questionnaires, and several themes were constructed from the gathered qualitative data. The results show that lecturers have strong baseline technical skills to use e-learning platforms for online courses; they have quickly adapted to using a Learning Management System (LMS), and most have a tactical solution for most online classes with insufficient feasibility, but they do not have a strategic solution. Their sufficiency for teaching online courses was not optimised since they did not fully believe the learning goals could be achieved. This paper elaborates on the theoretical and practical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Distance Learning in the COVID-19 Era: Perceptions in Southern Italy
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(12), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10120355 - 27 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2163
Abstract
The first case of pneumonia was reported on 8 December 2019 and identified on 7 January 2020 as COVID-19. On 9 March 2020, to stop the spread of COVID-19 cases, the Italian government declared a health emergency, forcing all citizens to go into [...] Read more.
The first case of pneumonia was reported on 8 December 2019 and identified on 7 January 2020 as COVID-19. On 9 March 2020, to stop the spread of COVID-19 cases, the Italian government declared a health emergency, forcing all citizens to go into lockdown. Suddenly, schools were constrained to using distance learning strategies with little or limited experience on the topic. Particularly, in the southern regions of Italy, approximately 20% of the students did not have access to any devices and were excluded from learning, producing a direct risk of increased adolescent delinquency. This research team intended to report the results of an observational study that focused on the perceptions of distance learning in adolescents from secondary school in Naples (Italy) between April and May 2020. The questionnaire comprised 11 questions focused on the perceptions of distance learning in comparison to live classrooms, relationships with peers and teachers, and levels of anxiety. The study is amongst the first to report the effect of the pandemic from a student-centred perspective and hopes to produce information to develop future research on asynchronous learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Instructional Planning Modifications to Meet Social Distancing Requirements: Secondary and Post-Secondary Options
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11050217 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Secondary and post-secondary science and engineering educators share common class arrangements with both a laboratory and lecture component, coordinating both components so they build upon each other to create meaningful learning experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic forced educators to convert lectures and exams to [...] Read more.
Secondary and post-secondary science and engineering educators share common class arrangements with both a laboratory and lecture component, coordinating both components so they build upon each other to create meaningful learning experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic forced educators to convert lectures and exams to online delivery. Doing so came with trade-off decisions about sacrificing laboratory experience goals of hands-on practice, problem-solving, and learning concepts at a deeper, tactile level. Due to rapidly changing conditions, educators faced course redesign to accommodate social distancing and virtual learning requirements. In this study, a team of undergraduate college students including one secondary science preservice teacher planned a set of lessons for STEM outreach to a K–12 audience. The team faced challenges in planning meaningful learning experiences in the face of COVID-19 uncertainty. Options for secondary and post-secondary educators to consider are provided in this article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Article
Teaching during COVID-19: The Decisions Made in Teaching
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020047 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2433
Abstract
The emergency caused by COVID-19 and the transition to distance learning has made teachers face novel decision-making situations. As the teachers’ pedagogical decisions have an impact on the students’ learning experience, the aim of this study was to describe and explain what influenced [...] Read more.
The emergency caused by COVID-19 and the transition to distance learning has made teachers face novel decision-making situations. As the teachers’ pedagogical decisions have an impact on the students’ learning experience, the aim of this study was to describe and explain what influenced the teachers’ teaching-related decisions and how these decisions were reflected in the teaching process during distance learning. The study was based on semi-structured interviews with 16 Estonian basic school science teachers. The data were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis. The results show that teachers’ teaching-related decisions were influenced by factors that were related to the existence of digital tools as well as to the ability to use them purposefully in the home settings of teachers and students. Teachers’ teaching decisions were mostly motivated by short-term goals, such as maintaining students’ social interaction and supporting student motivation. The desire of teachers to keep students’ and teachers’ own workload affordable was also considered as a factor influencing teachers’ teaching-related decisions. According to the interviews, the switch of focus to workload and well-being and valuing socialization and student motivation over subject matter competences seems to be unique for this new situation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Article
COVID-19 School Closure-Related Changes to the Professional Life of a K–12 Teacher
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(6), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10060165 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 12080
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic forced K–12 school closures in spring 2020 to protect the well-being of society. The unplanned and unprecedented disruption to education changed the work of many teachers suddenly, and in many aspects. This case study examines the COVID-19 school closure-related changes [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced K–12 school closures in spring 2020 to protect the well-being of society. The unplanned and unprecedented disruption to education changed the work of many teachers suddenly, and in many aspects. This case study examines the COVID-19 school closure-related changes to the professional life of a secondary school teacher in rural Alaska (United States), who had to teach his students online. A descriptive and explanatory single case study methodology was used to describe subsequent impacts on instructional practices and workload. Qualitative and quantitative data sources include participant observations, semi-structured interviews, artifacts (e.g., lesson plans, schedules, online time), and open-ended conversations. The results of this study demonstrate an increase and change in workload for the teacher and that online education can support learning for many students but needs to be carefully designed and individualized to not deepen inequality and social divides. The forced move to online learning may have been the catalyst to create a new, more effective hybrid model of educating students in the future. Not one single model for online learning will provide equitable educational opportunities for all and virtual learning cannot be seen as a cheap fix for the ongoing financial crisis in funding education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Parental Involvement during Pandemic Times: Challenges and Opportunities
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060302 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 532
Abstract
Due to COVID-19, many countries implemented emergency plans, such as lockdown and school closures. This new situation has significantly affected families, namely, the involvement required to support children’s learning at home. The current study aimed to analyze Portuguese parents’ perceptions of their home-based [...] Read more.
Due to COVID-19, many countries implemented emergency plans, such as lockdown and school closures. This new situation has significantly affected families, namely, the involvement required to support children’s learning at home. The current study aimed to analyze Portuguese parents’ perceptions of their home-based parental involvement in their children’s learning during the lockdown and school closures in 2020 due to COVID-19. An online survey, using a closed-ended questionnaire, was employed. Variables included parents’ sociodemographic and COVID-19 related characteristics; students’ sociodemographic characteristics; distance learning context; parental involvement; and students’ autonomy. Data were collected from a sample of 21,333 parents with children from elementary school to secondary education, and statistical data analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics 26. Findings revealed that Portuguese parents supported their children during the pandemic mainly through the monitoring of attention in classes and task realization. However, several variables appear to significantly determine parental involvement time, which is higher when students attend public schools, when they are less autonomous and younger, when parents’ level of education is lower, when the child is a boy (except in secondary education where gender is not relevant), and when the online school time is higher. Findings highlight the need for a significant investment of time from parents, particularly of primary school children, making it difficult to cohere work or telework with school activities. Implications for policies, schools, families are discussed in order to promote children’s learning and success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
#Mathathome during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring and Reimagining Resources and Social Supports for Parents
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020060 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools abruptly transitioned to emergency remote instruction. Consequently, expectations for parental involvement in school mathematics rose to unprecedented levels. We sought to understand the experiences of parents to reimagine possibilities for engagement in mathematics during and beyond the pandemic. [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, schools abruptly transitioned to emergency remote instruction. Consequently, expectations for parental involvement in school mathematics rose to unprecedented levels. We sought to understand the experiences of parents to reimagine possibilities for engagement in mathematics during and beyond the pandemic. Leveraging data from tweets using #mathathome and survey responses from parents, we identified who supported continued mathematics learning at home and explored the nature of the mathematics taught there. We found that Twitter and survey data sources described two largely distinct groups of those supporting parents to continue mathematics education at home, but similar findings emerged from analyses of each data source, suggesting that themes were common among different groups. Namely, we saw a commitment to continued mathematics learning and engagement with a range of mathematics topics. These topics mostly focused on elementary-level content, especially counting, through everyday activities/objects and mathematical sense-making. Most parents used resources provided by the school alongside resources they identified and provided on their own. School responses to emergency remote instruction were mostly asynchronous, and parents expressed a need for more opportunities to interact directly with their children’s teachers. We discuss what the mathematics education community might learn from these experiences to support parental engagement during and beyond periods of remote emergency instruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Face-to-Face vs. E-Learning Models in the COVID-19 Era: Survey Research in a Spanish University
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060293 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 464
Abstract
This study shows the results of an autobiographical questionnaire of Spanish university students regarding two different educational models caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: face-to-face and e-learning. The aim is to discover their perceptions and opinions about their experiences during the learning process and [...] Read more.
This study shows the results of an autobiographical questionnaire of Spanish university students regarding two different educational models caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: face-to-face and e-learning. The aim is to discover their perceptions and opinions about their experiences during the learning process and what they have experienced during this global emergency and period of home confinement. The sample is made up of 100 students from the Primary Education Degree programme and the research was carried out through a qualitative study of the questionnaire. The results, divided into categories of each educational model, show the interpretation that the students make of the current reality and their own learning process. The most important aspect of the face-to-face learning model, according to 75% of the students, is direct communication with the teacher, and for 88% of them this model was effective. For the e-learning model, the flexible schedule, the economic savings and explanatory videos are the relevant ideas that the students express, with 68% stating that it was an effective model. The main conclusion is that the students prefer to continue with the face-to-face learning process (49%) rather than online teaching (7%) or, failing that, mixed or blended learning (44%), where the theoretical classes could be online and the practical classes could be face-to-face. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Experiences from COVID-19 and Emergency Remote Teaching for Entrepreneurship Education in Engineering Programmes
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060282 - 07 Jun 2021
Viewed by 629
Abstract
Education systems and institutions, often historically considered to be resolute, slow-moving entities transformed virtually overnight during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating nimbleness in adversity. This paper describes the first-hand experiences of teaching staff and students from a UK university which [...] Read more.
Education systems and institutions, often historically considered to be resolute, slow-moving entities transformed virtually overnight during the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating nimbleness in adversity. This paper describes the first-hand experiences of teaching staff and students from a UK university which pivoted to emergency remote teaching for a core second-year module in engineering, focused on entrepreneurship. A range of methods are used including self-reflection, summative, formative, and focus-group student feedback. The paper provides an insight for readers who may be interested in the practical challenges associated with moving from an academic module typically delivered in a face-to-face learning environment accommodating a large student cohort (n = 177), to one that exists entirely in the digital domain. Our results show learning outcomes were fully met despite stark differences in quality of learning environments amongst students. Students reported benefits to remote learning because it offers a blended approach of both asynchronous content and synchronous sessions, with the latter enhancing engagement and providing structure to working weeks. Issues of presence emerged amongst group work: whilst it might be easier to confront some individuals for lack of contribution, it is also easier for those individuals to disengage. There was widespread support for the Microsoft Teams platform amongst students and staff but the former group reported this lacked a social environment in which relationships amongst team members could be nurtured informally, such as was experienced via social media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Local and External Stakeholders Affecting Educational Change during the Coronavirus Pandemic: A Study of Facebook Messages in Estonia
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030113 - 10 Mar 2021
Viewed by 614
Abstract
Education worldwide was affected by the coronavirus pandemic when many countries, including Estonia, had to switch to distance learning. It was an unexpected change in education and required a response from relevant stakeholders. This study aims to understand the activities of different stakeholders [...] Read more.
Education worldwide was affected by the coronavirus pandemic when many countries, including Estonia, had to switch to distance learning. It was an unexpected change in education and required a response from relevant stakeholders. This study aims to understand the activities of different stakeholders as revealed in the messages of the Facebook group ‘Homeschooling with technology’ from 6 March to 26 April 2020. A mixed method study design was used, including quantitative and qualitative content analysis of 872 messages posted by members of the Facebook group, which were divided into eight role groups. Teachers, educational technologists, principals and parents represented local stakeholders while external stakeholders included members from government institutions, supporters, teacher educators and members with other roles. The analysis covered activeness of each role group, emotional expressions, speech acts and topics represented in messages. The results indicate that educational technologists played a key role in handling the coronavirus pandemic situation in education. However, local stakeholders also received support from external stakeholders. The results help capture the roles, experiences and views of different stakeholders during the educational change caused by the coronavirus pandemic in order to learn from this and to be prepared for such situations in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Some Web-Based Experiences from Flipped Classroom Techniques in AEC Modules during the COVID-19 Lockdown
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11050211 - 29 Apr 2021
Viewed by 588
Abstract
The classroom closure during the first semester of 2020 entailed decisive changes in higher education. Universities have become more digital in both the availability of e-resources and pervasive devices and how students communicate with lecturers and classmates. Learners adapted their study habits with [...] Read more.
The classroom closure during the first semester of 2020 entailed decisive changes in higher education. Universities have become more digital in both the availability of e-resources and pervasive devices and how students communicate with lecturers and classmates. Learners adapted their study habits with a growing role of self-paced, internet-based strategies. Some flipped learning approaches have proven their efficacy under the remote-teaching physical constraints. This study aimed to appraise the outcomes from the implementation of various web-based, learning-aid tools on flipped teaching approaches in engineering modules. The open educational resources (OER) performed satisfactorily during the lockdown period in three universities from two countries with similar higher education models. Such resources encompassed classroom response systems and web-based exercise repositories, designed for diverse purposes such as autonomous learning, self-correction, flipped classroom, peer assessment, and guided study. The acquired experiences reveal that OER helped students to enhance their engagement, reach the deeper levels of the cone of learning, and widen their range of learning abilities. This procedure is easily attainable for architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) courses and lifelong learning settings. Feedback from students, instructors’ perceptions, and learning outcomes show the suitability and effectiveness of the web-based learning assistant procedure presented here. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Assessing Undergraduate Students’ e-Learning Competencies: A Case Study of Higher Education Context in Indonesia
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11040189 - 19 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic that occurred in early 2020 around the world has implications for Indonesia’s education sector. This pandemic led to the Indonesian government policy to study from home at all academic levels using a distance learning approach. Studies on e-learning preparedness in [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic that occurred in early 2020 around the world has implications for Indonesia’s education sector. This pandemic led to the Indonesian government policy to study from home at all academic levels using a distance learning approach. Studies on e-learning preparedness in Indonesia involving more comprehensive samples of universities during the pandemic are still limited. This study extended samples from several public and private universities in Indonesia to get a broader picture of e-learning readiness in various faculties with diverse university online learning cultures. This study used Rasch analysis to determine the validity and reliability of the instrument and differential item functioning (DIF) analysis to identify responses based on students’ demographic profiles. The results show that most students were ready to study online, but a few were not ready. Moreover, the results show significant differences in students’ e-learning readiness based on the academic year at university, the field of study, the level of organizational e-learning culture of the university, gender, and region. This work provides an insight into student readiness to study online, especially in higher education in Indonesia. The article presents the implications of online learning practices in universities and recommendations for future e-learning research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
COVID-19 Lockdown Education: The Importance of Structure in a Suddenly Changed Learning Environment
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11050221 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 618
Abstract
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, which resulted in global lockdowns. As a result, education could no longer be provided in its current form and was therefore provided online. This study discusses the consequences of online instruction in secondary education and how [...] Read more.
In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, which resulted in global lockdowns. As a result, education could no longer be provided in its current form and was therefore provided online. This study discusses the consequences of online instruction in secondary education and how students perceived this new way of learning. Specifically, this research focuses on how online education was facilitated, how this differs from regular education and how students and teachers experienced these practices. In this study, qualitative and quantitative data were collected from teachers and students. Our findings revealed that the students were missing a proper structure in the lessons. There was a decline in the understanding and enjoyment by students in all courses. This study also shows that the variety of instructional strategies that the teachers used increased during the lockdown period. However, teachers were lacking in other aspects that define good instruction. Moreover, teacher data demonstrate that the teachers needed guidance from the schoolboard. It is remarkable that the schoolboard plays a key role in improving this situation. This research suggests that if the schoolboard provides guidelines on planning education, teachers could focus more on other aspects of a good instruction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
The Impact of COVID-19 on Learning: Investigating EFL Learners’ Engagement in Online Courses in Saudi Arabia
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030099 - 02 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1624
Abstract
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most learning around the world has been transferred online. Learners who previously engaged in traditional learning now face a new challenge, a distinctive rise in e-learning. This drastic change could impact their learning behavior and acceptance [...] Read more.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most learning around the world has been transferred online. Learners who previously engaged in traditional learning now face a new challenge, a distinctive rise in e-learning. This drastic change could impact their learning behavior and acceptance of the change. As a result, their learning engagement could be affected massively. The present study therefore explores learners’ level of engagement in online courses using a designated school platform within the context of Saudi Arabia. A reliable measure was implemented in the study based on the Student Course Engagement Questionnaire (SCEQ). A survey was consequently conducted in a high school in Saudi Arabia, with a sample of 379 female English as a foreign language (EFL) learners studying a general English language course. The results revealed a high level of engagement among EFL Saudi learners. This helped to generate recommendations to improve EFL practices, primarily through the use of an online environment either at the national level in the Saudi context or the international level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
What Can We Learn about Science Teachers’ Technology Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11060255 - 24 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 523
Abstract
The purpose of this qualitative research was to describe teachers’ experiences in a technology-mediated teaching context during the COVID-19 pandemic. We mainly focused on teachers’ experiences with technology use (change and variety of the use) and their willingness to use technology in teaching. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this qualitative research was to describe teachers’ experiences in a technology-mediated teaching context during the COVID-19 pandemic. We mainly focused on teachers’ experiences with technology use (change and variety of the use) and their willingness to use technology in teaching. We designed an interview-based study. The participants were Estonian science teachers who voluntarily agreed to share their experiences about teaching in new and—for most of them—unexpected, distanced learning conditions. Based on teachers’ reflections on technology use we could distinguish between three groups in which teachers described different levels of willingness to use technology, change in technology use from pre-COVID to distanced learning, and variety in the use of technology. Our results revealed that the higher teachers’ perceived willingness to use technology, the easier it was for them to overcome potential obstacles and cope with the unexpected distanced learning. The main obstacles there were grouped as external (e.g., issues with internet connection, lack of students’ digital skills) and internal (e.g., teachers’ beliefs about technology use for teaching). I was observed that some obstacles were shared by all teachers (such as limitations on students’ digital skills) whereas others where more prevalent in separate groups. This highlights the importance of understanding and considering the variability in the possible obstacles that emerge in using technology in education for teachers with different levels of experience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
“Am I Doing Enough?” Special Educators’ Experiences with Emergency Remote Teaching in Spring 2020
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 320; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10110320 - 05 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
While the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed all aspects of everyone’s life, the closure of schools was one of the most impactful, significantly altering daily life for school personnel, students, and families. The shift to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) presented particular challenges to special [...] Read more.
While the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed all aspects of everyone’s life, the closure of schools was one of the most impactful, significantly altering daily life for school personnel, students, and families. The shift to Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) presented particular challenges to special educators of students with significant support needs who often benefit from strong interpersonal connections, modeling, and the use of physical manipulatives. This paper details the experiences of two elementary special education teachers as they navigated the transition to ERT. The teachers reported three distinct stages of ERT: making contact, establishing routines, and transitioning to academics. They also discussed the challenges they faced during this period, such as the inequity in resources amongst their students, needing to rely on at-home support in order to meaningfully teach students, and changes in what it meant to be a teacher while having to teach online. While clearly not in favor of online learning, the teachers do present glimmers of hope, for example, with regards to increased communication between teachers and parents. The challenges and strategies used to overcome these challenges will be of use to educators in the coming months, with implications for distance learning in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Article
Academic Self-Perception and Course Satisfaction among University Students Taking Virtual Classes during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia (KSA)
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030134 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1222
Abstract
This research study examines academic self-perceptions and course satisfaction among university students and associated factors during virtual classes. A cross-sectional online survey of (n = 328) undergraduate and postgraduate Saudi students who took virtual classes during the second semester of the academic [...] Read more.
This research study examines academic self-perceptions and course satisfaction among university students and associated factors during virtual classes. A cross-sectional online survey of (n = 328) undergraduate and postgraduate Saudi students who took virtual classes during the second semester of the academic year 2019–2020 and the first semester of the academic year 2020–2021 during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The findings demonstrated students’ scores on negative academic self-perceptions (mean (M) = 9.84; standard deviation (S.D.) = 3.09) are significantly higher in comparison to positive academic self-perceptions (M = 7.71; S.D. = 2.46) and the difference was statistically significant, t(327) = 3.69, p < 0.001. The analysis demonstrated that mean differences were significant across ‘year of study’, ‘field of study’, ‘CGPA’ (cumulative grade points average), ‘employment status’, ‘on-site work’ and ‘being a parent of young child’ (p < 0.01). Correlation analysis shows a linear positive association between perceptions of workload and low technical support with negative academic self-perceptions (p < 0.001) and an inverse relationship with positive academic self-perceptions (p < 0.001). The multiple regression analysis demonstrated that the predictor variables in the model (perceptions of workload and technical support) explain 62% variance in negative academic self-perceptions and 41% variance in positive academic self-perceptions. Furthermore, the analysis demonstrated that positive academic self-perceptions bring a 32% variance in course satisfaction. These findings underscore the importance of balancing workload during online studies in higher education and provision of adequate technical support to reduce the negative academic self-perceptions which are associated with lower levels of course satisfaction. Students’ academic self-perceptions and course satisfaction during virtual studies are important factors to retain students’ motivation in learning and academic performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Challenges and Experiences of Online Evaluation in Courses of Civil Engineering during the Lockdown Learning Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020059 - 03 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3308
Abstract
As a consequence of the global health emergency in early 2020, universities had to tackle a sudden shift in their teaching–learning strategies so that the preset competences could be fulfilled. This study presents the learning outcomes of the implemented tasks, student experiences, and [...] Read more.
As a consequence of the global health emergency in early 2020, universities had to tackle a sudden shift in their teaching–learning strategies so that the preset competences could be fulfilled. This study presents the learning outcomes of the implemented tasks, student experiences, and feedback, as well as some reflections from the instructors with a holistic perspective of the courses due to the adopted measures and adaptations. Six courses taught at civil engineering degrees of three universities, two from Spain and one from Peru, were analyzed. The teaching and evaluation strategies are described, and some reflections are made by comparing the student’s performance with the previous course. Though the shift to online learning had to be made from day to day, with no time for preparation, the experience has proved that online learning can be beneficial in some aspects and has probably come to stay, although some other aspects are difficult to replace with respect to face-to-face learning, especially students’ engagement and motivation. The significance of this study relies on a description of the challenges that arose due to the global public health and an assessment of the results of the implemented strategies to account for both teaching and evaluation in modules of civil engineering. After the acquired experience, new questions have arisen, e.g., what type of content is (and what is not) adequate or suitable for online exams? What features have come to stay? Has higher education taken a step forward to tomorrow’s education? Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
Primary Teacher Attitudes towards Productive Struggle in Mathematics in Remote Learning versus Classroom-Based Settings
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020035 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1676
Abstract
Given what is known about the importance of productive struggle for supporting student learning of mathematics at all levels, the current study sought to examine teacher attitudes towards student struggle when students learn mathematics in remote learning settings compared with classroom settings. Eighty-two [...] Read more.
Given what is known about the importance of productive struggle for supporting student learning of mathematics at all levels, the current study sought to examine teacher attitudes towards student struggle when students learn mathematics in remote learning settings compared with classroom settings. Eighty-two Australian early years primary teachers involved in a professional learning initiative focused on teaching mathematics through sequences of challenging tasks completed a questionnaire inviting them to compare the two settings. Drawing on a mixed-methods approach, we found that teachers were more positive about the value of student struggle in classroom-based settings compared with remote learning settings. Qualitative analysis of open-ended responses revealed four themes capturing why teachers viewed efforts to support productive struggle in a remote learning setting as potentially problematic: absence of a teacher-facilitated, synchronous, learning environment; parents’ negative attitudes towards struggle when learning mathematics; lack of social connection and peer-to-peer collaboration; and difficulties accessing learning materials. Suggestions for mitigating some of these challenges in the future are put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Article
An Exploratory Study of the Obstacles for Achieving Quality in Distance Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(9), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10090232 - 03 Sep 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 11183
Abstract
This study aims to reveal the obstacles to achieving quality in distance learning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and was based on a large sample of professors and students of universities in the Arab world (Algerian, Egyptian, Palestinian, and Iraqi). The primary aim [...] Read more.
This study aims to reveal the obstacles to achieving quality in distance learning during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and was based on a large sample of professors and students of universities in the Arab world (Algerian, Egyptian, Palestinian, and Iraqi). The primary aim of this research was to investigate the various ways in which students pursued their studies at home during the university suspension as a result of COVID-19. In this paper, the researchers use an exploratory descriptive approach through a questionnaire with a conveniently selected sample of 400 professors and student’s returns out of 600 were distributed. The results indicate that the professors and students faced self-imposed obstacles, as well as pedagogical, technical, and financial or organizational obstacles. Recommendations are presented to overcome and understand these obstacles to benefit in the future during unexpected or similar problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Review
A Scoping Review of Organizational Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Schools: A Complex Systems Perspective
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11030115 - 10 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1495
Abstract
This study is a scoping review of the literature on organizational adaptation in school settings during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dramatic and unexpected environmental changes raise questions about the capacity of schooling organizations to adapt to in response to the [...] Read more.
This study is a scoping review of the literature on organizational adaptation in school settings during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dramatic and unexpected environmental changes raise questions about the capacity of schooling organizations to adapt to in response to the pandemic. Different management practices have implications for the selection of organizational behaviors, electively in school settings. The research literature on school responses is analyzed from a selectionist perspective. The aim of this study is to identify and describe three constituting elements of this perspective: variation, interaction, and selection. An additional element is considered in this analysis and comprises the mechanisms of exploration and exploitation in the context of organizational adaptation. Sixteen studies met the selection criteria of describing emergent processes in schools. The findings highlight the emergence of exploration, as teachers actively experimented with a range of strategies and methods in order to maintain educational activities in the complex and uncertain context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several questions are raised regarding the effects and maintenance of new practices in the post-pandemic scenario. Management practices that facilitate variation and open communication about learning processes can contribute to the process of organizational adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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Article
The Perception of Slovak Students on Distance Online Learning in the Time of Coronavirus—A Preliminary Study
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(2), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11020081 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
Teaching and learning at educational institutions in Slovakia has been based on traditional education, consisting of face-to-face classes until it was disrupted by the spread of the Coronavirus disease. A sudden lockdown caused massive changes, which presented challenges not only for teachers, but [...] Read more.
Teaching and learning at educational institutions in Slovakia has been based on traditional education, consisting of face-to-face classes until it was disrupted by the spread of the Coronavirus disease. A sudden lockdown caused massive changes, which presented challenges not only for teachers, but also for students who were forced to adapt their learning in a very short time, without any previous preparation. Since various educational institutions were forced to remain closed, they had no option but to shift from a traditional educational approach to distance learning. This form of education requires a form of online learning. The main purpose of this study was to explore what technical equipment students had at their disposal, to understand the students’ perception of distance learning, and to ensure better learning conditions in case of future lockdowns. In order to investigate student readiness for distance learning, a questionnaire survey was conducted at the Secondary Vocational School of Tourism and Gastronomy in Nitra, Slovakia. The findings of this study revealed that the majority of students from the Secondary Vocational School of Gastronomy and Tourism are ready for distance online learning. The results also indicate that a great percentage of students have Internet access and are the owners of technological devices that can be used for educational purposes. Furthermore, students are able to work individually on their own and do not require any help from other people while working on assignments. Although they prefer different teaching methods, the synchronous online courses are their priority because it enables them to have direct contact with their teachers and peers. Overall, this research shows that distance online learning is possible provided that both teachers and students are familiarised with this new learning environment and are ready to cooperate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
Article
Emergency Online Learning in Low-Resource Settings: Effective Student Engagement Strategies
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11010024 - 08 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2398
Abstract
We aim to identify the engagement strategies that higher education students, engaging in emergency online learning in low-resource settings, perceive to be effective. We conducted a sequential mixed-methods study based on Moore’s interaction framework for distance education. We administered a questionnaire to 313 [...] Read more.
We aim to identify the engagement strategies that higher education students, engaging in emergency online learning in low-resource settings, perceive to be effective. We conducted a sequential mixed-methods study based on Moore’s interaction framework for distance education. We administered a questionnaire to 313 students engaging in emergency online learning in low-resource settings to examine their perceptions of different engagement strategies. Our results showed that student–content engagement strategies, e.g., screen sharing, summaries, and class recordings, are perceived as the most effective, closely followed by student–teacher strategies, e.g., Q and A sessions and reminders. Student–student strategies, e.g., group chat and collaborative work, are perceived as the least effective. The perceived effectiveness of engagement strategies varies based on the students’ gender and technology access. To support instructors, instructional designers, and researchers, we propose a 10-level guide for engaging students during emergency online classes in low-resource settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Online and Distance Learning during Lockdown Times: COVID-19 Stories)
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