Special Issue "Effects of COVID 19 for Sustainable Education, Systems and Institutions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Osman Titrek
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Educational Administration and Supervision Program, Faculty of Education Educational Sciences, Sakarya University, 54300 Hendek, Sakarya, Turkey
Interests: researchers about education academicians; teachers; principals; educational politicians; policy makers; lifelong education
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Michele Biasutti
E-Mail Website1 Website2 Website3
Guest Editor
Department of Education, University of Padova, Via Beato Pellegrino, 28, 35137 Padova, Italy
Interests: education for sustainable development; teacher education; professional development; educational change; social sustainability; ICT in education; online learning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Every crisis brings challenges and threats to employees and their organizations, regardless of whether itis initiated by human behavior, natural disasters or economic mechanisms (Doern et al., 2019). One such example of a crisis that we are all acutely familiar with is the coronavirus (so-called COVID-19) that, the end of December 2019, started spreading from Wuhan, China, to other countries all around the world so widely and quickly that on 11 March, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO, 2020) declared it a pandemic. As a response to this crisis and in order to mitigate the spread of coronavirus and save lives, governments in affected countries imposed desperate measures of social distancing, widespread lockdown, and restrictions on traveling, movements, and people gatherings.

COVID-19 has obviously affected many different sectors of our normal life, including for example the entrepreneurial engagement of self-employed persons, with some entrepreneurs having to close their businesses temporarily as a result of governmental restrictions, and others having to impose precautions and to run their activities in a reduced capacity. As the pandemic lingered on, innovative solutions became necessary in all aspects of entrepreneurial endeavor, and it took time before entrepreneurs were able to orient themselves in this new situation and governments started helping them out with policy actions aiming to deliver information, advisory, and financial support (Kuckertz et al., 2020; Turner and Akinremi, 2020).

Entrepreneurs were not the only ones affected by this crisis, though. As research has shown, pandemics can influence many aspects of daily life, including traditional entrepreneurial decision-making processes (Chell, 2013), communication and conflict management (Aldairany et al., 2018), well-being (Stephan, 2018), entrepreneurial outcomes (Wach et al., 2016), and educational institutions. A large number of these aspects of private and public life had to be moved online (Liguori and Winkler, 2020), including schools and educational systems, which were all closed and started distance education via internet-based methodologies. Unfortunately, the Internet is not a convenient solution for every facet of education; lots of institutions and employees were not ready to teach online classes, and several educational issues emerged.

Distance education, in a pandemic or not, plays an important role in the lives of individuals with the opportunities it offers to individuals of all ages. Distance education provides users with the ability to study and learn at their own pace and in their own space, and it is a facilitator for both academicians and students. Although distance education has generally received many positive reactions and is increasingly preferred by individuals and institutions, however, education is a system that—regardless of the form it takes—demands serious structural support over time. As such, distance education needs serious technological and infrastructural preparations. However, these preparations are not always sufficient for an effective educational process. Creating a distance education system which is efficient, healthy, and sufficient and does not cause trouble also requires experience. Even if it takes all the necessary preparations, if an institution does not have any experience in carrying out distance education, then problems will keep popping up.

Disparities in distance education became more evident in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the primary concerns of governments around the world was that coronavirus would disrupt the learning process of those in education, and for this reason, educational institutions in various countries switched to distance learning. However, not every country or every institution was ready to move their educational systems to distance education. Thus, even if the pandemic has been experienced in much the same way everywhere, albeit to different degrees, the opportunities to continue learning online and maintain the status quo in education in this way have definitely not been the same, and the COVID-19 lockdown has severely affected educational systems around the world.

This Special Issue aims to capture the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on educational systems and institutions at different kinds of levels, to accumulate knowledge of the best individual and policy-initiated practices helping academicians, principals, and teachers to overcome the crisis at educational institutions. We will try to understand educational processes all over the world and the social, educational, and psychological effects of schools, students, and teachers. Moreover, we will try to search best practices and applications about distance education used during this process to improve the educational effectiveness of the educational system and institutions.

Possible Topics:

The Guest Editors encourage submissions of theoretical and empirical contributions investigating the challenges and consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic at educational institutions. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  1. Impact of pandemics on educational activity at national, regional or sectoral levels
  2. Crisis management and best practices in educational systems
  3. Doing schooling via distance education during pandemics: best practices and worst examples
  4. Charting the challenges facing most endangered groups of private schools and their responses to survival
  5. Capturing the influence of pandemics across types of self-employment in schools
  6. Managing universities during the COVID-19 crisis: challenges and conflicts
  7. Influence of pandemics on entrepreneurial well-being and outcomes
  8. Entrepreneurship and innovation in times of the COVID-19 crisis at educational systems
  9. New educational methodologies developed during COVID-19 by teachers and academicians for online classes
  10. How school principals reacted to solve crises in educational systems
  11. How stakeholders of education systems where affected during COVID-19
  12. How new educational systems will be developed after COVID-19

References:

Aldairany, S., Omar, R. and Quoquab, F. (2018), "Systematic review: entrepreneurship in conflict and post conflict", Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 361-383.

Bullough, A., and Renko, M. (2013), "Entrepreneurial resilience during challenging times", Business Horizons, Vol. 56 No. 3, pp. 343-350.

Chell, E. (2013), "Review of skill and the entrepreneurial process. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research", Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 6-31.

Doern, R., Williams, N., and Vorley, T. (2019), "Special issue on entrepreneurship and crises: business as usual? An introduction and review of the literature", Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, Vol. 31 No. 5-6, pp. 400-412.

Hamutoğlu, N. B., Sezen-Gültekin, G., Savaşçı, M., & Bağcı, M. (2019). Yükseköğretim Öğrencilerinin Transaksiyonel Uzaklık Algısı ve Yaşam Boyu Öğrenme Eğilimleri (Transactional Distance Perception and Lifelong Learning Trends of Higher Education Students), The Journal of Trakia University Education Faculty, 9(2), 302-325.

Kuckertz, A., Brändle, L., Gaudig, A., Hinderer, S., Morales, A., Prochotta, A., Steinbrink, K., & Berger, E. S. (2020), "Startups in Times of Crisis–A Rapid Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic", Journal of Business Venturing Insights. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00169

Liguori, E., and Winkler, C. (2020), "From Offline to Online: Challenges and Opportunities for Entrepreneurship Education Following the COVID-19 Pandemic", Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy. https://doi.org/10.1177/2515127420916738.

Stephan, U. (2018). Entrepreneurs’ mental health and well-being: A review and research agenda. Academy of Management Perspectives, 32(3), 290-322.

Turner, J., & Akinremi, T. (2020), "The Business Effects of Pandemics – A Rapid Literature Review", Enterprise Research Centre, available at: https://www.enterpriseresearch.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ERC-Insight-The-business-effects-of-pandemics-%E2%80%93-a-rapid-literature-review-Final.pdf (accessed 27 April 2020).

Wach, D., Stephan, U., & Gorgievski, M. (2016), "More than money: Developing an integrative multi-factorial measure of entrepreneurial success", International Small Business Journal, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 1098-1121.

World Health Organization - WHO (2020), "WHO Timeline - COVID-19", available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/27-04-2020-who-timeline---covid-19 (accessed 27 April 2020).

Prof. Dr. Osman Titrek
Prof. Dr. Michele Biasutti
Guest Editors

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 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

  • COVID 19
  • educational systems
  • effects
  • distance education
  • change in education
  • sustainable educational systems

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Sustaining Healthy Staying Communities in University Residential Halls amid Unprecedented Pandemic
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6176; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116176 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 450
Abstract
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most teaching and learning or student services in the higher education setting have moved to the digital world. However, university residential halls have continued to provide services as there are students who are unable to go back to [...] Read more.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most teaching and learning or student services in the higher education setting have moved to the digital world. However, university residential halls have continued to provide services as there are students who are unable to go back to their homes/countries because of travel bans or family reasons. This study investigates the perceptions of residents who stayed at university residential halls during the pandemic. In-depth interviews were conducted with 77 staying residents from four public universities in Hong Kong. Through the sharing of their residential experience, it was found that these stayers were impacted greatly by the changes in the residential hall environment, particularly in terms of reduced interaction and emerging disciplinary concerns. Results reveal that stayers had undergone different negative mental states, namely stress, paranoia, loneliness and boredom. After identifying their conditions, some sustainable residential practices were proposed, such as maintaining minimum face-to-face contact for stayers, practicing transparent communication and arranging bulk purchases of living supplies. It is hoped that the results of this study can help to inform readers regarding the possible impacts on the stayers during a partial lockdown environment in university residential halls and how they can be better supported by universities. Full article
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Article
Romanian Students’ Appraisal of the Emergency Remote Assessment due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116110 - 28 May 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
The response of most educational institutions to the health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was the adoption of emergency remote teaching and assessment. The paper aims to evaluate students’ satisfaction with assessment activities in a Romanian university and to identify elements pertaining [...] Read more.
The response of most educational institutions to the health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was the adoption of emergency remote teaching and assessment. The paper aims to evaluate students’ satisfaction with assessment activities in a Romanian university and to identify elements pertaining to sustainable assessment in the post-pandemic period. A collaborative research strategy was developed with students being invited as co-researchers for data collection by distributing an online questionnaire and for interpretation of the results in a focus group. The factor analysis of the responses to the survey extracted two pillars pertaining to students’ appraisal of remote assessment activities: Knowledge, and leisure and stress. The discussion in the focus group showed that the research helped participants to process and reason their experience with remote assessment activities in the summer of 2020. Students missed their academic rituals and interactions with peers and teachers. Despite their enthusiasm for technological innovation and the benefits brought by computer assisted assessment, students are inclined towards preserving human evaluators, preferably from their familiar teachers, in educational settings resembling pre-pandemic academic life. A sustainable, resilient model of education needs to be based on retaining features identified as acceptable by students as examinees. Full article
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Article
Difference in the Attitude of Students and Employees of the University of Ljubljana towards Work from Home and Online Education: Lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095118 - 03 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 961
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a large and involuntary shift to work from home (WFH) or teleworking, and widespread adoption of web-based platforms. This study aims to uncover the attitude and perception of WFH and online education among students and employees of the University [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a large and involuntary shift to work from home (WFH) or teleworking, and widespread adoption of web-based platforms. This study aims to uncover the attitude and perception of WFH and online education among students and employees of the University of Ljubljana. A web-based questionnaire survey was conducted in November 2020, and more than 1300 valid responses were received. The lack of daily commuting, improved eating habits, and more time available for a family were the main reported advantages of WFH. The main issues, highlighted by respondents, were higher stress levels, lower study/work efficiency, and poorer working environment at home. When comparing the online educational process with the traditional one, the absence of traditional laboratory work, inadequate social interactions, and limitations of online knowledge assessment were identified as drawbacks by both students and educators. A significant difference between students and educators was observed in their opinion on the efficiency of online lectures compared to traditional ones, with the former being significantly more favored by students than educators. Overall, the majority of the respondents from all groups wish for the pre-COVID-19 study/work mode to be established as soon as possible. This implies that the perceived drawbacks of online education outweigh its advantages. Full article
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Article
Continuance Intention of University Students and Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Modified Expectation Confirmation Model Perspective
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084586 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 603
Abstract
The prevalence of COVID-19 has changed traditional teaching modes. For many teachers, online learning effectively compensated for the absence of traditional face-to-face instruction. Online learning can support students and schools and can create unique opportunities under emergency management. Educational institutions in various countries [...] Read more.
The prevalence of COVID-19 has changed traditional teaching modes. For many teachers, online learning effectively compensated for the absence of traditional face-to-face instruction. Online learning can support students and schools and can create unique opportunities under emergency management. Educational institutions in various countries have launched large-scale online course modes in response to the pandemic. Additionally, online learning during a pandemic differs from traditional online learning modes. Through surveying students in higher education institutions, educational reform under emergency management can be explored. Therefore, university students were surveyed to investigate their continuance intention regarding online learning during the pandemic. Expectation confirmation theory was extended using the task-technology fit model to ascertain whether the technical support of promoting online learning helped student’s complete course learning tasks during the pandemic and spawned a continuance intention to use online learning in the future. Data were collected through online questionnaires. A total of 854 valid responses were collected, and partial least squares structural equation modeling was employed to verify the research hypotheses. The results revealed that the overall research framework largely explained continuance intention. Concrete suggestions are proposed for higher education institutions to promote online learning modes and methods after the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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Article
Investigation of Students’ and Parents’ Perceptions of Authentic Contextual Learning at Home and Their Mutual Influence on Technological and Pedagogical Aspects of Learning under COVID-19
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310074 - 02 Dec 2020
Viewed by 729
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been forced to learn at home. Authentic contexts are essential to designing useful learning activities. Therefore, this study used mobile technology, namely Ubiquitous Geometry (UG), to merge authentic contexts into learning activities and investigate the influence of [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been forced to learn at home. Authentic contexts are essential to designing useful learning activities. Therefore, this study used mobile technology, namely Ubiquitous Geometry (UG), to merge authentic contexts into learning activities and investigate the influence of authentic contextual learning (ACL) on students’ and parents’ perceptions. This is because parents inevitably have an effect on students’ learning at home, which has not been clearly addressed in past studies. This study investigated students’ and parents’ perceptions in terms of technological and pedagogical aspects of the implementation of ACL supported by UG while learning at home. We conducted one experiment on 20 fifth-grade students and their parents. In the students’ acceptance model, the results indicated that students’ ease of use and usefulness significantly influenced their positive attitude toward ACL supported by UG, and the positive attitude also significantly influenced intention to continue using our proposed system in both the technological and pedagogical aspects. In the mutual influence between students’ and parents’ acceptance model, it was found that parents significantly influenced their children’s perceptions of ACL at home. In the mediation analysis, we found parents’ ease of use and intention to use could mediate the relation between students’ positive attitude and intention to use in the pedagogical aspect. From the interview, we found that parents thought that the learning activity in authentic contexts was useful and encouraged their children to do more engagement. However, in the technological aspect of the mutual influence between students’ and parents’ acceptance model, no mediation existed. This might be because parents worried their children were overusing mobile devices. Full article
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Article
What We Can Learn from Environmental and Outdoor Education during COVID-19: A Lesson in Participatory Risk Management
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9096; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219096 - 31 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1439
Abstract
COVID-19 has impacted education on all levels, with many institutions turning to online formats to deal with the global public health crisis. This study aims to carefully consider participatory risk management, given concerns about the specific impact of COVID-19 upon environmental and outdoor [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has impacted education on all levels, with many institutions turning to online formats to deal with the global public health crisis. This study aims to carefully consider participatory risk management, given concerns about the specific impact of COVID-19 upon environmental and outdoor education. An environmental and outdoor education expedition-style university-based field course at the Laponia World Heritage Site provided the context for considering environmental and outdoor education’s response to COVID-19. Whether or how risk could be effectively managed in the unique setting during the COVID-19 pandemic was explored using action research methodology. A combination of systematic instructor observation, student–instructor communication, and surveys to student participants provided the data to consider the research question. Outcomes underscore the critical role of participatory risk management in environmental and outdoor education settings and highlight the concept of interdependence in environmental and outdoor education risk management. In addition, the research provides support for the action research idea of practitioners as researchers. Full article
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Article
The Effect of Students’ Experience with the Transition from Primary to Secondary School on Self-Regulated Learning and Motivation
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8519; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208519 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 992
Abstract
The transition from primary to secondary school is more successful when students’ learning is consistent. Students are also more likely to enjoy school, engage with learning, and have a high academic achievement in secondary school when they feel motivated. This is a critical [...] Read more.
The transition from primary to secondary school is more successful when students’ learning is consistent. Students are also more likely to enjoy school, engage with learning, and have a high academic achievement in secondary school when they feel motivated. This is a critical aspect, especially in cases in which global pandemic situations allow only online schooling opportunities. Students that are away from school lack the traditional sources of motivation and self-regulated learning skills; thus, research is needed to identify other important factors that can be developed in remote settings. The aim of this study was to find out how students perceive their experience with the transition from primary to secondary school and how such a transition influences students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) and motivation. Self-reported data were collected during the COVID-19 breakout from a total of n = 80 sixth and seventh grade students aged 12–14 years old. The results showed that students had a successful transition, especially when they were supported by their parents and teachers. Next, bivariate Pearson correlation analysis indicated that students’ perceptions about their experience with the transition from primary to secondary school, their self-regulated learning, and their motivation were significantly correlated. No gender differences were found among any of the main study variables. Teachers can foster students’ SRL skills by implementing effective teaching methods and by guiding them towards SRL-enhancing techniques. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Digital Communication and PR Models on the Sustainability of Higher Education during Crises
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8295; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208295 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1211
Abstract
Currently, the world is going through a pandemic, COVID-19, that affects the four pillars of organizational sustainability. At this point, institutions’ sustainability depends on how they handle crisis communication. It seems that institutions that can adapt themselves to changes regarding the usage of [...] Read more.
Currently, the world is going through a pandemic, COVID-19, that affects the four pillars of organizational sustainability. At this point, institutions’ sustainability depends on how they handle crisis communication. It seems that institutions that can adapt themselves to changes regarding the usage of digital communication platforms are survivors, and even winners, of this crisis. The general belief concerning education in developing countries claims that these countries are slow in adapting to technological innovations. Being a developing country, North Cyprus has a multi-cultural environment due to the presence of international students in tertiary education. This study explores how two public and two private universities maintained sustainability in higher education during COVID-19 by discussing the public relations models (PR) that they have used regarding digital communication. This study uses a qualitative content analysis and a quantitative method. The paper asserts that the effective usage of digital communication contributes to the sustainability of universities during this crisis. The findings revealed that the posts (text/image/poster) and videos these universities share are more concentrated on either press agentry or the public information model. Yet, a two-way symmetrical model that maintains dialogue within stakeholders is practiced less than the other PR models. Hence, there is a need for the universities to listen to their stakeholders not only in face to face communication but more through digital communication platforms as well. Full article
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Article
Sustaining Language Skills Development of Pre-Service EFL Teachers despite the COVID-19 Interruption: A Case of Emergency Distance Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198188 - 04 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1889
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused teachers and students to abandon their physical classrooms and move into emergency distance education (EDE) settings. Thus, sustaining the quality in education has become a challenge during this transitional period. Within this context, the aim of this study [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused teachers and students to abandon their physical classrooms and move into emergency distance education (EDE) settings. Thus, sustaining the quality in education has become a challenge during this transitional period. Within this context, the aim of this study was to explore the impact of EDE on language skills development (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) of Turkish pre-service teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL). In this qualitative study, data were gathered from 118 pre-service EFL teachers about the advantages and disadvantages of EDE for their language skills development. Thematic analysis was used as a research design, and nine themes emerged for both advantages and disadvantages. The most important theme for both categories is content and implementation of online courses. This study pinpointed the eminence of this theme, for if it is emphasized enough and handled efficiently, it plays a huge role in developing language skills. The themes and sub-themes generated through thematic analysis showed the advantages and disadvantages of EDE for each skill in detail and also proved that EDE was most advantageous for writing skill and least advantageous for speaking skill. The participants stated that, since writing skill was constantly used for almost all homework, assignments and projects, that skill was nurtured the most. Nevertheless, speaking skill was ignored during online courses, and writing became the new mode of communication by replacing speaking. The outcome of the present study encourages preparedness for EDE against a possible second wave. Thus, the study is hoped to pave the way for anticipating issues and developing solutions for EDE contexts to preserve sustainability in higher education. Full article

Review

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Review
Academic Standards and Quality Assurance: The Impact of COVID-19 on University Degree Programs
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10032; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310032 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1180
Abstract
COVID-19, caused by a member of the coronavirus family of viruses, has spread to most countries around the world since it was first recorded in humans in China in late 2019. Closing universities and cancelling all face-to-face activities have become a COVID-19 inevitable [...] Read more.
COVID-19, caused by a member of the coronavirus family of viruses, has spread to most countries around the world since it was first recorded in humans in China in late 2019. Closing universities and cancelling all face-to-face activities have become a COVID-19 inevitable reality in many parts of the world. Its impact on university programs, particularly to maintain academic standards and quality assurance procedures, has become significantly more challenging and complex. New ways of working digitally, to minimize disruption to daily operations, have also led to enormous anxiety and uncertainty within the student population, and meeting students’ expectations has also become significantly more difficult. This paper reviews actions taken by universities to safeguard high academic standards and quality assurance procedures during this time and appraise the challenges and impacts on students’ academic performance. Full article
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