The Challenges of Online Teaching in COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of Public Universities in Karachi, Pakistan

Huma Akram, Sarfraz Aslam, Atif Saleem, Khalida Parveen
Journal of Information Technology Education: Research  •  Volume 20  •  2021  •  pp. 263-282

This study aims to examine the challenges faculty members face with online teaching practices in public universities in Karachi, Pakistan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Faculty members’ pedagogical experiences were examined by following the approach of the technology acceptance model (TAM) framework presented by Davis in 1986 and 1989.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected educational activities and disrupted the traditional norms of education at colleges and universities in the world, and, as a result, teaching and learning have shifted to online. Accordingly, the outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic has unexpectedly forced educators and educational leaders to analyze pedagogical measures to offer quality education to students and make changes to their curriculum and instruction.

This study used a mixed-method research design with closed-ended surveys and interviews. The researchers distributed online questionnaires and conducted phone call interviews, followed by simple random sampling approach to strengthen data collection and analysis. The research data were analyzed through descriptive statistical tests, including mean, standard deviation, and Pearson correlation, and thematic analysis.

By examining the challenges faculty members face with online teaching practices, this study contributes to the literature knowledge to advance the Practical-Knowledge gap (the lack of empirical studies in the context of practice and theoretical perspective) by knowing faculty members’ experiences and attitudes regarding online teaching in public universities in Karachi, Pakistan. The adopted framework of the technology acceptance model provides confirmation of reliability in the context of higher education institutions, which can help explore pedagogical challenges and practices of teachers who teach online in other provinces in Pakistan, cultures, and countries. This study provides suggestions to online teachers in Pakistan to sort out their challenges.

The findings highlight a favorable attitude of faculty members’ usage of virtual platforms for teaching. Likewise, faculty members encountered several challenges that caused restrictions in accomplishing competent teaching and learning. Furthermore, faculty members lacked sound experience in conducting online classes and were not given adequate technical assistance or ICT infrastructure to cope with the technical challenges.

It is recommended by this study that teachers should be given adequate professional development opportunities to develop technical and ICT infrastructure competencies to facilitate them to successfully teach online.

Another study should be conducted at the national level to reinforce the understanding and generalization of this study’s results. Furthermore, this study assessed public universities faculty members’ experiences through self-reported surveys and interviews. However, future researchers should employ other means and methods of examination such as private universities, public universities, primary schools, middle schools, secondary schools, and observations or focus group discussions to broaden the understanding of online teaching practices and challenges in Pakistan.

By examining faculty members’ experiences and challenges of teaching online, this study will help educators and educational leaders to raise the quality of online teaching in Pakistan by knowing the appropriate solutions and recommendations.

This study examined the adoption of three ICT indicators through pedagogical practices such as perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and attitude to use. For future studies, researchers and practitioners should evaluate other indicators such as students’ learning outcomes.

higher education, online teaching, pedagogical practices, online teaching challenges, technology acceptance model (TAM)
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