Zooming?! - Higher Education Faculty Perspectives

Moshe Leiba, Ruti Gafni
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 18  •  2021  •  pp. 121-140
Aim/Purpose: The COVID-19 pandemic demanded an immediate and massive adaptation of higher education to distance learning. Teachers had to transform from face-to-face to distance teaching, with insufficient pedagogical and technological knowledge and resources. This study aims to capture higher education faculty experiences in the very early stages of the crisis-prompted transition into synchronous distance education in order to obtain a broader view on the faculty’s perspectives (benefits, challenges and insights) on distance teaching through synchronous online environments.

Background: Although online teaching and learning have been part of higher education teaching for more than two decades, many instructors found themselves teaching remotely for the first time and facing new and unpredicted challenges.

Methodology: This study explored and analyzed an e-mail thread discourse between teachers in a higher education institute, two months after “going online” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A singular case study was conducted, and a retrospective and snapshot case study approach was used. Data analysis was an iterative exploratory process of going back and forth the empirical material, resulting in the construction of categories, then themes, and finally a conceptual framework was developed.

Contribution: The findings contribute the knowledge domain of implementation of immediate and massive online teaching and learning from the faculty perspective.

Findings: Two main focal points, students and teachers, were encountered. Three main recurring themes were identified associated with both students and teachers: Convenience, Ethical Issues, and Insights for the future. Two themes were identified associated with faculty: Pedagogy and Tools, and Resources. In addition, two themes were identified for students: Attendance and Responses. Each of the themes was decomposed into several aspects.

Recommendations for Practitioners: Higher education institutions and stakeholders should build a campus wide e-learning agenda including appropriate infrastructure and professional development for the future.

Recommendations for Researchers: The study presented a conceptual model based on qualitative case study methodology. The impact and influence of each of the components of the model should be further researched and measured using quantitative methodologies.

Impact on Society: Understanding the benefits and challenges of distance learning from the faculty perspectives in order to implement better distance learning strategies.

Future Research: The impact and influence of each of the components of the model should be further researched and measured using quantitative methodologies.
Distance learning, Online learning, COVID-19, e-learning, Faculty, Higher education
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