The Shift to Online Classes during the Covid-19 pandemic: Benefits, Challenges, and Required Improvements from the Students’ Perspective

Authors

  • Dan Li Hunan Railway Professional Technology College

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.34190/ejel.20.1.2106

Abstract

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed and disrupted education; colleges and universities have closed their campuses, and many have shifted to online courses. In the pre-pandemic era, online classes were associated with several benefits and challenges, and the pandemic might have brought additional benefits and obstacles. This research examined students’ perceptions of online classes during the pandemic. The study looked at four aspects: perceived benefits of online classes; perceived challenges; beliefs and an overall evaluation; and potential improvements. An online questionnaire was administrated to some first- and second-year undergraduate students at a College in China. It combined a set of 23 closed-ended and open-ended questions and 342 valid and complete responses were collected. Perceived benefits included creating a digital learning community, improving students’ digital learning skills, and staying connected during tough times. Challenges comprised adaptability issues due to the sudden shift to online classes, time-management issues, being distracted by social media plus technological obstacles. Regarding beliefs, students believed that a blended model that combines both classroom and online modes is necessary for the post-pandemic era. To enhance the sustainability of online classes in the post-pandemic era, a set of improvements are explored and suggested.

References

Beldarrain, Y. 2006. Distance education trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance education, 27, 139-153.

Bengtsson, M. 2016. How to plan and perform a qualitative study using content analysis. NursingPlus Open, 2, 8-14.

Berelson, B. 1952. Content Analysis in Communication Research, Free Press, New York.

Boudreau, E. 2020. The Shift to Online Teaching [Online]. Online: Harvard Graduate School of Education. Available: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/20/03/shift-online-teaching [Accessed 16th of April 2020].

Carmichael, F. & Spring, M. 2020. Coronavirus: Here's how you can stop bad information from going viral [Online]. Online: BBC. Available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-51967889 [Accessed 28th of May 2020].

Easton, M. 2020. Coronavirus: Social media 'spreading virus conspiracy theories' [Online]. Online: BBC. Available: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53085640 [Accessed 19th of June 2020].

Farah, K. 2020. 4 Tips for Teachers Shifting to Teaching Online [Online]. Online: Edutopia. Available: https://www.edutopia.org/article/4-tips-supporting-learning-home [Accessed 18th of April 2020].

Gewin, V. 2020. Five tips for moving teaching online as COVID-19 takes hold. Nature, 580, 295-296.

Goodyear, P. & Zenios, M. 2007. Discussion, collaborative knowledge work and epistemic fluency. British journal of educational studies, 55, 351-368.

Hung, M.-L., Chou, C., Chen, C.-H. & Own, Z.-Y. 2010. Learner readiness for online learning: Scale development and student perceptions. Computers & Education, 55, 1080-1090.

İlin, G. 2019. Sustainability in Lifelong Learning: Learners’ Perceptions from a Turkish Distance Language Education Context. Sustainability, 11, 5284.

Itu-News. 2020. COVID-19: How students view the sudden shift to online learning [Online]. Online: ITU News. Available: https://news.itu.int/covid-19-how-students-view-the-sudden-shift-to-online-learning/ [Accessed 8th of April 2020].

Jack, A. & Smyth, J. 2020. Coronavirus: universities face a harsh lesson [Online]. Online: Financial Times. Available: https://www.ft.com/content/0ae1c300-7fee-11ea-82f6-150830b3b99a [Accessed 28th of April 2020].

Karal, H., Cebi, A. & Turgut, Y. E. 2011. Perceptions of students who take synchronous courses through video conferencing about distance education. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology-TOJET, 10, 276-293.

Kaup, S., Jain, R., Shivalli, S., Pandey, S. & Kaup, S. 2020. Sustaining academics during COVID-19 pandemic: The role of online teaching-learning. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 68, 1220-1221.

Kebritchi, M., Lipschuetz, A. & Santiague, L. 2017. Issues and challenges for teaching successful online courses in higher education: A literature review. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 46, 4-29.

Kumar, S. 2015. 5 Common Problems Faced By Students In eLearning And How To Overcome Them [Online]. Online: E-Learning Industry. Available: https://elearningindustry.com/5-common-problems-faced-by-students-in-elearning-overcome [Accessed 15th of April 2020].

Langer-Crame, M., Newman, T., Beetham, H. & Knight, C. K. a. S. 2019. Digital experience insights survey 2019: findings from students in UK further and higher education. Bristol: JISC.

Lederman, D. 2020a. The Shift to Remote Learning: The Human Element [Online]. Online: Inside Higher ED. Available: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/03/25/how-shift-remote-learning-might-affect-students-instructors-and [Accessed 28th of April 2020].

Lederman, D. 2020b. Will Shift to Remote Teaching Be Boon or Bane for Online Learning? [Online]. Online: Inside Higher ED. Available: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/03/18/most-teaching-going-remote-will-help-or-hurt-online-learning [Accessed 29th of April 2020].

Li, C. 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education forever. This is how [Online]. Online: World Economic Forum. Available: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/ [Accessed 9th of June 2020].

Lin, B. & Hsieh, C.-T. 2001. Web-based teaching and learner control: A research review. Computers & Education, 37, 377-386.

Lingyun, Z. 2020. How to change the teaching methods of higher education in the post-epidemic era? Hear what the big coffee said [Online]. Online: Chutian Metropolis Daily. Available: https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1668848999893297775&wfr=spider&for=pc [Accessed 2nd of June 2020].

Luyt, I. 2013. Bridging spaces: Cross-cultural perspectives on promoting positive online learning experiences. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 42, 3-20.

Lyons, J. F. 2004. Teaching US history online: Problems and prospects. The History Teacher, 37, 447-456.

Moe. 2020. Introduce the relevant situation of online education in primary and secondary schools during the epidemic and the consideration of the next step [Online]. Online: Ministry of Education of China. Available: http://www.moe.gov.cn/fbh/live/2020/51987/mtbd/202005/t20200518_455656.html [Accessed 27th of May 2020].

Oecd 2018a. ICT familiarity questionnaire for pisa 2018. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Oecd 2018b. Student questionnaire for pisa 2018. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Oecd 2018c. Well-being questionnaire for pisa 2018. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Pandika, M. 2016. The Unexpected Effects of All That Screen Time [Online]. Online: Rally Health. Available: https://www.rallyhealth.com/health/unexpected-effects-screen-time [Accessed 15th of April 2020].

Parks‐Stamm, E. J., Zafonte, M. & Palenque, S. M. 2017. The effects of instructor participation and class size on student participation in an online class discussion forum. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48, 1250-1259.

Qs 2020. The impact of the coronavirus on global higher education. London: QS University Ranking.

Reidy, T. 2020. How to study at home during coronavirus – by online students and tutors [Online]. Online: The Guardian. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/mar/26/how-to-study-at-home-during-coronavirus-by-online-students-and-tutors [Accessed 4th of April 2020].

Richards, L. & Morse, J. 2019. Readme first for a User's Guide to Qualitative Methods, Sage Publications Limited, London, California, New Delhi, and Singapore.

Ronghuai, H. 2020. How to change the teaching methods of higher education in the post-epidemic era? Hear what the big coffee said [Online]. Online: Chutian Metropolis Daily. Available: https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1668848999893297775&wfr=spider&for=pc [Accessed 2nd of June 2020].

Rost, M. 2019. A dive into the challenges of online distance learning [Online]. Online: Pearson English. Available: https://www.english.com/blog/a-dive-into-the-challenges-of-online-distance-learning/ [Accessed 17th of March 2020].

Sahu, P. 2020. Closure of Universities Due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on Education and Mental Health of Students and Academic Staff. Cureus, 12, e7541-e7541.

Silverman, D. 2019. Interpreting qualitative data-Sixth Edition, Sage Publications Limited, London, California, New Delhi, and Singapore.

Song, L., Singleton, E. S., Hill, J. R. & Koh, M. H. 2004. Improving online learning: Student perceptions of useful and challenging characteristics. The Internet and Higher Education, 7, 59-70.

Tam, G. & Elazar, D. 2020. 3 ways the coronavirus pandemic could reshape education [Online]. Online: World Economic Forum. Available: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/3-ways-coronavirus-is-reshaping-education-and-what-changes-might-be-here-to-stay [Accessed 4th of April 2020].

Tsai, M.-J. & Tsai, C.-C. 2003. Information searching strategies in web-based science learning: The role of Internet self-efficacy. Innovations in education and Teaching International, 40, 43-50.

Unctad 2020. The Covid-19 Crisis: Accentuating the Need to Bridge Digital Divides. Geneva: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Unesco. 2020. Education: From disruption to recovery [Online]. Online: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Available: https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse [Accessed 10th of June 2020 2020].

Versta. 2011. How to Estimate the Length of a Survey [Online]. Online: Versta Research. Available: https://verstaresearch.com/newsletters/how-to-estimate-the-length-of-a-survey/ [Accessed 15th of April 2020].

Vonderwell, S. & Zachariah, S. 2005. Factors that influence participation in online learning. Journal of Research on Technology in education, 38, 213-230.

Wang, L.-C. C. & Beasley, W. 2002. Effects of learner control and hypermedia preference on cyber-students performance in a Web-based learning environment. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 11, 71-91.

Wise, A. F., Speer, J., Marbouti, F. & Hsiao, Y.-T. 2013. Broadening the notion of participation in online discussions: examining patterns in learners’ online listening behaviors. Instructional Science, 41, 323-343.

Worth, D. 2020. Coronavirus: How to maximise distance learning-With schools closed, teachers are getting to grips with remote learning – what does research say about best practice? [Online]. Online: TES Global. Available: https://www.tes.com/magazine/article/coronavirus-how-maximise-distance-learning [Accessed 22th of April 2020].

Wu, Y. 2020. Ministry of Education: After the resumption of classes, online courses may become the "new normal"! What do you think? [Online]. Online: China Youth Daily. Available: https://m.sohu.com/a/395530187_120209891 [Accessed 1st of June 2020].

Xinhua. 2020. Chinese universities to remain closed until effective control of epidemic [Online]. Online: Xinhua Net. Available: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-02/25/c_138814715.htm [Accessed 27th of April 2020].

Zaremba, J. 2019. 9 Downsides of Teaching English Online That No One Talks About [Online]. Online: Go Abroad. Available: https://www.goabroad.com/articles/teach-abroad/downsides-teaching-english-online [Accessed 18th of April 2020].

Zhaohui, W. 2020. How a top Chinese university is responding to coronavirus [Online]. Online: World Economic Forum. Available: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/coronavirus-china-the-challenges-of-online-learning-for-universities/ [Accessed 11th of April 2020].

Downloads

Published

21 Jan 2022