Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Advanced Research in Education
Online Distance Learning Experience in the Light of COVID-19 Pandemic in Higher Education in Palestine: EFL Instructors’ and Learners’ Perspectives
Mona M. Shalhoub and Naciye Kunt
This study explored the experience of Online Distance Learning (ODL) implementation in higher education (HE) in Palestine during the COVID- 19 pandemic from the perspectives of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) instructors and learners. The study aimed to provide a holistic description of the current situation of ODL in HE in Palestine in terms of perceived usefulness of technology use, activities implemented via ODL, university support for ODL implementation, effectiveness and quality of ODL, assessment practices, and academic fraud in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also aimed to provide participants’ evaluation of the ODL experience to benefit from for future action. For these purposes, mixed methods approach was employed. 17 instructors from five different universities participated in filling in the survey, five of them took part in semi- structured in- depth interviews, and 74 students responded to the students’ questionnaire. The results showed that instructors viewed ODL experience positively and recommended its accreditation in the future. The results also showed that students’ perspectives regarding ODL usefulness, effectiveness and easiness of use of ODL ranged from moderate to high, however, they were in favor of face- to- face instruction as the qualitative section revealed. Both instructors and learners encountered different types of problems which were classified into technical, instructional, personal and ethical problems. Assessment and academic dishonesty were among the critical issues resulting from ODL implementation in Palestinian universities that required intervention.
keywords: academic fraud; assessment factors; ODL challenges, ODL quality; perceived usefulness.