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Home Journal Index 2021-1

Student and Teacher Perceptions of Teaching and Learning in Times of Covid

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Isabelle van der Bom
Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany


Johannes Pfundt
Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany


The coronavirus pandemic has meant universities have had to rapidly adjust their courses to online-only learning environments. While much English Language Teaching (ELT) research in recent years has focused on both blended learning and distance learning programs, these studies mostly included students who had opted for distance or blended learning courses and teachers who were given time to prepare for such types of courses in advance. The current situation allows us to explore ELT strategies in the context of a sudden and unexpected shift to digital format only. Specifically, we employ the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison et al., 1999) to examine teacher and student perceptions of digital ELT strategies in two English language learning courses that were taught at a German university as part of a graduate degree programme in English. Our findings suggest that although students and teachers initially struggled with the move from face-toface lessons to digital teaching and learning, they adapted and got more accustomed to many of the changes over time, but that digital interaction remains incomparable to ‘real’ interaction. We also found that although the CoI framework served as a helpful tool in data analysis, it could not account for all aspects relating to online learning, such as the need for pastoral care. We suggest a split of social presence into two categories as proposed by Kreijns et al. (2014) would go some way towards addressing this, but further research in this area is needed. Finally, we provide recommendations for practitioners and ELT teachers in the hope that they may be of help to those new to online teaching.

Community of Inquiry, online learning, Covid-19, pastoral care, toll of online learning