The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

The Effect of Transitioning to Distance Learning and then to HyFlex Courses during the Covid Pandemic – Challenges and Solutions

Calin Gurau, Montpellier Business School (France)


The COVID pandemic and the measures introduced to manage the health crisis have disrupted all essential activities, including education. Many higher education institutions were forced to quickly adopt technologically-mediated teaching methods. To understand the main challenges of the transition to different technologically-assisted teaching systems, as well as the applied solutions, we realized three surveys, in a French Institute of Higher Education, with three panels of respondents composed on 14 teachers, 57 students, and 9 administrative personnel. The surveys were conducted through video conferencing and consisted of 15-20 minutes semi-structured interviews regarding the direct experience of respondents during, and as a result of, these transitions. The first survey was realized in February 2020, another one in May 2020, after the adoption of technologically-mediated teaching, and a final one in February 2021, after the start of HyFlex courses. The answers have been transcribed, and then manually coded, in order to identify the main challenges, solutions and best practices of various participants. The results indicate a wide range of experiences and perceptions, mostly determined by the technological literacy of the respondent. The adoption and use of distant teaching technological applications was perceived as more challenging for those who had a limited knowledge and experience in using video-conferencing applications. These differences led to misunderstandings and even conflicts between students and the school personnel, as after a difficult initial start, the students were capable to use much more effectively the distant teaching applications. With time, the situation converged towards an equilibrium, as the school personnel get trained and helped by specialized consultants in distant learning. However, the introduction of the HyFlex courses has created another wave of problems, as the applications used were not adapted to the simultaneous interaction with present and distant students. The study concludes with recommendations that could help to facilitate this transition in other schools.

Keywords: Covid pandemic, distance learning, HyFlex courses, challenges, solutions.


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