Objective: This study aims to describe experiences of university teachers who transitioned from in-campus to online teaching during COVID-19 pandemic.
Methods: The study had a qualitative descriptive design. In-depth face to face interviews were conducted following informed consent. Sample comprised of eleven faculty members engaged in online teaching, recruited through purposive sampling in a Health Science University in Saudi Arabia. Content analysis of the data was done by employing the Graneheimian inductive approach. Academic rigor was established using standard principles of trustworthiness.
Results: Two main themes emerged as ‘embracing the process’ and ‘identifying gaps’. Two subthemes were within each theme, populated by 12-36 statements.
Conclusion: Faculty members described thoughts and behaviors that shaped their experiences. Student response to online teaching affected preconceived notions. The need to acquire skills and knowledge regarding online pedagogy and technology was indicated.
Online Teaching; COVID-19; University; Faculty; Experiences
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus has affected millions of lives across the globe. All societal components are impacted and several institutions including the educational sector are disrupted. Drastic changes occurred in the field of health science education. In attempts to continue professional education amid the global emergency, faculty members across the globe transitioned to online formats and virtual education . Streamed online lectures replaced large group in-person sessions whereas; interactive webinars substituted small group teaching and tutorials. In many cases, clinical clerkship and hospital rotations for students and interns are also suspended .
In the rush to quickly shift to online education, institutional agility was brought to test. Many higher educational institutes dealt with a huge challenge to prepare their faculty members for online teaching in a short time frame. Instructors, new to virtual education were baffled by the tasks to actively engage and motivate students. Challenges are attributed to novel technology, poor bandwidth internet connections and varying quality of educational video and images . In some cases, organizations merely generated online learning content rather than focusing on online pedagogy. Meanwhile, the need to support students digitally, without compromising on standards of quality education, is sensed across the globe .