Research on Supporting Remote Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "STEM Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 25223

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics and Information Technology, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China
Interests: technology-enhanced learning; student engagement; teacher professional development
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Co-Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Interests: online pedagogy; instructional design; e-learning/blended learning environments

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The global outbreak of COVID-19 has profoundly altered our lives and teaching practices. In response to the control policies introduced as a result of the pandemic, schools and universities in many parts of the world have been forced to close and  conduct instructional activities entirely online. Although the use of educational technology has been advancing for decades, this is the first time that many teachers have taught in a fully online environment, as well as the first time that students have had to learn entirely remotely, through the internet. Thus, many teachers and students may be ill-prepared for the challenges faced by online learning, and they may search for guidelines to inform future teaching and learning activities. Therefore, this Special Issue aims to document the challenges to online learning during the pandemic.

This Special Issue invites submissions of empirical studies that evaluate the efficacy of online instructions, reveal the voices of teachers and students, and, most importantly, have significant pedagogical implications for instructional improvement. Interested authors may consider submitting their high-quality work that addresses topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. Innovative strategies to engage student learning at home;
  2. Redesigning pedagogies (e.g., flipped learning, problem-based learning, self-regulated learning, and cooperative learning) to be used in a fully online environment;
  3. Students’ online learning experience during the pandemic;
  4. Teachers’ experience of teaching fully online;
  5. Approaches to supporting teachers’ online instructions.

Dr. Chung Kwan Lo
Dr. Khe Foon Hew
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • e-learning
  • online learning
  • online pedagogy
  • technology-enhanced learning
  • home-based learning
  • instructional design

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 182 KiB  
Editorial
Editorial for Special Issue on Research on Supporting Remote Teaching and Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Chung Kwan Lo and Khe Foon Hew
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060604 - 14 Jun 2023
Viewed by 654
Abstract
The global outbreak of COVID-19 profoundly altered our lives and teaching practices [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

12 pages, 666 KiB  
Article
Engaging Students in Scientific Practices in a Remote Setting
by Anna Lager and Jari Lavonen
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(5), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13050431 - 22 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1325
Abstract
The goal of science education has shifted from teaching scientific concepts to facilitating students’ active role in making sense of phenomena through engaging in scientific practices (SPs). While engaging in scientific practices, students use and develop core ideas. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a [...] Read more.
The goal of science education has shifted from teaching scientific concepts to facilitating students’ active role in making sense of phenomena through engaging in scientific practices (SPs). While engaging in scientific practices, students use and develop core ideas. The COVID-19 pandemic forced a shift towards online education, stressing the need to explore how SPs are used in a remote setting. This study aimed to investigate upper secondary students’ use of SPs during collaborative work in a remote setting. The study was conducted in two stages. In Stage 1, the researcher designed collaborative assignments according to the SP approach. In Stage 2, students (N = 16) worked on the designed assignments in small groups. Students’ actions on the computer were recorded with screen-recording software and investigated from three perspectives: use of digital resources, use of SPs, and collaboration. Interviews were conducted to understand students’ perceptions and engagement and were analysed by content analysis means. The results indicated that the collaboration actions were intertwined with SPs use and use of digital resources. The challenges faced by students varied by SPs, with developing models and constructing scientific explanations causing the most challenges. We discuss possible strategies to engage students in SPs in online settings. Full article
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17 pages, 4819 KiB  
Article
Do Direct and Indirect Recommendations Facilitate Students’ Self-Regulated Learning in Flipped Classroom Online Activities? Findings from Two Studies
by Jiahui Du, Khe Foon Hew and Liuyufeng Li
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040400 - 15 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1749
Abstract
Self-regulated learning (SRL) is a prerequisite for successful learning. However, many students report having difficulties in completing individual online tasks outside the classroom in flipped learning contexts. Therefore, additional support for students should be provided to help them improve their SRL skills. Studies [...] Read more.
Self-regulated learning (SRL) is a prerequisite for successful learning. However, many students report having difficulties in completing individual online tasks outside the classroom in flipped learning contexts. Therefore, additional support for students should be provided to help them improve their SRL skills. Studies have examined the effects of prompts (e.g., questions) to facilitate SRL but have paid less attention to exploring how different types of recommendations for SRL activities may affect students’ SRL skills, course engagement and learning performance. We conducted two studies using direct and indirect recommendations for 77 undergraduate students in the faculty of education in two flipped classroom courses. The direct recommendation approach suggested specific follow-up SRL activities in various learning tasks, whereas the indirect recommendation approach provided students with general SRL hints but left them to identify what specific SRL activities they should use in the next step. To evaluate the impact of each recommendation approach, we measured the students’ self-reported SRL skills, online behaviors, course engagement and learning performance. The results suggested that direct recommendations were useful in improving students’ engagement in online SRL activities and in sustaining their motivation for SRL, while indirect recommendations played a major role in reminding students of the need to self-regulate their learning. Both types of recommendations could significantly affect the quality of students’ online learning. Finally, we discuss the theoretical and practical implications for future SRL recommendation research. Full article
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13 pages, 6505 KiB  
Article
A Robotic System for Remote Teaching of Technical Drawing
by Yutaka Hiroi and Akinori Ito
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040347 - 28 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1300
Abstract
This paper describes a robotic system that supports the remote teaching of technical drawing. The aim of the system is to enable a remote class of paper-based technical drawing, where the students draw the drawing in a classroom, and the teacher gives instructions [...] Read more.
This paper describes a robotic system that supports the remote teaching of technical drawing. The aim of the system is to enable a remote class of paper-based technical drawing, where the students draw the drawing in a classroom, and the teacher gives instructions to the students from a remote place while confirming the paper drawing. The robotic system has a document camera for confirming the paper, a projector, a flat screen to project a cursor on the paper, and a video conference system for communication between the teacher and the students. We conducted two experiments. The first experiment verified the usefulness of a projected cursor. Eight participants evaluated the comprehensibility of the drawing check instruction with or without the projected cursor, and the results suggested that the use of the cursor made the instructions more comprehensible. The second experiment was conducted in a real drawing class. We asked the students in the class to answer a questionnaire to evaluate the robotic system. The result showed that the students had a good impression (useful, easy to use, and fun) of the system. The contribution of our work is twofold. First, it enables a teacher in a remote site to point to a part of the paper to enhance the interaction. Second, the developed system enabled both the students and the teacher to view the paper from their own viewpoints. Full article
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21 pages, 2772 KiB  
Article
Teachers’ Appreciation of Benefits and Shortcomings of Online and Blended Higher STEM Education
by Iouliia Skliarova, Inês Meireles, Tatiana Tchemisova, Isabel Cação and Natália Martins
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040338 - 25 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
This paper is devoted to identifying online teaching strategies appropriate for blended and face-to-face higher STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. The study is inspired by the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which forced many higher education institutions worldwide to [...] Read more.
This paper is devoted to identifying online teaching strategies appropriate for blended and face-to-face higher STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. The study is inspired by the experience gained during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, which forced many higher education institutions worldwide to shift abruptly to distance education and try many new tools, teaching methods, and strategies. Some of these tools and strategies were abandoned as soon as the lockdown had been lifted and the institutions returned to their regular functioning, but some of them are bound to stay. Certainly, it would be beneficial to include the most valuable of the gained skills and competences in traditional on-campus and blended courses. The study is based on an online questionnaire, addressed to the STEM faculty of the University of Aveiro, Portugal (which is an example of an institution that used to provide face-to-face instruction), whose analysis permits to derive a number of important recommendations. The results are compared with our previous work, where the students’ perspectives were analyzed, and similarities and discrepancies in appreciation of the involved parties are highlighted. This work extends the body of knowledge about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on STEM education by examining the challenges and opportunities faced by teachers. The recommendations derived contribute to improving the learning outcomes of online STEM education in many similar institutions. Full article
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14 pages, 270 KiB  
Article
Collaborative Learning: A Design Challenge for Teachers
by Francesca Pozzi, Flavio Manganello and Donatella Persico
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13040331 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2895
Abstract
This study, focused on collaborative learning approaches, aims to contribute to our understanding of whether and how teachers propose these kinds of activities in their daily practice. Particularly, this study aims to explore teachers’ behaviour when designing such activities for their learners with [...] Read more.
This study, focused on collaborative learning approaches, aims to contribute to our understanding of whether and how teachers propose these kinds of activities in their daily practice. Particularly, this study aims to explore teachers’ behaviour when designing such activities for their learners with respect to different learning settings (i.e., face-to-face and/or blended settings vs. fully online settings). With reference to fully online settings, the Emergency Remote Teaching that took place during the COVID-19 outbreak is used as a reference case. The results of a self-reported survey of Italian teachers (N = 268) are presented. Our conclusions indicate that Italian teachers do propose collaborative learning activities to some extent in face-to-face and/or blended settings as well as in fully online settings, with statistically significant differences both in reference to the approaches adopted and to the (technological) tools used. Nonetheless, the data also indicate that teachers’ design decisions are not always in line with recommendations widely proposed by the collaborative learning research community. Full article
16 pages, 4604 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Online Instructional Approaches for Sustainable Business Education in the Current and Post-Pandemic Era: An Action Research Study of Student Engagement
by Lui-Kwan Ng and Chung-Kwan Lo
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13010042 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2316
Abstract
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed traditional classroom instruction to fully online teaching and learning modes. Higher education institutions in China were among the first to shift to these new modalities. The innovative integration of techno-pedagogies with the advancement of information [...] Read more.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed traditional classroom instruction to fully online teaching and learning modes. Higher education institutions in China were among the first to shift to these new modalities. The innovative integration of techno-pedagogies with the advancement of information communication technologies and multimedia applications made these rapid changes feasible in practice. However, the shift from traditional to fully online instruction was challenging. Student disengagement and learning performance losses due to these pedagogical changes have impacted the sustainability of educational programmes. We used mixed methods with dual-cycle action research to explore better pedagogical solutions. Seventy-six adult students, three teachers and three teaching assistants were involved in our study. Informed by the results of the first action research cycle, gamification was introduced in the second cycle. The gamified flipped classroom approach in the second action research cycle significantly improved student engagement, and their learning performance was sustained throughout the study. Suggestions for flexibility, all-in-inclusive, coopetitive learning, technical support and sustainable learning (F.A.C.T.S.) are proposed as a practical framework for new techno-pedagogical approaches in the current and post-COVID-19 era. Full article
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19 pages, 1761 KiB  
Article
Enriching Traditional Higher STEM Education with Online Teaching and Learning Practices: Students’ Perspective
by Iouliia Skliarova, Inês Meireles, Natália Martins, Tatiana Tchemisova and Isabel Cação
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(11), 806; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12110806 - 12 Nov 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4853
Abstract
In this paper, we aim to identify online teaching and learning practices that would be beneficial for blended and traditional on-campus education within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses. Our university, as well as the majority of higher education institutions worldwide, has [...] Read more.
In this paper, we aim to identify online teaching and learning practices that would be beneficial for blended and traditional on-campus education within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) courses. Our university, as well as the majority of higher education institutions worldwide, has had few to no experience in delivering full online courses before 2020. The teaching process was, however, severely affected and modified by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing an abrupt and unprepared shift towards online education. In this work, we look at the pandemic as causing a very favorable side effect that forced the university to study, test, apply, and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of online education and assessment methods. The study is a result of joint efforts from different departments at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, connected to STEM undergraduate and graduate programs and is based on a questionnaire targeted towards students. In total, 167 valid STEM students’ answers have been collected and analyzed, both quantitatively and qualitatively. As the result, the best teaching and learning practices are identified and the main difficulties and obstacles experienced by students are detected. Some of the problems are common to many higher education institutions, such as the lack of teacher preparation in delivering quality online synchronous and asynchronous classes, technical limitations (network bandwidth/weak equipment), ineffective communication during synchronous classes, gaps in student skills, and low activity of some students and even teachers. We believe that the presented results would allow for improving future on-campus, distance, and blended learning courses, particularly through avoiding less effective teaching and assessment methods and favoring those techniques that students consider more efficient. This ultimately would lead to a more rewarding teaching/learning experience. Full article
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15 pages, 656 KiB  
Article
Mathematics Lecturers’ Views on the Student Experience of Emergency Remote Teaching Due to COVID-19
by Eabhnat Ní Fhloinn and Olivia Fitzmaurice
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(11), 787; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12110787 - 04 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1488
Abstract
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, university closures were commonplace worldwide from March 2020, meaning that lecturers and students had to adapt to emergency remote teaching with little or no notice. In this paper, we report upon the results of an online survey undertaken [...] Read more.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, university closures were commonplace worldwide from March 2020, meaning that lecturers and students had to adapt to emergency remote teaching with little or no notice. In this paper, we report upon the results of an online survey undertaken with university mathematics lecturers during May–June 2020. There were 257 respondents from 29 countries who gave their reactions to emergency remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we focus upon lecturers’ perceptions of how their students coped with this style of teaching, considering any particular difficulties they reported to their lecturers, their attendance at online teaching sessions, and their engagement in a general way. Lecturers reported students struggling with both hardware and software issues, particularly in relation to fast, reliable broadband. Childcare issues also emerged as a challenge for students during this timeframe, as well as students’ personal circumstances in terms of living situations and financial stability. Overall, lecturers reported lower levels of engagement with online learning compared to in-person lectures, which occurred prior to the pandemic. However, four-fifths of respondents were still in regular contact with their students during this time. Many of the studies exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the teaching and learning of mathematics in higher education are small-scale, sometimes single-module studies. Restrictions differed greatly between countries, and indeed between regions, meaning that the results of any regional study cannot be generalised to a more international experience. In addition, the experience of students studying mathematics as their degree programme differed from those who undertook only one mathematics module as part of a science, engineering, or business degree. This paper provides a more global insight into the student experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. By focusing on lecturers, rather than asking students directly, the experiences of those students who may not have engaged with such a study have been included; oftentimes, these students were those who struggled the most with this new format of learning. Full article
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14 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
The Use of Open Educational Resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Qualitative Study of Primary School Mathematics Teachers in Hong Kong
by Chung-Kwan Lo, Ahmed Tlili and Xiaowei Huang
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(11), 744; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12110744 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1929
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching and learning activities had to be conducted fully online. To sustain quality education, teachers could use open educational resources (OERs) available in the public domain to make online mathematics teaching more effective and interactive. However, we currently know [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching and learning activities had to be conducted fully online. To sustain quality education, teachers could use open educational resources (OERs) available in the public domain to make online mathematics teaching more effective and interactive. However, we currently know little about the use of OERs in primary school settings. Therefore, this study seeks to understand their school policies and guidelines on and teachers’ experience of using OERs during the pandemic. Our overarching goal is to provide recommendations on the future development and use of OERs in the context of primary school mathematics education. We employed a qualitative approach and interviewed 13 mathematics teachers from different primary schools. Our findings suggest that teachers tended to rely on OERs more during the pandemic than before. They used OERs to introduce mathematics and to facilitate class interactions in online lessons. However, not all schools had policies and guidelines on the use of OERs in place. Some teachers also encountered challenges when using OERs, such as finding that the resources were unsuitable for school contexts and lower primary school students. Based on the findings, we discuss some possible strategies for the improvement, such as ensuring the suitability of OERs, through developer–teacher collaborations. Full article
13 pages, 746 KiB  
Article
Online Mathematics Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Didactic Strategies, Educational Resources, and Educational Contexts
by Ronnie Videla, Sebastián Rossel, Coralina Muñoz and Claudio Aguayo
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(7), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12070492 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3865
Abstract
One of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been restrictions on mobility and thus the closure of schools. This has had consequences on the teaching strategies of primary mathematics educators who were not familiar with online education. Most schools in Chile have [...] Read more.
One of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been restrictions on mobility and thus the closure of schools. This has had consequences on the teaching strategies of primary mathematics educators who were not familiar with online education. Most schools in Chile have adopted virtual and hybrid classes to continue educational processes. From a quantitative approach with a sample of n = 105 primary school educators and through an online survey, we analyzed how educators implemented the mathematics curriculum during the pandemic using various didactic strategies and educational resources, as well as their respective contexts. The results show that there is a relationship between the level of technical knowledge of teachers, the years of experience, and the types of teaching strategies they use. Likewise, differences were found between educators in rural and urban sectors according to the use of teaching strategies and the types of educational resources used. Regarding the didactic strategies, it is shown that the emerging strategies most used are metaphorical and analogical, whereas in traditional strategies the automation of procedures is imposed. The implications for practice include suggestions and guidelines for improving the training and professional development of mathematics teachers including increasing and strengthening the number and quality of teachers’ didactic strategies and online pedagogical management skills and promoting metacognition through virtual forums. Finally, we discuss the context of the use of didactic strategies in mathematics during the pandemic, analyzing its challenges and opportunities. Full article
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