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‘LOCKDOWN’ AGILITY OF ACADEMIC STAFF: EXPERIENCES AND PERSPECTIVES

Desireé Cranfield Orcid Logo, Rénette J. Blignaut, Andrea Tick

EDULEARN Proceedings

Swansea University Author: Desireé Cranfield Orcid Logo

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown globally, led to the sudden closure of Higher Education Institutions, catapulting them into preparing for an alternative mode of delivery, to replace the traditional face-to-face mode. Administrators, academic staff as well as students needed to adjust t...

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Published in: EDULEARN Proceedings
ISBN: 2340-1117 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
Published: Valencia, Spain IATED 2022
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa60785
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Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown globally, led to the sudden closure of Higher Education Institutions, catapulting them into preparing for an alternative mode of delivery, to replace the traditional face-to-face mode. Administrators, academic staff as well as students needed to adjust to this sudden and abrupt shift to emergency remote teaching and eLearning. To be able to use often new, and unfamiliar, information communication technologies effectively, requires a variety of competencies over and above the basic technological ‘know-how’ of common tools. Many academics and students were not as aux fait with the communication technologies required for remote teaching and learning. Equitable access to digital technologies also posed a problem. Over the last decade household Internet access has risen in the countries considered (South Africa, Hungary, Wales), however, a small percentage of households still do not have access to mobile devices or the Internet. To consider what impact the changed educational practices had on academics, this qualitative research study conducted semi-structured interviews with fifteen academic staff members, five from each participating country. A cross section of staff members was interviewed, from new academics to seasoned and more senior academic staff members. A framework of eight ‘themes’ guided these interviews, however four will be looked at for this paper, namely (1) Initial reactions, (2) Workload, (3) Wellbeing and isolation, (4) Preparedness, transition, and pedagogy. This research study uses a qualitative research methodology, using Sentiment Analysis and Thematic Analysis to analyse the data. The NVivo software programme as well as a manual text mining process was used to analyse the data. This paper reports on the first phase of the data analysis process, namely Sentiment Analysis. Initial outcomes of the research suggest that extant factors contribute to how academic staff experienced the switch to the online emergency remote learning and working. Staff from all participating universities expressed both negative as well as positive sentiment in terms of their initial reactions, workload, well-being and isolation, and preparedness, transition, and pedagogy, to the emergency eLearning. The research suggests that the sentiment of participants was more negative than positive, however, several lessons can be learnt from both. Keywords: COVID-19, emergency eLearning, remote working, academic staff, higher education.
Keywords: COVID-19, emergency eLearning, remote working, academic staff, higher education.
College: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences