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The phenomenon of learning at a distance through emergency remote teaching amidst the pandemic crisis

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Abstract and Figures

The threat brought about by Corona Virus or COVID-19 had made a huge impact not only on the economic, tourism, and health sectors, but it also hardly hit the education system of the world at large. Specifically, this pandemic crisis had caused the Philippine higher education institutions to abruptly shift to emergency remote teaching (ERT) as a response to the call for continued education despite the global health threat. Using a qualitative phenomenological research design, this paper discusses the lived experiences of five learners who were suddenly immersed in a remote learning context amidst the threat of COVID-19. There were four themes revealed in this study: poor to no internet access, financial constraints, lack of technological devices, and affective or emotional support. Interestingly, findings showed that learning remotely in these trying times is challenging because aside from the existing problems on access and affordability, the emerging concerns on financial stability and affective support contributed to interrupted learning engagement. Moreover, exposing culturally face-to-face learners in the context of ERT can put additional learning pressure. Nevertheless, the need to listen to the students' lived experiences in ERT will provide a lending ear to be heard and a voice for building a pedagogy of understanding about their learning journey in this time of pandemic crisis.
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Asian Journal of Distance Education Volume 15, Issue 1, 2020
Published by EdTechReview (ETR), New Delhi, India
ISSN 1347-9008
This is an open access article under the CC BY-SA license
The phenomenon of learning at a distance through emergency
remote teaching amidst the pandemic crisis
Abel V. Alvarez, Jr.
Abstract: The threat brought about by Corona Virus or COVID-19 had made a huge impact not only on
the economic, tourism, and health sectors, but it also hardly hit the education system of the world at
large. Specifically, this pandemic crisis had caused the Philippine higher education institutions to
abruptly shift to emergency remote teaching (ERT) as a response to the call for continued education
despite the global health threat. Using a qualitative phenomenological research design, this paper
discusses the lived experiences of five learners who were suddenly immersed in a remote learning
context amidst the threat of COVID-19. There were four themes revealed in this study: poor to no internet
access, financial constraints, lack of technological devices, and affective or emotional support.
Interestingly, findings showed that learning remotely in these trying times is challenging because aside
from the existing problems on access and affordability, the emerging concerns on financial stability and
affective support contributed to interrupted learning engagement. Moreover, exposing culturally face-to-
face learners in the context of ERT can put additional learning pressure. Nevertheless, the need to listen
to the students’ lived experiences in ERT will provide a lending ear to be heard and a voice for building
a pedagogy of understanding about their learning journey in this time of pandemic crisis.
Keywords: COVID-19, Emergency Remote Teaching, Emergency Remote Education, Enhanced
Community Quarantine, Pandemic
Although the concepts of online learning (Anderson, 2008; Harasim, 2017; Horzum, 2017; Panigrahi,
Srivastava & Sharma, 2018; Wang, Minku & Yao, 2018), open and distance education (Bozkurt, 2019;
Jung, 2019; Simpson, 2018; Weller, Jordan, DeVries & Rolfe, 2018), and blended learning (Boelens,
De Wever & Voet, 2017; Dziuban, Graham, Moskal, Norberg & Sicilia, 2018) have been slowly
introduced to some Philippine colleges and universities, however, the issues of affordability and
accessibility to some extent still impede wide range integration of technology in the context of education.
In the Philippines, the effect brought about by Corona Virus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 paved the way
for schools to suspend and declare a state of public health emergency. Specifically, the Philippine
Commission on Higher Education or CHEd released COVID advisory no. 5 stating the cancellation of
classes and school activities, including on-the-job-training and internships, from March 9-April 14, 2020.
Nonetheless, the continued increase of local transmission cases resulted for the Philippine government
to extend until the end of April 2020. This also led for CHEd’s issuance of advisory no. 6 that authorizes
higher education institutions (HEIs), who are still using the June-March old school calendar, to
immediately end the semester. Whereas, those schools that are aligned with the August-May new
school calendar were given the autonomy to make judgments on the inclusion of flexible learning and
other alternative means of teaching and learning delivery, such as ERT (synchronous and asynchronous
learning tasks).
Although there are some HEIs in the country who are practicing blended learning (e.g., Lim, 2016;
Mabuan & Ebron, 2016; Resurreccion, 2018), the use of ERT (Bozkurt & Sharma, 2020) for almost half
of the remaining semester in this critical period of our time created unique issues and concerns of
students experiences. Therefore, more than the access to technological devices and the internet, it is
significant to investigate the journey of learners who were prematurely immersed in a remote learning
context. Through listening to their stories and giving voices from their experiences, we can picture out
their lived through learning at a distance in these trying times.
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Alvarez, A. Jr.
During the early years of technology conception in the Philippine education system, most of the
educators are distant in using information and communication technology (ICT) tools, such as
computers, because they think it will replace them soon in classrooms (Acosta, 2016). Educators felt
that face-to-face interaction is still the core of teaching and learning environment where it provides a
rich context of instruction than learning in an online environment (Arinto, 2007; Hill, Chidambaram, &
Summers, 2013). Nevertheless, as it progresses towards the age of disruption in education (Al-Imarah
& Shields, 2019; Andrade, 2018; Hopp, Antons, Kaminski, Oliver Salge, 2018; Quinney, Lamont, Biggins
& Holley, 2017), some educators gradually embrace the idea of bringing technology in the learning
environment. For instance, the case of the University of the Philippines Open University, offers open
and distance e-learning approach in reaching out to its learners. Compare to traditional face-to-face
interaction, online learning provides flexibility (Daniel, 2016; Orr, Weller & Farrow, 2019; Stone,
Freeman, Dyment, Muir & Milthorpe, 2019) which they can access learning resources regardless of time
and distance. This also makes learning more convenient and conducive, for instance, to those who are
residing in remote areas or working professionals.
There were also advocates of online learning that emphasize this approach as a more cost-effective
(Renner, Laumer & Weitzel, 2014) wherein the instructional materials are sometimes made freely open
for learners (e.g., Hilton, 2016; Jemni & Khribi, 2017; Ozdemir & Hendricks, 2017). Although the learning
technologies are becoming part of instructional integration in a face-to-face classroom, it is also no doubt
that in developing countries, like the Philippines, it possesses different challenges like accessibility and
affordability (e.g., Roberts & Hernandez, 2019).
Take for example the case of the higher education system in Nigeria where despite having widespread
usage of technologies in teaching and learning, the country is still lagged behind in the international
digital parameter because it failed to integrate educational technology in the school curriculum (Njoku,
2018). It posits the need to see the significance of utilizing educational technologies to its full extent,
such as inclusion in curriculum, considering that education delivery is moving through momentous
To sum it up, while there is no doubt that some schools are in the modality of bringing physical classroom
in the digital world, problems such as faculty’s knowledge and skills in managing virtual learning
environment possess great threat for learners, since they are mostly products of the traditional learning
environment (de la Pena-Bandalaria, 2007). Compare to developed countries, the Philippines is also
behind in the arena of ICT (Acosta, 2016) such as in terms of affordability and accessibility of technology
devices, and educational technology curricula inclusion, innovation, implementation, and evaluation.
Research design
In the pursuit to understand and explore the experiences of students learning journey in this time of
pandemic crisis, this study uses a qualitative phenomenological research design. Essentially, it
facilitates a deeper understanding of a certain phenomenon being lived through as described by the
participants (Creswell, 2014; Giorgi, 2012). In this event, it is focused on addressing the lived
experiences of five college students learning remotely amid of the global health threat.
The phenomenology claims that to understand human experiences, it requires immersive penetration
of individual’s thoughts and insights through employing interviews or extensive discussions (Creswell,
2009; Giorgi, 2009; Moustakas, 1994). Since these were the actual lived through of the participants who
have all experienced the phenomenon of learning remotely, it facilitates a culmination of interpretation
of their experiences (Campbell, 2011; Creswell, 2009; Willis, 2007). For instance, it involves the actual
establishment of meanings from the views of their lenses which is essential for the researchers to know
deeply where the participants are coming from. Likewise, it provided the researcher to picture out the
situation of my participants from the phenomenon they lived through based on their actual shared
experiences (Creswell, 2014; Giorgi, 2012).
Since this study was conducted during the time of pandemic crisis where the entire island of Luzon,
Philippines was under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the selection of participants was based
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Alvarez, A. Jr.
on the availability of students in one of the top tier university in the country. Specifically, they were
purposively chosen and contacted via online messaging. Although, there were around 12 participants
who were considered to be part of this study, however, 7 of them refused to be interviewed due to
personal and school-related circumstances and conflict with their time availability.
Table 1: Profile of participants
Year level
Area of residing during the time of
pandemic crisis
Type of internet access
Residing with family
Home/wireless internet
Transient/living in dormitory
Mobile data
Transient/living in dormitory
Mobile data
Residing with family
Home/wireless internet
Transient/living in dormitory
Mobile data
The participants’ profile as reflected in table 1 shows that majority of students were in sophomore year.
Before the government declared ECQ, some students had the opportunity to leave the city of Manila,
and back to their home provinces. Unfortunately, some students had been stuck in their respective
dormitories. Since March 9, 2020, these students had no chance to be physically present with their
family because the public transportation system was put under suspension as a preventive measure to
contain the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, all of them claimed to have access to internet connection
but the coverage status or internet speed has been reported to be weak or limited.
Data procedure and ethical considerations
Before the actual interview, the researcher arranged an initial meeting with the target participants
through online messaging if they were willing to share their experiences in learning at distance through
ERT in this time of global health threat. The researcher also took the opportunity to have some chitchat
with them to gain their trust in this study and establish rapport for a smooth flow in collecting my data
(DiCiccoBloom & Crabtree, 2006; Doody & Noonan, 2013). Out of 12 target students to be part of this
study, only 5 had confirmed to participate because of personal or family-related concerns and school
tasks that needed to be accomplished.
Meanwhile, the researcher explained to the participants the overview and focus of this study which is
geared toward investigating their experiences in ERT in this time of COVID-19 health threat. The ethical
consideration, such as ensuring the anonymity of the participants throughout the course of study and
informed consent, was also explained to them (Bricki & Green, 2007; Kaiser, 2009). The actual name
of the participants was anonymized to secure their personal identity and confidentiality (e.g., participant
1 or P1). Likewise, it was explained to them that the interview process will be audio recorded for accurate
transcription of data.
More so, an individual interview using video conferencing was initiated since the entire Luzon Island
was under ECQ and physical mobilization was prohibited. The use of interview approach facilitated an
in-depth understanding of the lived experiences of the participants during these trying times (Kvale,
1996; Patton, 1987). It also helped the researcher to gather detailed thoughts and insights of the
participants by employing one-on-one interviews (Gaskell, 2000; Sonesson, Boffard, Lundberg,
Rydmark, & Karlgren, 2018). Additionally, during the actual interview, the researcher emphasized that
there might be some instances that the details or information shared by them were not sufficient or
lacking, hence, there would be a follow-up question for some participants to elicit information through
online messaging. After the interview process, both parties agreed that all information will be kept
confidential and stored in a protected password file. Further, all raw information was deleted after the
findings were analyzed, presented, and/or published, all raw information was deleted to ensure privacy
and confidentiality concerns.
Data Analysis
After transcribing the data in a Microsoft word sheet, the researcher read the entire initial transcripts to
assess whether the collected data had saturated or there was still a need for follow-ups or clarification
from some of the participants (Boyatzis, 1998). From there, transcripts were manually coded using
Giorgi and Giorgi’s (2003) descriptive phenomenological psychological analysis. For better visualization
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Alvarez, A. Jr.
and coding process, the researcher gradually transferred the transcripts from Microsoft word to excel
spreadsheet. After a series of filling-out the gaps from the initial transcriptions, the researcher re-read
the final transcribed descriptions of students’ lived experiences about learning in ERT environment
despite the country’s impeding public health problem. Getting through this step provided the researcher
the reflective moment to make sense of a whole from their shared insights and perspectives.
More so, the initial codes were translated into psychologically sensitive chunks of expressions to elicit
a detailed representation of codes. In fact, to increase the credibility of my data, the researcher asked
the feedback of the participants about the emergent codes presented (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam,
2002). Aside from the feedback gathered from the participants, the researcher also presented the codes
to his colleagues in the field which increases the trustworthiness of the data (Elliot, Fischer, & Rennie,
1999; Nowell, Norris, White, & Moules, 2017). Thus, a refined general structure of themes of participants’
experiences was reported in the findings of this study and discussed through the lenses from empirical
or related studies (Theron, 2015).
Four themes emerged in investigating the lived experiences of learners who were prematurely exposed
to ERT. These themes were: poor to no internet access, financial constraints, lack of technological
devices, and affective or emotional support.
The first theme that was reported talks about poor to no internet access. The majority of the participants
described the notion of internet accessibility as a challenge rather than an advantage on their part. For
them, access means being able to connect in a timely and quality network of connectivity. They
emphasized that despite having a widespread increase in internet infrastructure, especially in urban
areas of the country, it is no wonder that having reliable internet access is still far behind to achieve.
Participant 1 (P1) expressed his disappointment because he cannot download the files which were
necessary to comply in one of his courses. He also illustrated how bad his experiences during their
synchronous ERT, to wit:
“It was really disappointing on our part because our wireless internet connection is a
failure. I just want to share a story of our online class engagement last time. I am telling
you, it was really terrible because of connectivity lag issues. I cannot even understand
what my professor was explaining. It was all blurred. I don’t think I can learn and survive
online class at this very moment.”
Further, participant 3 (P3) and participant 4 (P4) shared their thoughts that they had a nightmare
submitting the due ERT assignments because of failure to connect in the internet. These instances
made them agitated to search for other avenues for accessing files to be uploaded and downloaded.
“Since I am a transient student here in Manila, there were times that I can download
and upload files easily, while most of the time, it was really difficult to connect in the
internet. I remember there was an instance that we have to submit our online task in
Canvas, and yeah, I requested my landlord if I could connect in the dormitory’s internet
connection, since I am just using mobile data.” (P3)
“After the announcement of enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila, I rushed
to go home in our province in Cavite. As expected, I had a hard time to connect in our
online platform. I don’t know what the problem is. I mean we are in this COVID-19 threat,
but I guess the internet providers should increase their connectivity bandwidth
considering our schools comply us to continue engaging in different learning tasks.”
The theme of financial constraints implies students’ budgetary issues in managing their remaining
savings which affect their learning compliance. Since the ECQ was in place and the majority of Filipino
workers are considered to be daily wage earners, this resulted to no work, no pay scheme which
affected some stranded students to budget their remaining allowances. In fact, some of them had
borrowed money from their dorm mates just to sustain their necessities as well as buying mobile internet
load to stay them connected in their continued learning tasks.
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Alvarez, A. Jr.
“I remember during the first day of government’s declaration of enhanced community
quarantine, I panicked knowing that I will be stranded in my dormitory and have to
comply with the online learning tasks. My problem now is budget for internet connection.
Considering we are under enhanced community quarantine, my dad was also asked by
their company not to report from work until the governement lift the lockdown. It also
came to a point that I borrowed money from my dorm mate since she have extra money
that time. I used the borrowed money to buy load for internet connection and buy
goods.” (P2)
In the same scenario, P5 recalled that being stuck in dormitories during these trying times was a difficult
situation. Aside from ensuring to tie up their budget in essential things, such as foods, electricity, and
water bills, they still have to give priority in making sure that their mobile phones have internet data to
be connected in school and/or course learning announcements.
“I was stuck for almost two months now, and still have to comply with school
requirements via Canvas. Although there were changes in submissions like providing
us extensions, but I still have to set a budget for internet data. As you all know, prepaid
internet load is quite expensive which makes it more difficult for us because our parents
temporarily stopped from their work due to this crisis.” (P5)
Additionally, the lack of technological devices was also reported by some participants. For P3, she
shared that the use of a smartphone is not enough because some files are too large to handle. There
was an instance where she asked her dorm mate if she can borrow her laptop for an hour or two just to
comply with her pending learning tasks.
“There was this incident that I can no longer manage the files that I downloaded from
our online platform, and so I asked my dorm mate, who that time was having siesta or
nap. Luckily, she lend me her laptop for about two hours.” (P3)
Additionally, P5 talked about her disappointment having been hopeless to comply with ERT activities
because she cannot afford to buy a laptop for school purposes. P5 recalled that since the school was
closed, she has no other option but to maximize and use her smartphone.
“Not all students are lucky or have the capability to afford a computer desktop or laptop.
Since our school’s e-library was closed as well as the nearby computer shops, there
was no other way for me to manage my online learning tasks but simply to use my
smartphone. It just saddens me that the school cannot understand the situation of their
marginalized students in this time of pandemic.” (P5)
The last theme that was perceived by almost all participants focuses on the need to have affective or
emotional support. In this time of pandemic crisis, they expressed their voices that they do not want to
be left behind. Considering some were stuck in dormitories, while others were at the comforts of their
home, however, all of them were searching for emotional security and support. P1, P2, and P4 shared
that learning amid public health emergency was not their priority because they feel that they have
primary obligations to fulfill such as assuring that their families, relatives, and friends are healthy and
secured against the threat of COVID-19.
“I cannot get the point that our school needs to continue learning in the middle of this
COVID-19. We are not in normal times. What we need right now is to feel us safe,
especially our families. My parents are old and I think they are considered vulnerable
to acquire COVID. To be honest, I am having a hard time to process everything.” (P1)
“Although our school gives us allowance to submit our learning requirements even after
the school year, but I am not still comfortable to learn and comply at this very moment.
I feel that I am not emotionally prepared to the so called new normal. I am all alone right
now in dormitory, and I am having nightmares which hinders me to fulfill my school
responsibilities. I really miss my family.” (P2)
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Alvarez, A. Jr.
“It made me sick to think that COVID hinders me to learn. At this very moment, I don’t
feel that I am safe. I don’t think that continuing to study our lessons in this time of crisis
is necessary. I am mentally and emotionally stress right now.” (P5)
Likewise, they expressed their emotional concerns that as COVID-19 cases increase in the country,
their learning concentration was also being disrupted. Some escape from these emotional struggles by
chitchatting with friends and staying connected with families and loved ones. This, somehow, helped
them to release emotional pressures.
“I wanted learn, but this virus made me anxious. Aside from ensuring that I am safe
from this disease, I also stay connected with my parents and friends through sending
text messages. Talking to them made me feel safe and sound. ” (P3)
The untimely pandemic health crisis caused by COVID-19 paved the way for learning institutions, most
especially in developing countries, to prematurely immerse their learners in an extreme learning situation
through ERT. The first theme that was reported discusses the notion of poor to no internet access. This
reflects that despite massive telecommunication infrastructures being undertaken in the Philippines, the
issue of reliable and quality internet coverage is still far behind to achieve due to duopoly of
telecommunications, geographical disparities and limited budget allocation in remote areas (Roberts &
Hernandez, 2019; Vera & Bresnahan, 2017). While some scholars claim that the beginning of 21st
century also starts the era of disruptive age (Al-Imarah & Shields, 2019; Andrade, 2018; Hopp et al.,
2018; Quinney et al., 2017), many of the developing countries are still struggling (Acosta, 2016) to make
ERT an accessible for everyone.
The shared lived experiences of learners about access is an evident of the current digital divide
(Milakovich & Wise, 2019; Van Dijk, 2017) that has been experiencing in this time of the pandemic crisis.
The gap between individuals who do have and who do not have internet access is widen. There were
instances where students have to go to the convenience store to reload for a mobile data which is risky
considering the stay at home policy of the government and the threat of COVID-19. Whereas, those
students who have the internet access are much favorable to comply with the remote learning
requirements than those who are struggling for an internet access. Aside from today’s reflection of the
Philippine ICT, it is also noteworthy to discuss how education puts more emphasis on learning
traditionally and setting aside the uniqueness of open and distance education. This pandemic justifies
that a sudden shift from traditional classroom instruction to ERT can bring disaster on part of the
students’ learning process. Regardless of whether the participant lives in an urban or rural area, having
strong internet access is believed to be a challenge for everyone (e.g., Roberts & Hernandez, 2019;
Vera & Bresnahan, 2017). Essentially, while higher education institutions continuously imposing their
students to comply through synchronous or asynchronous tasks, it is significant to consider other modes
of learning delivery, such as the use of modular-based, and not just only solely relying on the online
Meanwhile, the theme of financial constraints reflects that learning in these trying times threatens the
financial capability of every Filipino family. In the 2018 study reported by the Philippine Institute for
Development Studies, it was emphasized that about 40% of the Philippine’s household income is
considered to be a middle-income class, whereas low-income class comprises 58% of working
households (Albert, Santos & Vizmanos, 2018). Nevertheless, these two income blocks are also the
ones who were hardly hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The no work, no pay system hinders them to continue
for a living which in return affects their lifestyle including sending financial support to their children.
Consequently, the effect of implementing a nationwide ECQ made the economic activity paralyzed, thus,
some families or even the student itself tend to borrow money just to sustain learning remotely.
This also calls for another theme that emerged in the findings that talks about the lack of technological
devices. As a developing nation, even prior to this untimely global health threat, the problem of
affordances to educational technological tools has been existing for quite some time (Wagner, 2018). In
the 2017 report of Philippine Statistics Authority, it was revealed that only 22% of Filipino households
have a computer device. Needless to say, this issue puts additional purchasing pressure on part of the
consumer to afford these technological devices. In this time of pandemic crisis, where learning is
believed that it can be accessed through an online platform, hence, it emphasizes that only the privileged
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Alvarez, A. Jr.
students can have the opportunity to learn at a distance. Those who are lacking the right technological
devices might be left behind. This narrates the stories shared by some participants that despite
movements for inclusivity, the chain of technological affordability holds some students back towards
learning opportunities for all.
More importantly, in this time of COVID-19 phenomenon, students are no longer focused on learning
and getting passing marks on their courses because they are socio-emotionally disturb and interrupt.
They are searching for safety and security in this time of pandemic crisis. Needless to say, beyond
school compliance, they are longing for affective or emotional support. Regardless of whether they are
stranded or not, it is believed that support from family, faculty, and school management is highly
regarded as an essential escape from this pandemic phenomenon. This posits that aside from content-
based learning, schools must also respond to the call for providing psychological or emotional presence
to their students (Bozkurt & Sharma, 2020; Carver, 2020).
The faculty members should step-up and let the student feel their socio-emotional presence especially
in this difficult period of our generation. For instance, they could ask their students if they are still doing
well and what learning remedies or alternatives they could agree as a class, and not just a one-way ERT
approach. Significantly, since we are not in a normal situation, learning should not be highly regarded
as a matter of grades and content-based, but pedagogy of compassion and care must be present all the
time (Bozkurt & Sharma, 2020).
Conclusion and Suggestions
Although the findings of this study do not intend to make generalizations, nonetheless, lending my ears
and listening to the shared lived experiences of the students in learning remotely provides opportunities
in voicing out their learning journey in these trying times. Also, the findings of these experiences from
the perspectives of learners showed a glimpse that continued learning in the middle of COVID-19
phenomenon requires collaborative understanding, support, and compassion. Likewise, a sudden shift
from a fully traditional learning environment to ERT is considered to be problematic and suicidal. It is no
wonder that prior to this untoward event, the existence of issues on accessibility and affordability has
been a nationwide problem. Therefore, immersing learners from a culturally face-to-face design together
with impending issues on reliable internet coverage, high cost of technological devices, and financial
constraints can cause learning disruptions.
Hence, this suggests the need for academic policymakers, such as the Philippine Department of
Education and Commission on Higher Education, to create ways in making learning inclusive and
accessible for all. For instance, the ERT delivery should not be confined synchronously, but they can
also make innovations like asynchronous teaching and/or worksheets/modular approach. Likewise,
higher education institutions should consider where the students are coming from. We might have
different walks in life, but this pandemic knows no status. Listening to the students’ experiences and
giving voice to the unheard are essential in rethinking academic policies. As for a new normal in
education, it would be essential if the colleges and universities will allocate budget for faculty training in
teaching remotely. Additionally, the need to invest in different modes of instructional designs will also
be integral, especially during trying times, to ensure proactive movements in instructional innovations
and teachers’ training and development. Lastly, I believe it would also be essential to examine the lived
experiences of academic staff who taught at a distance in this time of global health crisis to determine
as well the challenges and lessons they had learned from ERT. This might help the academic
policymakers and institutional academic managers to determine the extent of both students and
academic staff’s experiences during the pandemic crisis which would, somehow, can serve as one of
the bases of comparison in crafting a model or framework for teaching and learning at a distance.
I would like to thank Dr. Hajji Palmero, Education Program Supervisor of Department of Education
MIMAROPA region and graduate school professor, and Mr. Russell Ventura, Ms. Katty Villariasa, and
Ms. Joan Opiano, K-12 teachers and part-time instructors in higher education, for serving as my mentors
in completing this study. Also, to Dr. Harold John Culala, Dean of the Institute of Education at Far
Eastern University, for his endless support and guidance.
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About the Author
Abel V. Alvarez, Jr.; or; Far Eastern University,
Philippines; (Corresponding Author)
Suggested citation:
Alvarez, A. Jr. (2020). The phenomenon of learning at a distance through emergency remote teaching
amidst the pandemic crisis. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 144-153.
... The absence of face-to-face instruction brought a new wave of academic and emotional challenges and issues among students (Alvarez, 2020). In doing so, teachers provide coping strategies to manage predicament and crucial situations, either in a behavioral or cognitive manner (Adams & Wegener, 2011). ...
... Based on the responses, it is important to note the role of advisers to which students and parents largely depend on the learners' progress. Building rapport is one of the basic ways to build up a student-teacher-parent relationship (Carrillo & Flores, 2020), thus, even in the absence of face-to-face interaction teachers must get to know their own learners (Alvarez, 2020). In addition, the respondents even expressed the importance of each stakeholder like the guidance counselors to come up with appropriate ways for teachers and parents in dealing with the concerns of the students. ...
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The presence of different modalities or flexible learning became the current trend in education because of the Covid 19 pandemic. This is to address the needs of the learners without delimiting the objectives and necessary skills even amid pandemic. This study was conducted to explore the lived experiences of teachers during the Covid 19 pandemic upon the implementation of flexible learning. Phenomenological interpretative research utilizing an in-depth one-on-one interview method was employed. 10 teachers in the Junior High School Department were considered participants of the study. The result reveals that teachers experienced both positive and negative towards the implementation of flexible learning. Most of the teachers enhanced their skills thru the conducted seminars and webinars. However, teachers struggled in communicating with parents and students especially addressing the non-submission of outputs. This study concludes that even during pandemic, teachers were able to cope up with the challenges and hindrances in the teaching and learning process.
... The closure of educational institutions and the quarantine process in many countries was soon followed by the beginning of virtual or digital education processes (Daniel, 2020). The transition to ERT usually shocked institutions, teachers, and students (Rapanta et al., 2020), which led to the inevitable need to explore new ways for teaching and learning (Abel, 2020). The educational practices during this process are usually expressed by using various terms such as distance education, e-learning, and online education; however, these terms do not fully reflect the process implemented during the COVID-19 interruption. ...
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Throughout the period of pandemic, many studies have been conducted on emergency remote teaching (ERT) in different fields and from different perspectives, which reveal that there has been a lack of a comprehensive map showing the rapid and continuous responses of these studies to the process. The purpose of this research is to analyze open access research on ERT using bibliometric method, and to reveal current trends in this field. VOSviewer software was used for data analysis; the data collection process was shaped using the PRISMA framework. 238 studies were included in the analysis. The distribution of the open access studies analyzed in the field of emergency remote teaching by year, type of publication, subject, country, and sources was examined; citation analysis (by journal and publication), authorship patterns and collaboration, common word analyses are included. It was found out that these open access publications mainly consisted of journal articles and were dated 2020 and 2021; most of the publications were in the field of educational sciences. Based on common word analysis, the most important topics that are addressed in studies on the ERT process are the process of pandemic, distance education and higher education, while the challenges experienced regarding teachers and pedagogic issues during the process, teacher education, student-related characteristics (such as self-regulated learning-motivation-academic success) and participation are found to be frequently studied topics. The concepts of instructional design, collaborative learning, social presence, and assessment are also among the topics covered. It is anticipated that the implications for policy and practice based on the examination of research trends will have a significant effect on the structuring of future online learning environments, as well as the ERT designed for emergencies.
... The upgrading of its mode of delivery, focusing its attention more on emerging technologies had to take place. [6] The switch from conventional education to virtual education had its consequences; the teachers were unprepared to take up the new challenge. They lacked the resources and the knowledge to engage in the process. ...
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This research aims to evaluate the challenges in facilitating online teaching for secondary education during the Covid-19 pandemic based on a case study in the western province of Sri Lanka. With the pandemic, teachers had to face many challenges concerning online teaching, as they were unprepared for the remote teaching process that was to follow. For this research, teachers were able to give an account of their experiences, challenges, and the sacrifices that had to be made in adapting to this new method of teaching. A mixed method of data collection and analysis was used in this research, as both quantitative and qualitative methods in combination would provide a better understanding of the research problem enhancing the validity of the results. Through the findings of this research, it was revealed that most schools and their teachers had embraced online teaching amid the many challenges during Covid-19. Thereby measures had to be taken to overcome and mitigate the effects of these challenges faced in online teaching, making it possible for teachers to deliver an online education for students that is on par with other technologically advanced education systems.
... The time this study was conducted could be considered a period of academic disruption. According to reports, students suffered significant difficulties with technology access, financial stability, and emotional support (Alvarez, 2020;Cahapay, 2020;Tria, 2020). As a result, interventions had to be implemented. ...
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We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... Digital transformational learning is required to develop each society member's ability to live and work productively in a changing economy (García-Morales, Garrido-Moreno & Martín-Rojas, 2021). Because of the Covid-19 problems that hit the world at a vital time, students are agitated about instructional resources, funding, data, and continual teaching and learning (Abel, 2020), this has been the root cause of student activism over time in the university. ...
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Student activism has been a crucial force for social change in universities. To this end, students around the world have been at the forefront of movements to promote democracy and human rights. In recent years, student activism has been used to fight social inequality, funding problems, balancing political ideologies, promises and quest for identity, especially among the subalterns, people of colour formerly colonised and those facing systematic, epistemic, cognitive, and structural exclusion. While the fight at first value appears noble, desirable, and doable, the praxis of student activism in the 21st century among some countries in the Global South, most especially in Africa, presents ambivalence marked with thuggery, arson, and criminality. Universities in Africa have become unsafe sites for students, academics, and other stakeholders. It is against this background that the book was conceptualised with the intention to problematise destructive student activism. The book documents various case studies in the African continent on how students have practised, re�imagined and reconstructed to ensure the relevance of universities in peace-making initiatives. Thus, this research-based book argues that in the midst of student unrest within universities, alternative situational responses are available, doable and achievable, underpinned with critical consciousness, geared to make universities relevant to meet the demands of the 21st century’s sustainability needs.
... In the Philippines, not every student can provide and adapt to the rapid advances in technology in today's digital age (Alvarez, 2020), especially for developing countries in which education is plagued by problems even before the pandemic. A study by Rotas and Cahapay (2021) and Santos (2020) revealed that despite the efforts to make education accessible for all, there is still a digital divide among Filipino students, and other difficulties are still confronting Filipino university students in the practice of remote learning, such as online and blended modalities (Rotas andCahapay, 2021 andSantos, 2020). ...
... This also make students to adapt more slowly than expected (Purwanto, et al., 2020). Additionally, Alvarez (2020) adds that lack of infrastructure can be in a form of poor internet connection which further lead to struggles and discomfort to learn. ...
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Covid-19 outbreak has brought a great disruption to instructional process. Needless to say, the goal of instructional process needs to shift from student centred learning to promoting learner autonomy. Yet, it is important to conduct a study which learn the students’ capacity to be autonomous. This present study aims at investigating learners’ autonomous learning capacity during this outbreak. The researcher employed a mix method design where the data obtained were presented in both quantitative and qualitative perspectives. There are total 30 higher education students chosen to be the subjects of the present study. The data were gathered through different instruments; questionnaire and semi structured interview. The questionnaire comprises five major aspects in measuring learners’ capacity in autonomous learning. In order to achieve the credibility of the data, the researchers’ employs triangulation of data. The results of the study showed that learners have the capacity of autonomous learning to some extent. Learners are quite self-directed in the aspects of defining content and progression, monitor the procedure of acquiring knowledge, and doing self-evaluation. Meanwhile, the aspects of setting objectives and selecting method to learn need to be improved. The findings imply that optimization of learning is a must despite all boundaries that challenge both learners and educators.
... The current pandemic changed the current educational landscape not only in the Philippines but also in the global arena. Most schools shifted from face-to-face classes to emergency remote education as a potent mechanism of adapting to the pandemic situation and as part of their commitment to providing continued teaching and learning services to students (Alvarez, 2020a;Bozkurt & Sharma, 2020;Corcuera & Alvarez, 2021c). To illustrate, the locale of this study recalibrated the design of NSTP 1 and 2 courses and transitioned its teaching and learning delivery to asynchronous online learning approach. ...
With the advances in technology, many aspects of life including education have taken a sharp turn towards a very wide availability of knowledge and materials.
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Esta obra es un producto derivado del apoyo del Programa para el Desarrollo Profesional Docente de la Secretaría de Educación Pública (PRODEP) y del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (SNI). Agradecemos la participación de los autores pertenecientes a las siguientes instituciones: Sistema de Universidad Virtual de la Universidad de Guadalajara, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, UNED Costa Rica, Universidad de La Habana, Ministerio de Educación Superior de Cuba, VARONA, Centro de Estudios para el Perfeccionamiento de la Educación Superior.
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Online study is generally associated with the terms flexible and flexibility. Many students choose to study online specifically for the flexibility that is offered, hoping they can combine their studies with multiple other responsibilities in their lives. For students living in regional and rural areas, such flexibility can be even more important, given the additional difficulties they face in accessing campus facilities. While a flexible learning environment has the potential to contribute positively towards equity in higher education, this equity can be compromised when university policies and processes that have been designed for on-campus students are applied equally to online students. This paper examines the experiences of a group of regional and rural Education students who have chosen to study online, to a large extent because of online learning's promised flexibility. Their experiences demonstrate that equal treatment may in fact undermine flexibility and result in an inequitable student experience.
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Coding is a ubiquitous part of the qualitative research process, but it is often under-considered in research methods training and literature. This article explores a number of questions about the coding process which are often raised by beginning researchers, in the light of the recommendations of methods textbooks and the factors which contribute to an answer to these questions. I argue for a conceptualisation of coding as a decision-making process, in which decisions about aspects of coding such as density, frequency, size of data pieces to be coded, are all made by individual researchers in line with their methodological background, their research design and research questions, and the practicalities of their study. This has implications for the way that coding is carried out by researchers at all stages of their careers, as it requires that coding decisions should be made in the context of an individual study, not once and for all.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on children’s education. Because of school closures, instruction has moved online. This move to digital learning has brought with it significant barriers and challenges as evidenced by news articles and observations from teachers and students. Administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, lunch workers, business partners, and volunteers are banding together to meet the needs of students in this time of crisis.
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Emergency remote teaching in a time of global crisis due to CoronaVirus pandemic “Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster” Jim Wallis
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The adoption of open, online, flexible and technology-enhanced modes of learning (in short: of OOFAT) differs by higher education institution, despite the general cries of revolution and disruption due to digitalisation. This paper presents a new conceptual model for framing difference in three key educational processes (content, delivery and recognition) related to the potential of digitalisation to make these processes more flexible and more open. It is based on the results of a global survey of 69 higher education providers. The findings reveal six distinct archetypes of technology-enhanced higher education which vary according to the extent to which digitalisation is harnessed for content, delivery and recognition, and suggest different institutional strategies of digital adoption. It is hoped that this contribution will support comparative analysis of digitalisation strategies and peer learning between institutions.
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Education has over the years moved from one stage of development to the other with its peculiarities and challenges. There have also been series of innovations, strategies and policies based on the changes in the society. Some of these changes require technological approach which usually poses challenges because the country, like other developing countries, is ill-prepared and unable to immediately address each educational challenge as it appears. The paradigm shift, general acceptance of the new move or model in global technological education, government policies and massive enrollment for e-education and e-learning by the learners, the attitudes of all concerned in the design and full implementation of ICT and e-learning policies in education should be sustained. Some of the students and even the teachers or facilitators may still prefer the print materials which may limit their knowledge, effectiveness and resourcefulness with time. As a result, there is an increase in demand for a more flexible and cost effective means of education through e-education, e-learning or open and distance learning. This has brought a paradigm shift on how people generally view the significance of e-learning for higher education in Philippines.
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As pragmatist, interdisciplinary fields, distance education (DE) and open and distance learning (ODL) transform and adapt themselves according to changing paradigms. In this regard, the purpose of this study is to examine DE and ODL from different perspectives to discern their future directions. The study concludes that DE and ODL are constantly developing interdisciplinary fields where technology has become a significant catalyst and these fields become part of the mainstream education. However, mainstreaming should be evaluated with caution, and there is a need to revisit core values and fundamentals where critical pedagogy would have a pivotal role. Besides, there is no single theory that best explains these interdisciplinary fields, and therefore, there is a need to benefit from different theoretical approaches. Finally, as a result of constant changes, we should keep the definition of both DE and ODL up-to-date to better explain the needs of the global teaching and learning ecosystem.
Responding to the changing landscape of higher education (HE) requires the development and implementation of flexible and imaginative approaches to continually inspire, engage and support academics and professional services staff in delivering high quality student-centred learning experiences. At Bournemouth University (BU), the cross-university Centre for Excellence in Learning (CEL) was created to promote, support and co-ordinate pedagogic initiatives and embed the explicit valuing of teaching and learning into all aspects of university life. It represents a collaborative, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary model with multiple stakeholder voices. Operationalised through the secondment of academics two days a week, and taking a thematic approach, Theme Leaders 'bid' for the secondment, and drive forward an agreed agenda. The BU 'Fusion' corporate strategy promotes clear links between Pedagogy, Professional Practice and Research, complemented by the current CEL themes of: Employability; Innovation in Technology Enhanced Learning and Innovative Pedagogies; Assessment and Feedback.We believe that the sustainability and creativity required to deliver this agenda are promoted through the building of strong networks, the sharing of challenges and the collaborative development of solutions, however, as academics moving into the realms of learning development, our roles and identities are constantly being challenged, contested, and reframed by the responses of peers, students and our wider disciplinary roots. This paper offers a model for mapping and managing change and optimising these and other 'disruptive' practices within HE institutional settings, and considers the flexible and blended academic identities that facilitate this approach.
Open and distance education or ODE is complex in nature and scope as it involves a wide range of nontraditional ways of teaching and learning that are mediated by various media and technologies. Several theories of ODE have been developed or borrowed to help ODE researchers organize, summarize, and explain knowledge, develop meaningful research questions and carry out empirical studies needed in the field, and to support educators to develop optimal strategies of ODE. This chapter briefly describes the development and changes in concepts and modes of ODE, presents an overview of ODE theories of the book in a historical context, and explains key features of the book.