An investigation of the prospective teachers' viewpoints about distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic

Distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic



The recent COVID-19 pandemic affected educational systems around the world. In order to prevent the virus from spreading, educational institutions around the world have adapted distance education—universities being no exception.  To ensure that students benefit the most from online teaching, it is necessary to discover views and suggestions of students to align distance education in parallel to their needs. In this milieu, preservice teachers’ views are especially significant for they will implement distance education when they become professional teachers in near future. Thus, the primary purpose of the study was to determine positive and negative aspects of distance education in effect during COVID-19 pandemic, and to uncover suggestions for improving it from the perspective of preservice teachers in College of Education at Aksaray University. A qualitative approach was adapted to achieve the research aim. Data were collected from 214 students registered to an undergraduate program by asking them open-ended questions about their positive and negative views as well as suggestions on distance education. Data were analyzed iteratively as a result of which codes and themes were created. Results indicate that five themes construct participants’ view on distance education: Advantages, Personal Development, Internet Connection, Instruction, Other. Generally, it was found that distance education provided many benefits such as giving chances to students to repeat the material, providing equity in opportunity for students, helping students to gain the habit of time management, being efficient and economical, establishing continuity, being helpful to students who need assistance, and being environment friendly by saving paper waste. On the other hand, it is ineffective due to absence of live lectures, lack of technological devices, internet quota, problems because of infrastructure and family environment.