Online learning and teaching during COVID-19: A case study from Oman

Zouhaier Slimi

Abstract


This paper sheds light on the experience of online learning and teaching in Oman in higher institutions under confinement circumstances. The paper targets three primary objectives. First, it seeks to study the challenges of learning and teaching online in Oman.  Second, to identify the opportunities offered by learning and teaching online and thirdto recommend solutions for better learning and teaching processes. The paper uses applied and qualitative methods. The applied method lies in the use of an experiment of 8 weeks of online teaching at the International Maritime College Oman. The qualitative approach lies in the use of students' online interviews, academic staff's online meetings' feedback, and a qualitative survey for both academic staff and students. The survey targeted around 100 participants from the International Maritime College Oman, and Majan College and responses were around 64. Findings have revealed that although online learning and teaching is a novel experience in Oman, it is a challenging experience that has reinforced new styles of learning and teaching. A considerable majority enjoyed the experience as they have since developed independent learning skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills and technological communication and IT skills. However, the significant challenges faced were related to network issues as internet connection in Oman is generally weak. Finally, there was also the challenge of students' cooperation, autonomy and dependency, as well as compliance with educational policies and cultural issues. There were also challenges related to the technological infrastructure of the institutions mentioned above and the readiness of both academic staff and students to implement technology for online teaching and learning.

Full Text:

PDF

References


Al-Ani, W. (2017). International Journal of Adolescence and Youth Alternative education needs in Oman: accommodating learning diversity and meeting market demand Alternative education needs in Oman: accommodating learning diversity and meeting market demand. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 22(3), 322–336. https://doi.org/10.1080/02673843.2016.1179204

Al Shihi, H., Gattoufi, B., & Gulvady, S. (2015). Introducing MOOCs to Universities in Oman – Policies and Regulations – CAS perspective Introducing MOOCs to Universities in Oman – Policies and Regulations – CAS perspective, (March 2015). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320180892_Introducing_MOOCs_to_Universities_in_Oman_-_Policies_and_Regulations-_CAS_perspective

Bhat, A. (2020). Qualitative Research: Definition, Types, Methods and Examples. Retrieved April 27, 2020, from https://www.questionpro.com/blog/qualitative-research-methods/

Common Wealth of Learning. (2020). COL releases Guidelines on Distance Education during COVID-19 | COL. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from https://www.col.org/news/news/col-releases-guidelines-distance-education-during-covid-19

Dudovsky, J. (2019). Applied Research - Research-Methodology. Retrieved April 27, 2020, from https://research-methodology.net/research-methodology/research-types/applied-research/

Ellis, R. (2004). The Definition and Measurement of L2 Explicit Knowledge. Language Learning, 54(2), 227–275. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9922.2004.00255.x

Harris, L., Harrison, D., McNally, D., & Ford, C. (2019). Academic Integrity in an Online Culture: Do McCabe's Findings Hold True for Online, Adult Learners? Journal of Academic Ethics, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10805-019-09335-3

Hart, C. M. D., Berger, D., Jacob, B., Loeb, S., & Hill, M. (2019). Online Learning, Offline Outcomes: Online Course Taking and High School Student Performance. AERA Open, 5(1), 233285841983285. https://doi.org/10.1177/2332858419832852

Lancaster University. (2020). Information - Free Academic Resources during the Coronavirus Pandemic - LibGuides at Lancaster University. Retrieved May 15, 2020, from https://lancaster.libguides.com/freeresources

Ministry of Higher Education. (2020). Ministry of Higher Education-Oman. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://eservices.mohe.gov.om/Student/FindExtUniversity.aspx?culture=en

Moore, J. L., Dickson-Deane, C., & Galyen, K. (2011). E-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same? Internet and Higher Education, 14(2), 129–135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2010.10.001

Murphy, M. P. A. (2020). COVID-19 and emergency eLearning: Consequences of the securitisation of higher education for post-pandemic pedagogy. Contemporary Security Policy, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13523260.2020.1761749

Nicholas, M. (2003). [PDF] A theory for eLearning | Semantic Scholar. Retrieved from https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/A-theory-for-eLearning-Nichols/5a48973737ffdae64de2d130ed042dcee5a0175c

Oman Observer. (2020). MoHE issues new regulations for private colleges. Retrieved from https://www.omanobserver.om/mohe-issues-new-regulations-for-private-colleges/

Oxford Business Group. (2020). The government's sectoral strategy is entering a new phase | Oman 2015 | Oxford Business Group. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/government’s-sectoral-strategy-entering-new-phase

Pei, L., & Wu, H. (2019). Does online learning work better than offline learning in undergraduate medical education? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medical Education Online, 24(1), 1666538. https://doi.org/10.1080/10872981.2019.1666538

Saini, K. D., & Al-Mamri, M. R. S. (2019). Investigation of Technological Tools used in Education System in Oman. Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 1(1), 100003. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssaho.2019.100003

Slimi, Z. (2019). Potentialities of the Finnish Higher Educational Framework for the Middle East: Requirements, Challenges, and Perspectives—Case of Oman. Journal of Education and Learning, 8(3), 69. https://doi.org/10.5539/jel.v8n3p69

Sultan Qaboos University. (2020). Conference Discusses Risk Management Practices – Anwaar. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://anwaar.squ.edu.om/en/2018/02/21/conference-discusses-risk-management-practices/

Sultanate of Oman Educational Council. (2018). The National Strategy for Education 2040.

Tavangarian, D., Leypold, M. E., Notling, K., Roser, M., & Voigt, D. (2004). (PDF) Is e-Learning the solution for individual learning. Electronic Journal of E-Learning 2(2). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228760112_Is_e-Learning_the_solution_for_individual_learning

Telecom Review. (2020). Telecom Review - Omantel moves to support distance learning in the Sultanate. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://www.telecomreview.com/index.php/covid-19-updates/3783-omantel-moves-to-support-distance-learning-in-the-sultanate

The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2020). New schools of thought Innovative models for delivering higher education. Retrieved from https://pages.eiu.com/rs/753-RIQ-438/images/EIUPPQFFinal040520.pdf?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWVdZd1lqVXdOV0U0TnpJMiIsInQiOiJvblVvZGpmVVB4V0FjUjV3YjNzNVU1RWZ5NnJOQWFiV2lxanFOOGlsdWludXpkN0dacDBKXC9CeTNOYlNoM09CNFFUT3FwZXJJa3lwdzZGeGYrTXpoR2xrVGF6M3JpY2x4RUZIejdNT0h0

Thomas, A. (2020). Nearly 40,000 technical college students shift to online learning in Oman – Y Magazine. Retrieved May 6, 2020, from https://www.y-oman.com/2020/04/nearly-40000-technical-college-students-shift-to-online-learning-in-oman/

Times of Oman. (2018). Digital the way forward for education in Oman, says expert - Times Of Oman. Retrieved from https://timesofoman.com/article/128536/oman/digital-the-way-forward-for-education-in-oman-says-expert

UNESCO. (2020a). COVID-19 and higher education: Today and tomorrow.

UNESCO. (2020b). Distance learning solutions. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse/solutions

United Nations. (2019). Sustainable Development Goals .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Retrieved May 2, 2020, from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300

World Economic Forum. (2020). The rise of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic | World Economic Forum. Retrieved May 14, 2020, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/

Yousuf, K. (2020). TRA lifts ban on VoIP calls. Oman Observer. Retrieved from https://www.omanobserver.om/tra-lifts-ban-on-voip-calls/