Background and Objectives: The aim of this study was surevying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Corona virus outbreak in higher education from the perspective of students of the faculty of educational sciences and psychology.
Methods: The present study was an applied one in terms of its purpose and descriptive-survey in terms of the nature of the research. The statistical population of the present study consisted of students of educational sciences and psychology of university of Tabriz; according to the statistics received from the university, therer were 882 students. The Krejcie and Morgan table was used to determine the statistical sample size, based on which 268 participants were included in the sample using the available sampling method. A 79-item researcher-made questionnaire was given to the participants to gather the required data. To this end, after studying the relevant sources and background and interviewing several professors and students, the questionnaire items were extracted and divided into four sections: strengths (S), weaknesses (W), and opportunities (O) and threats (T). The content and face validity of the questionnaire were confirmed drawing on the experts’ opinions, especially the supervisors and advisors. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used to determine the reliability of the questionnaire. The reliability of each of the four components of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats was higher than 0.9, which was considered as an excellent level of reliability. To analyze the data, the proposed SWOT methods of Hossein, Adnan and Hossein (2014) were used.
Findings: The results showed that considering the strengths, the item of informing higher education institutions of their virtual infrastructure deficiencies was ranked as the first with a percentage of normalized weight of 6.83; flexibility in training places with normalized weight percentage of 6.68 was put in the second place; the item related to facilitating access to the content with a percentage of normalized weight of 6.58 was in the third place. Considering the weaknesses, the impossibility of students’ access to the physical facilities of the university with a percentage of normalized weight of 5.35 was ranked as the first; the item of not being able to gain newer and different experiences that can only be acquired by attending universities was the second one with a normalized weight percentage of 5.29. third rank; moreover, lack of affective bonds among between the students and the instructirs was considered as the third item with a normalized weight percentage of 4.92. As regards the opportunities, the possibility of education for employees with a percentage of normalized weight of 5.71 was put in the first place; global learning opportunities for the new generation with a normalized weight percentage of 5.23 was ranked as the second item; the item related to creating integrated e-learning systems in the form of virtual learning environments with a percentage of normalized weight of 5.21 in was considered as the third item. With regard to the threats, the item of physical injuries (eye injury, backache, etc.) with a normalized weight percentage of 5.42 was ranked as the first one; The item related to the decrease of the relationship between the instructors and the students was the second one with a percentage of normalized weight of 5.26; and the item related to a decrease in the student-student interaction with a percentage of normalized weight of 5.21 was ranked as the third one. Finally, internal (strengths and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors were examined and strategies related to strengths-opportunities (SO), strengths-threats (ST), weaknesses-opportunities (WO) and weaknesses-threats (WT) were presented.
Conclusion: According to the results, it is necessary to make the best use of the opportunities provided for e-learning and to develop e-learning infrastructure and expand the interactive learning environments to take advantage of the strengths and opportunities, in order to move education towards a growing and desired direction. In this regard, weaknesses and threats can be reduced by grouping students in accordance with the health protocols, utilizing project-based evaluations, as well as attracting financial resources to strengthen the required infrastructure.
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