Background and Objectives: The biggest challenge posed by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) to educational institutions was the force to make an unexpected transition from face-to-face to online learning. The abrupt closure of face-to-face education led academics towards experiencing "unfamiliar areas" due to the need to adapt quickly to e-learning environments. In advance, the benefits of these environments increased the demand for their usage in higher education. But today, given the special circumstances of the outbreak of the Coronavirus, this sudden change has undoubtedly posed challenges for educational institutions Although these environments provide numerous opportunities for learning, they require the readiness to become familiar with a wide range of technologies, the lack of which, both for teachers and learners and at the organizational level, poses some challenges in the implementation of online learning. In this regard, the present study was conducted to explore the challenges of faculty members in teaching and managing online learning environments.
Methods: The present study was conducted adopting a qualitative method with a phenomenological approach. The target population of the study included the faculty members of Kharazmi University. Data were collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews. The data collection process continued until the theoretical saturation was reached, based on which 19 interviews were conducted. The final reliability and validity criteria were used to confirm the validity and reliability of the data.
Findings: The results of the study led to the identification of the following categories: communication and interaction, presence and engagement, technical issues, quality, skill, evaluation, economic issues, time, and organizational challenges. As an important result, data analysis referred to the synergy and interrelationship of categories and the effects that they had on the quality of online learning. The most common codes were related to the categories of communication and interaction and presence and engagement, which were related to the category of skills and influenceed other categories
Conclusion: The analysis of the interviews showed that, it is possible to reach high-quality online learning by prioritizing these challenges and paying attention to key components. The emergence or consideration of these challenges, as well as their impact on each other, leads us to map the relationship among these challenges. The results of the analysis emphasize the need to pay attention to the sudden changes in the category of time, the emergence of related challenges, and the division of challenges into faculty members-related items individually or in relation to organizational challenges that include skill and quality. Now that the Coronavirus pandemic resulted in the rapid digitalization of higher education around the world, identifying and overcoming the challenges of entering or adapting to online environments is essential to guarantee the quality of the future of higher education.
©2022 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.