Academy & Industry Research Collaboration Center (AIRCC)

Volume 11, Number 19, November 2021

E-Teaching and E-Learning in Crisis Situations: Their Effect on New Directions
of Thinking in Higher Education


Nitza Davidovitch and Rivka Wadmany, Ariel University, Israel


The COVID-19 year was a difficult and challenging year in all areas of life. The academic world as well was compelled, in a matter of days, to shift from face-to-face learning on campus to e-Learning from a distance, with no adequate preparation. Despite the difficulties generated by e-Learning and students’ many complaints, the Israeli Council for Higher Education and institutions of higher education are preparing for a new era, where online courses will constitute an integral part of studies. The purpose of the study was to examine the attitude of lecturers and students to the benefits and shortcomings of e-teaching with its various aspects from a systemic, multi-institutional perspective. The study included 2,015 students and 223 lecturers from different academic institutions: universities, academic colleges of education, academic colleges of engineering, and private colleges.

The research findings show that only one third of the lecturers expressed a preference for eLearning. With regard to the types of preferred e-lessons: 69% would prefer to teach theoretical classes online, while 42% would prefer to teach exercise classes online. Only 14% would prefer to teach practical classes online, and only 19% would prefer to conduct workshops online. Lecturers were found to have more negative opinions of e-teaching than students: Two thirds of the lecturers (60%) are not happy that e-Learning reduces their interpersonal interaction with the students and among the lecturers. The proportion of lecturers who lament the lack of social interaction is higher than that of students who feel this lack (40%). About two thirds of lecturers noted the lack of social and emotional personal interaction with students and lecturers as one of the main shortcomings of e-Learning. Moreover, most of the lecturers do not perceive eLearning as an advantage with regard to the quality of teaching and learning and only one third of the lecturers were of the opinion that e-teaching is on a higher standard than face-to-face teaching. Only one sixth of the lecturers were of the opinion that e-Learning is worthwhile for students with regard to their ability to handle the studies and the study material or to gain from the lessons. The study indicates the need for perceptual changes among the lecturers, such that they will reexamine the teaching and learning processes and adjust their role and fields of responsibility to the new opportunities provided by the technological tools and learning environment. The success of e-Learning requires suitable pedagogical educational approaches rather than copying teaching patterns from traditional frontal approaches to online teaching patterns. The research findings indicate the roles of the lecturer in the digital era, and particularly the role of the professionals responsible for teaching and learning in academic institutions, primarily with regard to the pedagogical aspects. The system of academic education has proven that beside the difficulties generated during the crisis, distance learning has many advantages such as the ability to study anytime and anywhere, efficient planning, and adapting the courses and study methods to the students. Nevertheless, the research findings prove that there is no alternative to personal contact, encounters between the teacher and students and among the students. E-learning constitutes a unique and powerful solution, but not an exclusive solution, and it is not necessarily appropriate for all disciplines and teaching and learning goals. It appears that combining e-Learning with “face to face” learning can enhance the learning experience, the successes, and students’ achievements. Advance preparation, as well as planning a new daily schedule on campus, might advance lecturers and students, in a gradual and structured way, to the challenging tasks of future teaching.


E-Learning, academic teaching, COVID-19, crisis situations, higher education.