Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Shiraz University. Iran


The forced transition to online instruction due to covid-19 pandemic brought about many changes and challenges. Therefore, evaluating these changes is of utmost importance. The study aimed to contribute to the existing literature by investigating the online adaptation of Iranian EFL high-school teachers. Purposive sampling was employed to approach the 20 teacher participants of the study. To this end, the researchers used semi-structured interviews to gather qualitative data concerning their perception towards of online instruction. The results of the study were promising. Although they reported many challenges and shortcomings, they believed those weaknesses motivated them to increase their digital literacy and integrate ICT into their approach. Moreover, teachers saw the pandemic as a forced opportunity and believed it was time to harness the power of ICT integration in post-pandemic education. Finally, all the study findings and possible implications are discussed, and suggestions are presented to prevent barriers to online instruction.


Main Subjects

Ahmady, S.; Shahbazi, S. & Heidari, M. (2020). Letter to the editor: Transition to virtual learning during the Coronavirus disease–2019 crisis in Iran: Opportunity or challenge? Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 14(3), 1-2.
Alam, M. A. (2020). Challenges and possibilities of online education during COVID19. Preprints. 202.
Alves, P.; Miranda, L. & Morais, C. (2017). The influence of virtual learning environments in students’ performance.Universal Journal of Educational Research, 5(3), 517-527.
Atmojo, E. P. A. & Nugroho, A. (2020). EFL classes must go online! Teaching activities and challenges during COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Register Journal, 13(1), 49-76.
Arbaugh, J. B. (2005). Is there an optimal design for online MBA courses? Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4, 135–149.
Ary, D.; Jacobs, L. C. & Sorensen, C. (2019). Introduction to research in education (10th ed.). Wadsworth.
Assareh, A. & Bidokht, M. (2011). Barriers to e-teaching and e-learning. Procedia Computer Science, 3, 791–795. https:// j.procs. 2010.12.129.
Bao, W. (2020). COVID-19 and Online Teaching in Higher Education: A Case Study of Peking University. Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2(2), 113–115. 10.1002/hbe2.191.
Baran, E.; Correia, A. P. & Thompson, A. (2011). Transforming online teaching practice: Critical analysis of the literature on the roles and competencies of online teachers. Distance Education, 32(3), 421-439.
Basilaia, G. & Kvavadze, D. (2020). Transition to Online Education in Schools during a SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic in Georgia. Pedagogical Research, 5(4), em0060.
Bassoppo-Moyo, T. C. (2006). Evaluating e-learning: A font-end, process and posthoc approach. International Journal of Instructional Media, 33, 7-22.
Bisht, R. K.; Jasola, S. & Bisht, I. P. (2020). Acceptability and challenges of online higher education in the era of Covid-19. A study of students’ perspective. Asian Education and Development Studies. Advance online publication.
Brooks, L. (2003). How the attitudes of instructors, students, course administrators, and course designers affects the quality of an online learning environment. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6, 135-149.
Chapelle, C. (2010). The spread of computer-assisted language learning. Language Teaching, 43, 66–74.
Chen, E.; Kaczmarek, K. & Ohyama, H. (2020). Student perceptions of distance learning strategies during Covid-19. Journal of Dental Education. Advance online publication.
Conaway, R. N.; Easton, S. S. & Schmidt, W. V. (2005). Strategies for enhancing student interaction and immediacy in online courses. Business Communication Quarterly, 68, 23–35.
Darling-Hammond, L. & Hyler, M. E. (2020). Preparing educators for the time of COVID… and beyond. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 457-465.
Derakhshan, A. (2021). Emergence distance education (EDE) role in the learning of English language skills during COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching English as a Second Language (Formerly Journal of Teaching Language Skills), 40(3), 41-82.
Ferdig, R. E.; E. Baumgartner, R.; Hartshorne, R.; Kaplan-Rakowski & C. Mouza (Eds). (2020). Teaching, Technology, and Teacher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Stories from the Field. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
Floden, R. E. & Clark, C. M. (1988). Preparing teachers for uncertainty. Teachers College Record, 89(4), 505-524.
Flores, M. A.; Barros, A.; Simão, A. M. V.; Pereira, D.; Flores, P.; Fernandes, E.; … & Ferreira, P. C. (2021). Portuguese higher education students’ adaptation to online teaching and learning in times of the COVID-19 pandemic: personal and contextual factors. Higher Education, 1-20.
Gacs, A.; Goertler, S. & Spasova, S. (2020). Planned online language education versus crisis‐prompted online language teaching: Lessons for the future. Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 380-392.
Gonzalez, T.; de la Rubia, M. A.; Hincz, K. P.; Comas-Lopez, M.; Subirats, L. & Fort, S. (2020). Influence of Covid-19 confinement on students’ performance in higher education. PLoS One, 15(10), e0239490. https:// journal. pone.0239490.
Hadar, L. L.; Ergas, O.; Alpert, B. & Ariav, T. (2020). Rethinking teacher education in a VUCA world: Student teachers’ social-emotional competencies during the Covid-19 crisis. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 573-586.
Hadijah, S. & Shalawati, S. (2017). Investigating teachers’ barriers to ICT (information communication technology) integration in teaching English at senior high schools in Pekanbaru. In Proceedings of the fifth International Seminar on English Language and Teaching (ISELT-5), May 9–10, Vol. 5, pp. 302–310, Universitas Negeri Padang.
Haghighi, M.; Salehi, SH.; Ghasemian, M. & Nouraei, M. (2020). Online Education Strategies Used in Imam Hossein Hospital in Tehran during the COVID-19 Outbreak. Strides in Development of Medical Education, 1-5.
Hampel, R. & Stickler, U. (Eds.). (2015). Developing online language teaching: Research-based pedagogies and reflective practices. Palgrave Macmillan.
Händel, M.; Stephan, M.; Gläser-Zikuda, M.; Kopp, B.; Bedenlier, S. & Ziegler, A. (2020). Digital readiness and its effects on higher education students’ socio-emotional perceptions in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. PsyArXiv. Advance online publication.
Hassani, V. (2021). The Impacts of COVID-19 Pandemic on English Language Teacher Education in Iran: Challenges and Opportunities. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 40(3), 83-116.
Hodges, C.; Moore, S.; Lockee, B.; Trust, T. & Bond, A. (2020). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. Educause Reviewe. Retrieved May 30, faculty/facdev/facdev-article.pdf.
Huber, S. G. & Helm, C. (2020). COVID-19 and schooling: evaluation, assessment and accountability in times of crises—reacting quickly to explore key issues for policy, practice and research with the school barometer. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 32(2), 237-270.
Jacobs, P. (2013). The Challenges of online courses for the instructor. Researching Higher Education Journal 21, 1-18.
Jäger-Biela, D.; K. Kaspar & J. König. (2020). Lerngelegenheiten Zum Erwerb Von Digitalisierungsbezogenen Medienkompetenzen. [Opportunities to Learn Digital Media Competences.] In Bildung, Schule, Digitalisierung [Education, School, Digitalisation], edited by K. Kaspar, M. Becker-Mrotzek, S. Hofhues, J. König, and D. Schmeinck, 66–72. Münster: Waxmann.
Joshi, O.; Chapagain, B.; Kharel, G.; Poudyal, N. C.; Murray, B. D. & Mehmood, S. R. (2020). Benefits and challenges of online instruction in agriculture and natural resource education. Interactive Learning Environments, 1–12. 1080/10494820.2020.1725896.
Kaden, U. (2020). COVID-19 school closure-related changes to the professional life of a K–12 teacher. Education sciences, 10(6), 165.
Kebritchi, M.; Lipschuetz, A. & Santiague, L. (2017). Issues and challenges for teaching successful online courses in higher education: A literature review. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 46(1), 4-29.
Khatoony, S. & Nezhadmehr, M. (2020). EFL teachers’ challenges in integration of technology for online classrooms during Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Iran. AJELP: Asian Journal of English Language and Pedagogy, 8(2), 89-104.
Khattar, A.; Jain, P. & Quadri, S. (2020). Effects of the disastrous pandemic COVID 19 on learning styles, activities and mental health of young Indian students - a machine learning approach, CFP20K74-ART (978-1-7281-4876-2), International Conference on Intelligent Computing and Control Systems, pp. 1190-1195, 10.1109/ICICCS48265.2020.912095.
Ko, S. & Rossen, S. (2010). Teaching online: A practical guide. Routledge.
König, J.; Jäger-Biela, D. J. & Glutsch, N. (2020). Adapting to online teaching during COVID-19 school closure: teacher education and teacher competence effects among early career teachers in Germany. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 608- 622.
Kopp, M.; Gröblinger, O. & Adams, S. (2019). Five common assumptions that prevent digital transformation at higher education institutions. INTED2019 Proceedings (pp. 1448–1457). March 11–13.
Krommer, A.; Wampfler, P. & Klee, W. (2020). Impulse für das Lernen auf Distanz. Ministry of North-Rhine Westphalia: Düsseldorf, Germany, 56-78.
La Velle, L.; Newman, S.; Montgomery, C. & Hyatt, D. (2020). Initial teacher education in England and the Covid-19 pandemic: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Education for Teaching, 46(4), 596-608.
Lapitan Jr, L. D.; Tiangco, C. E.; Sumalinog, D. A. G.; Sabarillo, N. S. & Diaz, J. M. (2021). An effective blended online teaching and learning strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Education for Chemical Engineers, 35, 116-131.
Lawrence, J. E. & Tar, U. A. (2018). Factors that influence teachers’ adoption and integration of ICT in teaching/learning process. Educational Media International, 55(1), 79-105.
Liguori, E. & Winkler, C. (2020). From offline to online: Challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurship education following the COVID-19 pandemic. Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy, 3(4), 346-351.
Limperos, A. M.; Buckner, M. M.; Kaufmann, R. & Frisby, B. N. (2015). Online teaching and technological affordances: An experimental investigation into the impact of modality and clarity on perceived and actual learning. Computers & Education, 83, 1–9.
Liyanagunawardena, T. R. & Aboshady, O. A. (2018). Massive open online courses: A resource for health education in developing countries. Global Health Promotion, 25(3), 74-76.
Lorenza, L. & Carter, D. (2021). Emergency online teaching during COVID-19: A case study of Australian tertiary students in teacher education and creative arts. International Journal of Educational Research Open, 2, 100057.
Luyt, I. (2013). Bridging spaces: Cross-cultural perspectives on promoting positive online learning experiences. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 42, 3–20.
Maggio, L. A.; Daley, B. J.; Pratt, D. D. & Torre, D. M. (2018). Honoring thyself in the transition to online teaching. Academic Medicine, 93(8), 1129-1134.
Maria Assunção, F. & Anja S. (2020) The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on teacher education, European Journal of Teacher Education, 43:4, 453-456, 10.1080/02619768.2020.1824253.
Mishra, P. & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers’ college record, 108(6), 1017-1054.
Mohammadimehr, M. (2020). Letter to the editor: E-learning as an educational response to COVID-19 epidemic in Iran: The role of the learner support system. Future of Medical Education Journal, 10(3), 64-65.
Moorhouse, B. L. (2020). Adaptations to a Face-to-face Initial Teacher Education Course ‘Forced’ Online Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Education for Teaching 1–3. 10.1080/ 02607476.2020.1755205
Morris, K. V.; Finnegan, C. & Sz-Shyan, W. (2005). Tracking student behavior, persistence, and achievement in online courses. Internet and Higher Education, 8, 221–231.
Murphy, M. P. (2020). COVID-19 and emergency eLearning: Consequences of the securitization of higher education for post-pandemic pedagogy. Contemporary Security Policy, 41(3), 492−505.
Murray, C.; Heinz, M.; Munday, I.; Keane, E.; Flynn, N.; Connolly, C.; Hall, T. & MacRuairc, G. (2020). Reconceptualizing relatedness in education in ‘Distanced’ Times. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 488-502.
O’Brien, W.; Adamakis, M.; O’ Brien, N.; Onofre, M.; Martins, J.; Dania, A.; Makopoulou, K.; Herold, F.; Ng, K. & Costa, J. (2020). Implications for European physical education teacher education during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-institutional SWOT analysis. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 503-522.
Olasile Babatunde, A. & Emrah, S. (2020). Covid-19 pandemic and online learning: the challenges and opportunities, Interactive Learning Environments, 10.1080/10494820.2020.1813180
Paesani, K. (2020). Teacher professional development and online instruction: Cultivating coherence and sustainability. Foreign Language Annals, 53(2), 292-297.
Plonsky, L. & Ziegler, N. (2016). The CALL–SLA interface: Insights from a second-order synthesis. Language Learning & Technology, 20, 17–37.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9(5), 1–6. 10.1108/ 10748120110424816.
Quadri, N.; Muhammed, A.; Sanober, S.; Qureshi, M. Shah, A. (2017). Barriers effecting successful implementation of e-learning in Saudi Arabian universities. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, 12(6), 94–107.
Rajab, M. H.; Gazal, A. M. & Alkattan, K. (2020). Challenges to online medical education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Cureus, 12(7), e8966.
Rasheed, R. A.; Kamsin, A. & Abdullah, N. A. (2020). Challenges in the online component of blended learning: A systematic review. Computers & Education, 144, 103701.
Sahu, P. (2020). Closure of universities due to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on education and mental health of students and academic staff. Cureus, 12(4), 1-6.
Shahnama, M.; Yazdanmehr, E. & Elahi Shirvan, M. (2021). Challenges of Online Language Teaching during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Process Tracing Approach. Teaching English as a Second Language (Formerly Journal of Teaching Language Skills), 40(3), 159-195.
Strielkowski, W. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic and the digital revolution in academia and higher education. Preprints, 2020040290.
Son, C.; Hegde, S.; Smith, A.; Wang, X. & Sasangohar, F. (2020). Effects of Covid-19 on college students’ mental health in the United States: Interview survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(9), e21279.
Tallent-Runnels, M. K.; Thomas, J. A.; Lan, W. Y.; Cooper, S.; Ahern, T. C.; Shaw, S. M. & Liu, X. (2006). Teaching courses online: A review of the research. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 93-135.
Tandon, U. (2020). Factors influencing adoption of online teaching by school teachers: A study during COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Public Affairs, e2503.
Tesar, M. (2020). Towards a post-VOVID-19 new normality? Physical and social distancing, the move to online and higher education. Policy Futures in Education, 18(5), 556-559.
Tyler-Smith, K. (2006). Early attrition among first-time e-learners: A review of factors that contribute to dropout, withdrawal and non-completion rates of adult learners undertaking e-learning programmers. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 2, 73–85.
Van der Spoel, I.; Noroozi, O.; Schuurink, E. & van Ginkel, S. (2020). Teachers’ online teaching expectations and experiences during the Covid19- pandemic in the Netherlands. European Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 623-638. 10.1080/02619768.2020.1821185
Weeden, K. A. & Cornwell, B. (2020). The small-world network of college classes: Implications for epidemic spread on a university campus. Sociological Science, 7, 222−241.
WHO. (2020). Key messages and actions for COVID-19 prevention and control in schools. Retrieved from control- in-schoolsmarch 2020. pdf? sfvrsn= baf81d 52_4
Yeung, D. (2003). Toward an effective quality assurance of Web-based learning: The perspective of distance learning students. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 4(1).
Zhang, W.; Wang, Y.; Yang, L. & Wang, C. H. (2020). Suspending classes without stopping learning: China’s education emergency management policy in the COVID-10 outbreak.
Zhou, L.; Wu, S.; Zhou, M. & Li, F. (2020). School’s out, but class’ on', the largest online education in the world today: Taking China’s practical exploration during the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control as an example. Best Evidence of Chinese Education, 4(2), 501–519.
Zuheir N. Kh.; Soheil S.; Saida A.; Hadi R. & Lotfia A. E. (2020). The Covid-19 epidemic: teachers’ responses to school closure in developing countries, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 10.1080/1475939X.2020.1851752