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ERIC Number: EJ1379754
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2023
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
EISSN: EISSN-2414-6994
Impact of COVID-19 on Open Universities Worldwide: Case Studies from Asia, Africa and Europe
Hou, Songyan
Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, v18 n1 p92-102 2023
Purpose: The outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020 has had a profound impact on education institutions at all levels. Open universities, with their privileged delivery method, have been in an advantageous position. In the earlier stages of the pandemic, they made remarkable contributions to assuring learning continuity. However, with more and more conventional universities migrating online, great changes have taken place in the field of higher education, and it is imperative for open universities to adjust their strategies in order to maintain their leading role in a technology-enabled education context. This paper aims to examine what challenges have been faced by open universities during the pandemic and how they will transform in the future. Design/methodology/approach: Six open universities in Asia, Africa and Europe were selected as cases in this research to make a comparative study based on the papers in the volume beyond distance education. Similarities and differences among the cases were analyzed in order to identify the developing trend for open universities in the international context. Findings: The results showed that (1) open universities in these regions demonstrated their resilience in the pandemic; examples were that new technologies have been leveraged to implement totally online delivery with short notice and huge amount of learning resources were offered to the society. (2) However, they encountered challenges of delivering fully online examination due to the lockdown and quarantine policies, and open universities in African and the sole private institution suffered financial pressure due to improving information and communication technology infrastructure and staff training. Another challenge was the fierce competition from conventional universities that open universities in Asia and Europe came across. (3) Four main areas were identified for future development in order to respond to the challenges: No.1 is that programs such as health care, psychology, epidemiology, virology, immunology, data analytics, biology and bio-informatics have stimulated interest for African open universities to develop in the future; No. 2 is that open universities were seeking to innovate their teaching formats; short courses, such as micro credentials, might be developed as agile and flexible offerings which are expected to be suitable to learners in the pandemic context; No 3 is that programs and courses for upskilling in the context of digitalization will be implemented; and No. 4 is that lifelong learning is given a higher priority in order for open universities to stand securely in the higher education sector. Originality/value: The study may give open university leaders a quick insight into their future development.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Asia; Africa; Europe
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A