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Volume 20 Number 3, Autumn 2023, Pages 507-753   

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Emergency Remote Teaching: A Temporary Solution to a Permanent Problem

    Zohreh Nafissi & Morvarid Saeedi

Considering the COVID-19 crisis and the sudden shift from face-to-face classes to online ones, universities had to initiate a new phase of educating learners using online platforms, known as ERT (Emergency Remote Teaching). This study aims to uncover the challenges EFL instructors, their learners, and university administrations encountered during ERT through conducting a qualitative case study. Accordingly, twenty-two learners, six instructors, and two administrative staff members who faced difficulties with online instruction during ERT at Alzahra University participated in this research by invitation. The participants were semi-structurally interviewed through social networking platforms (WhatsApp and Telegram) as well as telephone conversations. Subsequently, the collected data were manually coded and subjected to thematic analysis. The study's findings revealed that the inadequate infrastructure of the university, the lack of technical knowledge among learners and professors, unsuitable online materials, absence of training workshops, evaluation challenges, inadequacies of Adobe Connect (the chosen video conferencing platform for Alzahra University's online classes), lack of interaction among learners, overcrowded heterogeneous classes, suboptimal learning environments, and internet connectivity issues were the most significant challenges faced by language learners and instructors during ERT. Additionally, the study identified that the primary challenge for the online department authorities during ERT was addressing instructors' and learners' problems throughout the semester and conducting online exams at the conclusion of the course.

Keywords: Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT), COVID-19, Global pandemic, Online Learning, Higher education