Towards Quality in Distance Education: The First Lessons Learned by Schools During COVID-19 Pandemics
Keywords:distance education, quality assurance, school activity areas, quality criteria groups, secondary school, COVID-19 pandemics
During the initial COVID-19 breakout and related lockdown Lithuanian schools created new pathways of organizing distance education under unprecedented circumstances. The qualitative research focuses on the experiences of Lithuanian schools in organizing distance education during COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 – October 2020, searching for ways to ensure the quality of teaching and learning. The 8 school activity areas need changes during transition to distance teaching and learning: strategy, management and administration; infrastructure of information technologies; digital learning content; digital competencies and continuous professional development; teaching, learning and assessment in the digital environment; a support system for pupils and teachers; partnership, cooperation and networking; and quality assurance. Changes in all the indicated areas lead to the quality of distance teaching and learning. The qualitative research data (expert interviews and focus groups) revealed the importance of school community agreements regarding the choice of technologies and environments, and the need for a national digital curriculum to be created. Quality assurance of the learning process, improvement of digital competences and school community collaboration were among the most successfully changing areas. IT infrastructure, support system, and teaching and learning process were based on very different school or teacher decisions and led to different experiences.
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