EMERGENCY HIGHER EDUCATION DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: UKRAINE’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Keywords:higher education, digital transformation, the COVID-19 pandemic, digitally-based distance learning, educational technology
The article explores how higher education in Ukraine has responded to the COVID‐19 pandemic, particularly in the case of the Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University’s experience. The research provides a comparative analysis of national transformation trends at various levels – HEIs, lecturers and students during two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It covers two timeline periods: March-May 2020 – the 1-st wave (summer semester); October 2020-January 2021 – the 2-nd wave (winter semester). The research reveals the COVID-19 pandemic impact on Ukrainian higher education in 2020. It presents trends in national HEIs transformation, lecturers and students’ perception of education and exams online. Based on the literature review and conducting surveys (514 students/97 lecturers), the study makes it possible to reveal universal consequences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in higher education systems worldwide as well as specific trends in national higher education emergency transition to digitally-based teaching-learning. The research shows that global higher education systems faced the COVID-19 pandemic in different conditions due to various technical facilities, governmental and institutional support, financial investment, digitally competent academic staff, students familiar with educational technology. The “better prepared” higher education systems are likely to cope with the Coronavirus impact easier and transit to digitally-based distance teaching-learning smoothly. Ukrainian higher education met the COVID-19 pandemic unready. Though some national HEIs have managed to re-organise the educational process smoothly and effectively due to the academic staff’s enthusiasm and colossal effort. In this regard, positive and negative trends are revealed in the national higher education emergency transition to digitally-based distance learning. The findings contribute to the investigation of higher education transformation in crisis and confirm that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated higher education digitalisation worldwide.
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