Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 8256-8262
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.1954
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Distance education is an interdisciplinary field that aims to continue education by eliminating the space and time limitations between learner, instructor, and learning resources with the help of technological applications and devices. Most of the stakeholders of the education, particularly in the higher education have had big challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic including how to continue teaching and learning, how to teach core skills of the majors, and how to demonstrate professional and practical skills in various situations. Hence, most of the students in the higher education have different needs to learn by means of the distance learning.

In Turkey, all courses at the beginning of the COVID-19 process and a certain proportion of the courses during the normalization period were conducted through distance education with the help of distance education centers of each university. With the help of new technological applications that will emerge in the future, it is desired to benefit more from the advantages of distance education by reducing its disadvantages. As a result of this, it is thought that it will cease to be a supportive method and become the main educational practice. The spread of distance education brings with it some advantages and disadvantages. Within this context, various aspects of distance education are being examined by studies conducted, and it is discussed how this method could be improved.

This study aims to evaluate the attitudes and opinions of 1,220 students studying at different departments at Istanbul University in terms of their demographic characteristics. As a result of the analysis, significant differences were obtained in terms of gender, age, grade level, department of education, and time spent on the Internet in order to improve the distance learning. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is clearly understood that there should be a strategic shift from a traditional Distance Learning to more advance interactive and engaging Distance Learning Environment. More importantly, the students' engagement in the interactive Distance Learning Environment play important and crucial roles from emotional, behavioral, and cognitional standpoint. Amond all these standpoints, the emotional engagement is the most important one since it creates an ecosystem in which the students feel the sense of belonging in the community. This sense of belonging experiences in the community help university students in establishing the feeling of being together while they diminish the distance among their friends. It is no doubt that this feeling of belonging to the community affects students’ level of engagement which improve their academic, social, cultural, and emotional adjustment like before the COVID-19 as if they were in the classrooms and university environment. AS a result, the psychological factors have critically affected the other internal factors, such as having close friendship, that change their engagements. Additionally, the sociocultural background also affects this engagement of belonging while they are improving their learning. Hence, the dynamism of the Distance Learning Environment have created important impacts ob the higher education students’ interactions with peers, teachers, and diverse learning opportunities. Even in some cases, the interactions among participants have improved by using other technological softwares, such as Whatsapp, in which each participant can find a voice.
Distance Education, University, Higher Education, University Students, Statistical Analysis, COVID-19.