U.S. Faculty and Administrators’ Experiences and Approaches in the Early Weeks of the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Nicole Johnson Canadian Digital Learning Research Association
  • George Veletsianos Professor & Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology, Royal Roads University
  • Jeff Seaman Director, Bay View Analytics




COVID-19, online learning, higher education



    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and rapid impact on higher education institutions across the world. In this study, we report the findings of a survey investigating the rapid transition to emergency remote teaching in the early weeks of the pandemic at public and private post-secondary institutions in the United States. Participants consisted of 897 faculty and administrators at 672 U.S. institutions. Findings reveal that with few exceptions nearly all reporting institutions transitioned to emergency teaching and learning approaches. Administrators reported that faculty with and without online teaching experience pivoted to online teaching, and nearly all administrators indicated that those who did not have online teaching experience were in the process of learning how to teach online. Regardless of whether faculty had previous experience teaching online or not, many faculty reported that they were using new teaching methods. A majority of faculty reported making changes to their assignments or exams as a result of transitioning to a new mode of delivery. Nearly half reported lowering the expected volume of work for students (including dropping assignments or exams) and/or shifting to a pass/fail model for this semester. The primary areas where faculty and administrators identified a need for assistance related to student support, greater access to online digital materials, and guidance for working from home. This study provides an early snapshot of efforts towards teaching and learning continuity at a large scale and provides some insights for future research and practice.


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COVID-19 and Emergency Remote Instruction