A Case Study Approach to Exploring Resilient Pedagogy During Times of Crisis

Katie Clum, Elizabeth Ebersole, David Wicks, Munyi Shea


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and the ensuing public health crisis, thousands of higher education institutions (HEIs) worldwide have had to grapple with rapid pivots to emergency remote online learning modalities with relatively little time to prepare, and the need to maintain these modalities continues to extend longer than most institutions anticipated. However, this is not the first time HEIs have had to enact an emergency switch to online learning in a time of crisis, and there is perhaps much to be learned from examining the experiences of institutions that have been through this before. Resilient pedagogy is an emerging field in education, but it is intrinsically tied to online learning in a crisis insofar as it describes the ability to intentionally and effectively shift instructional tactics given a change in environment or context. Using a case study approach, this paper explores indicators of resilient pedagogy in emergency pivots to online learning following crisis situations—including the COVID-19 pandemic—in the United States, New Zealand, and South Africa. The data informing this research are qualitative, derived from interviews with faculty members and students in each higher education context. 


resilient pedagogy; emergency remote teaching; online teaching; higher education; COVID-19 pandemic

Full Text:



Aguilar, E. (2020). Coaching for equity: Conversations that change practice. John Wiley & Sons.

Bates, T. (2020, April 7). What should we be doing about online learning when social distancing ends? Online Learning and Distance Education Resources. https://www.tonybates.ca/2020/04/07/what-should-we-be-doing-about-online-learningwhen-social-distancing-ends/

Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Colton, J. S., & Phillips, C. J. (2021). A New Normal in Inclusive, Usable Online Learning Experiences. In T. Thurston, K. Lundstrom, & C. González, (Eds.), Resilient Pedagogy: Practical Teaching Strategies to Overcome Distance, Disruption, and Distraction. Utah State University Libraries.

Czerniewicz, L., Trotter, H., & Haupt, G. (2019). Online teaching in response to student protests and campus shutdowns: Academics’ perspectives. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 16(43). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-019-0170-1

Graham, C. R. (2004). Blended learning systems: Definitions, current trends, and future directions. In Handbook of blended learning: Global Perspectives, local designs. Pfeiffer Publishing.

Grajek, S. (2020, April 10). EDUCAUSE COVID-19 QuickPoll Results: Grading and Proctoring. Educause Review. https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2020/4/educause-covid-19-quickpoll-results-grading-and-proctoring

Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020, March 27). The difference between emergency remote teaching and online learning. Educause Review. https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning

Johnson, N., Veletsianos, G., & Seaman, J. (2020). U.S. faculty and administrators’ experiences and approaches in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Online Learning, 24(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v24i2.2285

Lorenzo, G. (2008). The Sloan Semester. Online Learning Journal, 12 (2), 5-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v12i2.1693

Mackey, J., Gilmore, F., Dabner, N., Breeze, D. & Buckley, P. (2012). Blended learning for academic resilience in times of disaster or crisis. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 122–135.

Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. Jossey-Bass.

Paton, D., & Johnston, D. (2017). Disaster resilience: An integrated approach. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Quintana, R. (2020). Resilient teaching through times of crisis and change [MOOC]. Coursera. https://www.coursera.org/learn/resilient-teaching-through-times-of-crisis

Quintana, R., & DeVaney, J. (2020, May 27). Laying the foundation for a resilient teaching community. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/learning-innovation/laying-foundation-resilient-teaching-community

Schulze, S.S., Fischer, E.C., Hamideh, S., Mahmoud, H. (2020). Wildfire impact on schools and hospitals following the 2018 California Camp Fire. Natural Hazards,(104), 901-925.

SchWeber, C. (2008). Determined to learn: Accessing education despite life-threatening disasters. Online Learning Networks, 12(1), 37-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v12i1.1706

UNESCO. (2020, March 19). Half of world’s student population not attending school: UNESCO launches global coalition to accelerate deployment of remote learning solutions. https://en.unesco.org/news/half-worlds-student-population-not-attending-school-unescolaunches-global-coalition-accelerate

Yin, R. K. (2017). Case study research: Design and methods. SAGE Publications.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v26i2.2695

Copyright (c) 2022 Katie Clum, Elizabeth Ebersole, David Wicks, Munyi Shea

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/