University teachers coping with a challenging situation – The transition from conventional teaching to online teaching: Organizational and pedagogical issues




RED Distance Education Journal. Preprints of the special issue «Transition from conventional education to online education and learning, as a consequence of COVID19» [1] 

Gabriel Horenczyk and  Marcelo I. Dorfsman. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

We plan to conduct an educational study in an unusual situation in Israel and in many countries of the world, where universities are forced to switch from conventional (face-to-face) teaching to online teaching overnight.

In the early days of the transition, the feeling is of mobilization and the concerns of most professors, and a great desire to understand the technological tools, some completely new and some familiar (at least some as Moodle) to adapt their teaching to the new environment.

The issues we will address in the research are:

A. Impact of online teaching on the lecturer’s practice during the lock period:

  • Does the online environment cause the lecturer to change the teaching method?
  • Can the lecturer utilize the tools offered to him to innovate the teaching method?
  • Is he just trying to continue the previous method with new tools?

B. Changes in lecturers’ perceptions throughout the semester (or the period this method will last):

  • What are the lecturers’ perceptions of teaching supported by technology tools in general, especially through online teaching?
  • Given that the lecturers did not «choose» to go online, at the end of the period, did these perceptions change?
  • How have they changed? Will the lecturers choose / want to use technology and online teaching tools after the lock period and return to normal?
  • Will the «forced» practice somehow affect his general practice?

C. Best Practices Throughout the study, we can ask certain lecturers to talk about certain lessons that are best practices for them. We can watch the recordings of the lessons or participate as observers in some live lessons.

An analysis of these practices will enrich our pedagogical knowledge of university teaching. We will ask ourselves why constitute best practices, what is the pedagogical innovation of these practices, and to what extent they are affected and – or are the result of the use of tools and a specialized pedagogical-technological environment.

  1. Online lecturer typology: Various lecturers’ responses to the new reality can already be identified today: 1. In agreement and even «submission»; 2. some lecturers see this situation as a challenge and try to teach and offer innovative teaching to students; 3. and others just think of transferring their methods to a new environment if possible and they also say they don’t think this kind of teaching is «the real thing»

From analyzing questionnaires + in-depth interviews and observations, we will try to identify different types of lecturers as they deal with the pedagogical transition, their and  answer to the situation, which will serve as the  basis for analysis.

The study will include quantitative tools (questionnaires to be distributed to all lecturers at the Hebrew University) + in-depth interviews, online lesson observation and an analysis of the Moodle platform of the online courses. This analysis will give us information on both synchronous and asynchronous tools that the lecturers use.

Prof. Gabriel Horenczyk –

Dr. Marcelo I. Dorfsman  –


[1]  Call for contributions for special issue

Transition from mainstream education to online education and learning, as a result of the  COVID-19 pandemic

Deadline to send manuscripts: October 15, 2020

Estimated date for publication: March / April 2021.

Publication norms and guidelines for authors

Presentation and justification. –

As a result of the COVID19 pandemic, in all affected countries, facilities and educational centers have been closed at all levels, and face-to-face teaching activity has been suspended in any of its forms.

Authorities have instructed that online activities be offered as an alternative. This has given rise to a great diversity of options and real situations. We believe that its evolution and outcome can condition the future of education, of states and societies, it can also change the professional and vital perspectives of several generations of individuals.

In Education an emergency situation of a colossal entity has been created. Similar to what happens in Health, in Health Sciences and Life Sciences research.

This urgency alone justifies the need to investigate the consequences of what is happening, so that results can be obtained on the fly that can serve other researchers. Also to serve educational systems to guide their decisions.

We need therefore that all ongoing and future experiencies in this emergency transition to online learning context resulting from the COVID-19 situation, have dissemination channel similar to that of medical or biomedical investigations.

For this purpose, the RED journal has undertaken two initiatives:

  1. To launch a call for a special issue in order to collect empirical research that is being developed. Mainly, the one studying changes introduced in the teaching methodology, instructional design, learning evaluation as a result of the transition from conventional education to online teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 crisis, at all levels.
  2. Dedicate the RED academic blog to post articles preprints for RED. Posts will have only editorial review. The themes will be the same as those indicated in the previous point.

The RED journal has become a clear reference on these topics among not only the publications published in the Spanish-speaking world, but in the general international context as well.

It is important that RED responds to this challenge by providing a monographic issue thatdisseminates the research and experiences that are taking place.

As in previous RED issues, the articles accepted should be of the the following types:

  • development and testing of one or more particular learning technologies or affordances
  • case studies of practices
  • critical annalysis of politics or research
  • longitudinal studies
  • empirical experiments
  • critical review of the literature produced around the educational transition by COVID19

For this issue we have the special collaboration of Dr. Antonio Moreira Teixeira, as invited International Editor.

Dr. Moreira Teixeira has a unique career as an author and expert researcher, Head of the Department of Education and Distance Learning at the Open University of Portugal and former President of the European Distance and E-learning Network (EDEN), from 2013 to 2016.

We call your attentio to the fact that RED, a Journal of Distance Education, is included in the ESCI index of the Web of Science, its work is included in the WoS Core Collection, as well as in Scopus and it has the FECYT quality certificate. It is also indexed in practically all specialized scientific repositories. Therefore, it has a commitment to additional quality, which is already characteristic in a traditional way.

Consequently, the review will be especially thorough in the research methodologies used and in the detection of non-scientific or para-scientific elements. RED does not consider self-report studies as a research method.

The works must comply with the rules on format, style, citation, ethics and plagiarism that can be found in, and will be evaluated with the procedure and deadlines that are also described in

The website to present the originals is

Yours faithfull on behalf of RED editorial boards

Hypoteses RED preprints should be sent to


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