Challenges and Interventions of eLearning for Underresourced Students amid Covid-19 Lockdown: A Case of a Zambian Public University
This article reports the challenges of eLearning faced by under-resourced students in a Zambian public university during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. The article further examines the interventions made by the university to mitigate the challenges of eLearning faced by under-resourced students. The article is based on empirical data derived from an online closed- and open-ended questionnaire completed by 73 under-resourced students, and an interview with two university staff. The quantitative and qualitative data collected were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis respectively. The article provides evidence that under-resourced students encountered various challenges related to eLearning categorised under the following interlinked themes: technical, environmental, psychological, sociocultural, financial, and material. Lack of ICT facilities/devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets and desktops), internet, electricity, and support systems were the most critical barriers to eLearning. Findings further showed that the sampled university made efforts to mitigate the challenges faced by students during eLearning amid the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown. However, there were no focused interventions to specifically address the actual challenges under-resourced students encountered. Regrettably, this suggests that the needs of under-resourced students were overlooked. Thus, the authors suggest strategies universities should put in place to uphold the participation of all students during eLearning regardless of the circumstances.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).