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Distance learning in 2020: A report card for one institution's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
This research study investigates the response of one institution to the COVID-19 pandemic, located in a region outside of the Kinki and Kanto regions, through a mixed methods approach incorporating both survey and interview data. During the 2020 school year in Japan, many institutions were blindsided by the sudden need for distance learning to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided a safer alternative to face to face (f2f) classes, and a much more desirable response than suspending classes indefinitely. However, this shift to distance learning has brought challenges for instructors and students concerning the implementation of lessons, the responses of students and their performance, and the support of their institutions. This study explores the perceptions of university educators of the response of their educational institution, the response of their students, and future directions in regards to classroom instruction and technology usage in the classroom through a survey and a handful of interviews with participating faculty members. The results of the study show the ways instructors met student needs, common issues in implementation such as use of in-house LMSs and adapting group activities to the online classroom, and calls for a greater need for resources that can support faculty members in preparing, designing, and conducting online courses, as well as provides discussion on ways to implement active learning in online language instruction.