Strategic management is a vital part of every industry; however, the COVID-19 crisis has further escalated the importance of strategic management and adaptability in the higher education industry. The convergence of digital, information and communication technologies coupled with lockdown measures imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic has catalysed the adoption of digital platforms and technologies for online teaching and learning in higher education. This qualitative paper aims to examine the viewpoints of and challenges faced by students and lecturers pertaining to digital platforms and technologies in higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research methodology encompasses the use of a networking approach; 80 interviews were conducted with 38 students and 42 university lecturers in Europe, Australia, North America, and Asia. The selection of a sample was undertaken by
means of a gatekeeper strategy combined with convenience sampling, while the saturation point was used as a benchmark to reach a representative sample size. The results revealed that digital platforms and technologies facilitate a participative teaching style and improve the learning capabilities of students. The results further highlight the fact that break-out rooms, pre-class videos and creative learning activities promote higher levels of student attendance and engagement. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that, despite the significant development of digital technologies and information and communication technologies (ICTs), both lecturers and students prefer traditional face-to-face teaching because it offers greater emotional connectivity. Major challenges unearthed include poor connectivity, a higher incidence of depression, feelings of self-isolation and a lack of emotional engagement. Recommendations and implications for the higher education industry relating to remote learning are presented in the latter part of this paper.
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Dr. Fred A. Yamoah is a senior lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London. He is an experienced academic in further and higher education with a proven record in teaching, research, curriculum development, transnational education, national and international student recruitment, and consultancy, and is passionate about emerging technologies and business engagement. He has served in various capacities in further and higher education, as a vice-principal, programme leader, deputy director of MBA programmes, accreditation and international partnerships director, postgraduate research coordinator, and academic quality nominee, amongst others. Fred has published over 50 refereed journal publications and two book chapters, as well as being a principal investigator for various research projects in the UK and overseas, a journal editor, external examiner, visiting professor and public speaker. He is a fellow of Higher Education. He is a contributing author of ‘Developing Skills for Business Leadership’, a CIPD 2010 publiction, and the forthcoming Palgrave publication on ‘Sustainability in Marketing’. Dr Yamoah is an experienced PhD research development advisor, research supervisor and external examiner.