Distance Education in Tourism and Hospitality amid Covid-19: Perspectives of Students and AcademicsDerya Demirdelen Alrawadieh
The current pandemic has reshaped all aspects of life, and higher education is no exception. Despite the growing interest in how universities are coping with distance education during crises, there is limited knowledge on how such a delivery model is perceived by both students and academics. Drawing on the experiences of tourism and hospitality students and academics, the present study delves into the distance education experience amid Covid-19 identifying its advantages and challenges. In-depth interviews with tourism and hospitality students and academics in Turkey (12 students and 12 academics) were conducted, and the data were analysed using content analysis. The findings suggest that distance education amid Covid-19 has brought some opportunities, but also posited significant challenges. On the benefit side, distance education seems to have provided students with easier access to information/learning materials and more flexibility while enabling tourism academics to dedicate more time to research activities. On the negative side, however, students seem to be unhappy for being deprived of their social life at class and on campus whereas tourism academics raised concerns related to their lecture content being monitored and accessible, thus limiting their freedom of “lecturing their way”. The current study contributes to the growing body on knowledge on distance education in the time of crisis and provides recommendations to different stakeholders in higher education.