COVID-19 and Online Learning Blues: Are Multiple Intelligences out the Window for Second Year Ecotourism Students?

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Dumsile Hlengwa


Universities have had to crash-land into new ways of teaching, learning and assessment amid COVID-19 associated lockdown.  The lockdown forced universities to fast track tele-education, which suddenly invaded spaces where traditional forms of education had been the order of the day.   While both staff and students were overwhelmed by the facilitated plunge, the shock was particularly destabilising for students from rural areas and impoverished neighbourhoods.  The paper investigated COVID-19 lockdown-associated blues for second year ecotourism students at the Durban University of Technology.  Questionnaires were distributed and returned using WhatsApp, email and MS Teams to all 174 students registered for Ecotourism Management 2 in 2020.  As many as 42 fully completed questionnaires were returned on the same day which,  was interpreted by the researcher as an outlet for bottled-in emotions. The study found that students were not ready for online learning due to a number of constraints ranging from lack of laptops, network challenges especially in rural areas, data shortages, household chores that took priority, space constraints, noise and lack of support at home in some cases.  Consequently, they saw online learning as an interim solution than a lasting option for their education.

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