Equity factors during the COVID-19 pandemic: Difficulties in emergency remote teaching (ert) through online learning

Orit Ezra, Anat Cohen*, Alla Bronshtein, Hagit Gabbay, Orit Baruth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Emergency Remote Teaching through Online Learning (ERT-OL) has become the prevalent form of learning at many universities worldwide. At the same time, voices around the world have pointed to difficulties in online learning in general and to concerns regarding educational equity in particular. The current study sought to increase knowledge about specific hindering elements in ERT-OL and about the relationships between these elements from the standpoint of the following equity factors—socioeconomic status, language, and juggling among students who are also parents or working. To this end, the study analyzed 154 open-ended textual statements concerning the difficulties perceived by students at a university in Israel. The qualitative thematic analysis generated a map of hindering elements categorized in terms of a) processes: technology, pedagogy, content, situation and individual characteristics, and b) outcomes: cognitive, affective, social, and physical. The map revealed a mesh of intricate mediating and moderating links whose effect can intensify for each equity factor. On the positive side, seeds of mitigating strategies emerged as well. The study advances knowledge regarding ERT-OL hindering elements and their relationships and provides a better understanding of how these debilitating relationships may be exacerbated when equity factors are considered. Researchers and teachers interested in ERT-OL or in “normal” online learning in the future can use the map as a research and teaching framework to identify inequities and prevent further gaps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7657-7681
Number of pages25
JournalEducation and Information Technologies
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Distance learning
  • Emergency remote teaching
  • Equity
  • Online learning difficulties


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