Distance Education in Sweden Prompted by the Covid-19 Pandemic

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och specialpedagogik

Abstract: Aim:This master's thesis problematizes distance education in Swedish upper secondary schools from a school management, teacher, as well as a student perspective. The study aims to capture principals’, teachers’ and students’ experiences of the transition into distance education during school closures prompted by Covid-19 in 2020, and contribute to the body of research on distance education.Theory:Three critical questions proposed by Selwyn (2017) were adapted to explore the transition into distance education in a Swedish Upper Secondary School.Method:Informed by the interpretive paradigm of research, qualitative case study research was used to closely investigate, explore and describe the identified research problem. One survey and eight interviews were conducted to gain insights into principals’, teachers’ and students’ experience of distance education during the school year from March 2020 to April 2021. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis.Results:Results show that the students’ negative experiences of distance education were mainly related to a lack of self-discipline and problems in connection with social isolation. The positive experiences include the emergence of new pedagogical strategies, fast digital development, as well as an increased participation of silent and tech-savvy students who seemed to benefit from the transition. Results also show that building student rapport is challenging in distance education, indicating that the social aspect is an all-important factor.

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