Online EAP Courses amid COVID-19: On the Effectiveness of the Vocabulary, Grammar, & Reading Comprehension Components

Document Type : Research Paper

Author

Assistant Professor of TEFL, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

10.22054/ilt.2021.53174.511

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed all universities to offer all programs online, but not all instructors were prepared for such an abrupt transformation. Online education can be very challenging both to the instructors and the institutions and has several subtleties that make it quite different from the face-to-face programs. There exists an urgent need for studies examining the effectiveness of such programs being offered amid the pandemic in comparison with the same courses held face-to-face. As a result, the present study was an attempt to compare the effectiveness of an online EAP course with that of the same course being offered face-to-face in terms of its three components, namely vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension. Sixty-eight students in two groups of online and face-to-face classes took part in this study with a pretest-posttest design. While the two groups were not significantly difference at the onset of the study, the results of the SPANOVAs run showed a significant difference in the case of the grammar component, but not the other two, with the face-to-face group outperforming the online one. The follow-up interviews revealed that learners in online classes often have little interaction with their instructors and peers, and teachers cannot keep learners engaged and active during the class as it is often conducted in the form of a monologue lecture. All this indicates that an online program is not a translation of a face-to-face curriculum into an online format, but it enjoys numerous intricacies that need to be considered by all those involved.

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