Given the uncertainty of how long the COVID-19 Pandemic and the enforced changes it brought about will last, listening to our students’ voices on this unique experience is crucial. We may learn more about our students’ and our own adaptability from how we responded to this global crisis. Based on this rationale, the present study investigated how the sudden shift to online learning, which was enforced as a result of the pandemic, affected students’ academic reading and writing development in an American university in the UAE, when analyzed from their perspectives. The participants were forty-eight L2 students enrolled in the three academic writing classes I taught in Spring 2020. The primary data source was the students’ reflective writing assignments. The analysis of the data revealed a variety of expected and unexpected problems faced by the students, a number of creative coping strategies they developed to cope with their initial sense of shock and other challenges they encountered, as well as some perceived benefits that helped them persevere.
Neslihan Bilikozen, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates