It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profoundly negative impact on all of us in many different ways and there is a strong desire for life to go back to normal as soon as possible. However, the pandemic has also contributed to Turkish higher education in several positive ways, resulting in a paradigm change.

First has been the sudden shift from the traditional education model to the online one. Although a few Turkish universities were already using distance education, it was not widespread in Turkish higher education. The pandemic has forced Turkish universities to improve their technical infrastructure and teach students online so as not to interrupt their academic studies.

This new situation has also enabled many Turkish academics to learn how to use technology and communicate with their students.

From now on, it may also give rise to a shift in employment strategy at Turkish universities in the sense that institutions may try to employ more technology-friendly academic staff to cope with the demand for those who can teach not only in the classroom but also in an online system. Turkish universities may be more likely to hire academics who are good at preparing online course content, who are always available to answer students’ question and constantly provide them with new material.

From teacher- to student-centred education

Secondly, the move to online teaching at Turkish universities caused by the pandemic has shifted the system from a teacher-centred model of education to a student-centred one. Turkish universities have been trying to achieve this for years in line with the Bologna Process, but it is not an easy job to abandon ingrained habits of teaching.

In teacher-centred education, there is a one-way teaching model in which the teacher is supposed to know everything about the course s/he teaches and enters the class, delivers a lecture and sometimes dictates certain chapters to students in the form of a monologue in which students are usually passive, silent and do not participate in the teaching and learning processes.

In such a system, students usually memorise notes or the chapters given to them and then take their examinations.

In the online system, on the other hand, the teacher is just a facilitator; s/he not only teaches online but at the same time s/he gives the students assignments, asks them to do research, and encourages them to do their homework and write their papers. The teacher is always in close contact with students to help them: that is, s/he constantly guides students, checks their assignments and constantly gives them feedback and comments.

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