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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(2), 644-659.
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A simple solution adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic: Using WhatsApp at a university in Zimbabwe

Kudzayi Savious Tarisayi
Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Everjoy Munyaradzi
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Zimbabwe

The Covid-19 pandemic has altered education across the globe in unprecedented ways. Higher education institutions were forced to rethink and innovate in order to save the academic year under these extraordinary circumstances. This study explored the experiences of students and lecturers at a university in Zimbabwe with using WhatsApp to communicate during these unprecedented times. Drawing from cultural historical activity theory, the researchers analysed the adoption and adaptation of WhatsApp in a postgraduate program. The researchers engaged in a qualitative cyber-ethnography study, wherein data were generated using semi-structured interviews and observations with a purposive sample of five lecturers and ten postgraduate students. The findings established that a simple solution was adopted for the extraordinary circumstances imposed on higher education in Zimbabwe by the Covid-19 pandemic. WhatsApp use proved to be a simple solution that was easy and convenient for both lecturers and students. It supported interaction between lecturers and students at a time when face-to-face was prohibited due to lockdown regulations. The participants had positive experiences with the integration of WhatsApp into teaching and learning during the pandemic. The participants' prior familiarity with WhatsApp was instrumental in its adoption at the sampled university.
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Authors: Dr Kudzayi Savious Tarisayi is a geography lecturer in the Department of Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He holds a PhD from the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. His research focuses on teacher migration, geographic information systems pedagogy and contemporary issues in education.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0086-2420
Email: ktarisayi@sun.ac.za, kudzayit@gmail.com

Ms Everjoy Munyaradzi is a high school teacher in Zimbabwe. She holds a Master of Education degree from Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe. Her research focus is on contemporary issues in education in Zimbabwe and curriculum issues.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1738-0981
Email: evermunyaradzi@gmail.com

Please cite as: Tarisayi, K. S. & Munyaradzi, E. (2021). A simple solution adopted during the Covid-19 pandemic: Using WhatsApp at a university in Zimbabwe. Issues in Educational Research, 31(2), 644-659. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/tarisayi.pdf

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Created 19 June 2021. Last correction: 19 June 2021. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]