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Special Issue "Managing the Consequences of the COVID-19 in the Every-Day Working, Learning, and Interacting Life"

A special issue of Informatics (ISSN 2227-9709).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Guendalina Capece
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Roma Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
Interests: communication; marketing; business performance; business; business analysis; service; strategy
Dr. Flavia Di Costa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Rome Tor Vergata, Roma, Italy
Interests: research policy; bibliometrics; research evaluation; scientometrics; collaboration; scientific publication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China, a new coronavirus appeared in the form of unknown pneumonia. This was the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic, the causative agent of the COVID-19 disease. As a consequence of this new pandemic, the world is currently witnessing profound changes in everyday life. The infection and the resulting death number forecasts represent an increasing threat to the economics of countries and the lives of people, mainly in the way they work, learn, and interact. In fact, in the last few months, the health emergency and the need for social distancing have drastically changed social habits, and the recurring question the world is asking itself is whether these changes are destined to continue in the future and to what extent. As the acute phase of the pandemic ends and people gradually return to normal life, the greatest challenge that most governments and companies are currently undergoing is the consequences in the way of working, learning, interacting, and in general the social impact of COVID-19 in the medium and long term.

The aim of this Special Issue is to address this question, gathering insights from scholars and practitioners that can help organizations to face this difficult time and complex working landscape generated by the coronavirus crisis. We look for original contributions that nurse the discussion or propose a novel understanding of the changes in the way of working that any private, public, and social organization has to face to survive, to protect its sustainability, and to reframe its value creation mechanisms. Countries’ and organizations’ crisis-response efforts are in full motion, and scholars must contribute to understanding how the way of working is changed and what will never be as it was previously.

The Special Issue will gather contributions related to themes from a range of perspectives. Potential topics include but are not restricted to:

  • What lessons can we learn from the crises so far in the changes to the way of working, learning, and interacting?
  • How can these insights help to better define the new ways of working, learning, and interacting in order to emphasize the positive impacts as well as reduce the negative ones?
  • In which way has the pandemic changed the culture of work, accelerating greater interpenetration of work and private life?
  • Has the pandemic changed the way of working, learning, and interacting forever, or will things gradually return to the way they were before?
  • How can we best understand how to prevent and react to a complete imbalance between work and private life?
  • How have the boundaries of a canonical working day been changed by the pandemic?
  • Will physical offices disappear? Or will the work of the future be more likely a fluid mix of physical meetings and remote collaboration?
  • While it is true that the future of work will be more agile than it has ever been, is it equally true that physical locations with their advantages in terms of ergonomics and relationships will continue to play an important role?
  • How can new technologies help to mitigate any problems linked to the increasingly blurred boundaries between work and private life?
  • Is distance learning as effective as face-to-face learning? How can the two modalities help each other and balance with other aspects of life?
  • What will be the social impact of the COVID-19 in the way people interact and will interact with each other when the pandemic ends?

Prof. Dr. Guendalina Capece
Dr. Flavia Di Costa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Informatics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Sleep Habits during COVID-19 Confinement: An Exploratory Analysis from Portugal
Informatics 2021, 8(3), 51; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/informatics8030051 - 10 Aug 2021
Viewed by 363
Abstract
COVID-19 pandemic consequences are tragic, and many problems will persist after the health problem ends. Some studies have focused on mental health issues, reporting worrying percentages. It is known that there is a bidirectional relationship between mental health and sleep quality, and it [...] Read more.
COVID-19 pandemic consequences are tragic, and many problems will persist after the health problem ends. Some studies have focused on mental health issues, reporting worrying percentages. It is known that there is a bidirectional relationship between mental health and sleep quality, and it would be expected that sleep would be affected by the pandemic. In order to know the Portuguese people’s habits before and during the confinement, we carried out a survey of 188 people aged 13 to 84 (38 ± 15) to find out the most frequent sleep patterns, habits and disorders before and during confinement. With this survey it was also intended to measure the most frequent changes in sleep patterns, habits, and disturbances on the general population and according to demographic data (gender, age group and professional status), sleep disorders arise, perceptions about sleep during confinement and if Portuguese think that in the future the sleep patterns will be the pre or during outbreak. Results indicate that, comparing before and during confinement, there is a slight correlation between gender and sleep disorders (before vs. during), a correlation between age group and professional status time to wake up, and between professional status and sleep disorders, and a strong correlation between the professional situation and changes in the invigorated feeling level (p < 0.001). Support for mental health and interventions to improve sleep quality should be offered to the population in general, and, according to our study, the Portuguese population. Full article
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Article
Working and Learning during the COVID-19 Confinement: An Exploratory Analysis with a Small Sample from Portugal
Informatics 2021, 8(3), 44; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/informatics8030044 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 858
Abstract
The epidemiological situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to efforts to mitigate the transmission of the infection, forcing workers and students to stay at home. Universities closed, as did many businesses, forcing education and work to adapt to the new situation. While [...] Read more.
The epidemiological situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic led to efforts to mitigate the transmission of the infection, forcing workers and students to stay at home. Universities closed, as did many businesses, forcing education and work to adapt to the new situation. While for some people it was a positive experience, for others it was not. This article analyzes the responses of 89 respondents, over 18 years old, in teleworking or enrolled in university online education, in a survey at the beginning of 2021, when Portugal was in a new state of emergency. Variables such as gender, age and parenthood were used, as well as ownership of equipment, own workspace, and quality of internet, comparing distance learning/work with traditional methods and measuring levels of satisfaction and willingness to adopt this model in the future. These results suggest an association of gender and parenting in the valuation of telework/distance education; women were more positive than men and participants with children were more positive than participants without children. The same was the case for respondents with their own workspace and better-quality internet. There is a strong relation between paternity and the preference for the distance model, in the sense of valuing the distance model, as well as a relation between those who have their own work space and the appreciation of the distance model. In general, respondents to our survey showed that they are not fond of adopting telework/distance learning in the future. Full article
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Article
Factors Affecting the Use of Smart Mobile Examination Platforms by Universities’ Postgraduate Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Empirical Study
Informatics 2021, 8(2), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/informatics8020032 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1569
Abstract
Recent years have seen an increasingly widespread use of online learning technologies. This has prompted universities to make huge investments in technology to augment their position in the face of extensive competition and to enhance their students’ learning experience and efficiency. Numerous studies [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen an increasingly widespread use of online learning technologies. This has prompted universities to make huge investments in technology to augment their position in the face of extensive competition and to enhance their students’ learning experience and efficiency. Numerous studies have been carried out regarding the use of online and mobile phone learning platforms. However, there are very few studies focusing on how university students will accept and adopt smartphones as a new platform for taking examinations. Many reasons, but most recently and importantly the COVID-19 pandemic, have prompted educational institutions to move toward using both online and mobile learning techniques. This study is a pioneer in examining the intention to use mobile exam platforms and the prerequisites of such intention. The purpose of this study is to expand the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) by including four additional constructs: namely, content quality, service quality, information quality, and system quality. A self-survey method was prepared and carried out to obtain the necessary basic data. In total, 566 students from universities in the United Arab Emirates took part in this survey. Smart PLS was used to test the study constructs and the structural model. Results showed that all study hypotheses are supported and confirmed the effect of the TAM extension factors within the UAE higher education setting. These outcomes suggest that the policymakers and education developers should consider mobile exam platforms as a new assessment platform and a possible technological solution, especially when considering the distance learning concept. It is good to bear in mind that this study is initial and designed to explore using smartphones as a new platform for student examinations. Furthermore, mixed-method research is needed to check the effectiveness and the suitability of using the examination platforms, especially for postgraduate higher educational levels. Full article
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Article
Academic Activities Recommendation System for Sustainable Education in the Age of COVID-19
Informatics 2021, 8(2), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/informatics8020029 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 887
Abstract
Currently, universities are going through a critical moment due to the coronavirus disease in 2019. To prevent its spread, countries have declared quarantines and isolation in all sectors of society. This has caused many problems in the learning of students, since, when moving [...] Read more.
Currently, universities are going through a critical moment due to the coronavirus disease in 2019. To prevent its spread, countries have declared quarantines and isolation in all sectors of society. This has caused many problems in the learning of students, since, when moving from a face-to-face educational model to a remote model, several academic factors such as psychological, financial, and methodological have been overlooked. To exactly identify the variables and causes that affect learning, in this work a data analysis model using a Hadoop framework is proposed. By processing the data, it is possible to identify and classify students to determine the problems they present in different learning activities. The results are used by an artificial intelligence system that takes student information and converts it into knowledge, evaluates the academic performance problems they present, and determines what type of activity aligns with the students. The artificial intelligence system processes the information and recommends activities that focus on each student’s abilities and needs. The integration of these systems to universities creates an adaptive educational model that responds to the new challenges of society. Full article
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Article
Acceptance of Google Meet during the Spread of Coronavirus by Arab University Students
Informatics 2021, 8(2), 24; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/informatics8020024 - 30 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1760
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected our health and medical systems but also has created large disruption of education systems at school and universities levels. According to the United Nation’s report, COVID-19 has influenced more than 1.6 billion learners from all over the [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected our health and medical systems but also has created large disruption of education systems at school and universities levels. According to the United Nation’s report, COVID-19 has influenced more than 1.6 billion learners from all over the world (190 countries or more). To tackle this problem, universities and colleges have implemented various technologically based platforms to replace the physical classrooms during the spread of Coronavirus. The effectiveness of these technologies and their educational impact on the educational sector has been the concern of researchers during the spread of the pandemic. Consequently, the current study is an attempt to explore the effect of Google Meet acceptance among Arab students during the pandemic in Oman, UAE, and Jordan. The perceived fear factor is integrated into a hybrid model that combines crucial factors in TAM (Technology acceptance Model) and VAM (Value-based Adoption Model). The integration embraces perceived fear factor with other important factors in TAM perceived ease of use (PEOU) and perceived usefulness (PU) on the one hand and technically influential factor of VAM, which are perceived technicality (PTE) and perceived enjoyment (PE) on the other hand. The data, collected from 475 participants (49% males and 51% females students), were analyzed using the partial least squares-structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). The results have shown that TAM hypotheses of usefulness and easy to use have been supported. Similarly, the results have supported the hypotheses related to VAM factors of being technically useful and enjoying, which helps in reducing the atmosphere of fear that is created due to the spread of Coronavirus. Full article
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Review

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Review
Digital Contact Tracing Applications during COVID-19: A Scoping Review about Public Acceptance
Informatics 2021, 8(3), 48; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/informatics8030048 - 22 Jul 2021
Viewed by 618
Abstract
Digital contact tracing applications (CTAs) have been one of the most widely discussed technical methods of controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. The effectiveness of this technology and its ethical justification depend highly on public acceptance and adoption. This study aims to describe the current [...] Read more.
Digital contact tracing applications (CTAs) have been one of the most widely discussed technical methods of controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. The effectiveness of this technology and its ethical justification depend highly on public acceptance and adoption. This study aims to describe the current knowledge about public acceptance of CTAs and identify individual perspectives, which are essential to consider concerning CTA acceptance and adoption. In this scoping review, 25 studies from four continents across the globe are compiled, and critical topics are identified and discussed. The results show that public acceptance varies across national cultures and sociodemographic strata. Lower acceptance among people who are mistrusting, socially disadvantaged, or those with low technical skills suggest a risk that CTAs may amplify existing inequities. Regarding determinants of acceptance, eight themes emerged, covering both attitudes and behavioral perspectives that can influence acceptance, including trust, privacy concerns, social responsibility, perceived health threat, experience of and access to technologies, performance expectancy and perceived benefits, and understanding. Furthermore, widespread misconceptions about the CTA function are a topic in need of immediate attention to ensure the safe use of CTAs. The intention-action gap is another topic in need of more research. Full article
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