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This study sets out to explore how do online EFL (English as a Foreign Language) instructors perceive their roles and competencies. With this aim, qualitative data were gathered through semi-structured interviews from eight online instructors who teach Basic English Course at a state university in Turkey. Data were analyzed through content analysis with the help of Nvivo software. As a result of the study, five roles and 28 competencies were articulated by the EFL instructors as crucial. Nevertheless, instructors asserted that they cannot perform most of these roles and competencies in their online classes because of the challenges such as poorness of the online platform, interaction problems, lack of student participation, inadequacy of online material support, poorness of technical and technological infrastructure, overcrowded classes, insufficiency of in-service teacher training, and lack of knowledge on online material development, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) skills, integrating technology into teaching, and copyright issues. For a more effective online teaching environment, instructors emphasized the need for a sound technical infrastructure, electronic course content support along with hands-on and continuous professional development training. This study uncovers important implications of the instructional, quality-related and managerial dimensions of online education to be taken into consideration by higher education to create a successful online language teaching and learning environment.
Keywords: online teacher roles and competencies, online teacher qualifications, online English teaching, online English learning
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