In line with the UAE’s recent directives of enabling Online Learning across all educational institutions, Zayed University achieved tangible results, response, and great interaction in the distance learning experience after the end of the first week, as the faculty members succeeded in holding more than 7718 lectures and meetings via the Internet.
Her Excellency Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development and President of Zayed University joined a remotely held online class last Tuesday (March 25) with 50 ZU Students from the College of Communications and Media Science CCMS.
She applauded the students for their active participation during two separate online classes. She encouraged them all to “Stay patient during these times of adopting a new educational model and act as role models for the community that despite these trying times, education should never stop,” she said.
Her Excellency ensured the students, given the current circumstances, the highest levels of education-quality have been implemented, stressing that the University’s IT and Academic administrators, and among many others, have gone beyond their call of duty to ensure proper remote learning.
She pointed out that the new conditions brought about by the outbreak of the Coronavirus imposed a new culture with a comprehensive human dimension that requires everyone’s solidarity and support, not just nationally but globally as well.
She also reminded the students during the online discussion about the UAE Government prudent decision to promote social distancing to maintain their health and safety.
Her Excellency expressed appreciation to the ZU technical teams, academics, staff, and everyone who contributed and worked hard, and still is, to ensure a smooth educational process through this new approach.
Dr. Belkeis Al Tareb, Dean of the ZU University College, said: “Overall, faculty are reporting good participation in online classes. I had an all-college meeting with over 150+ faculty, and, short of a few hiccups, this turnout was larger than the separate meetings I have per campus.”
Dr. Barbara Harolds, Director of the Center of Educational Innovation at ZU, said, “The CEI team has continued to offer individual consultations and workshops. Faculty interactions have been dropping by each passing day, we are assuming that the previous workshop sessions have given them enough skills to implement online teaching satisfactorily at this stage. We will continue to offer workshops and individualized support during the coming week, including options for faculty to develop the Community of Practice. We also plan to offer bespoke support for Arabic language faculty.”
The University has recorded over 35101 accessed courses on (Blackboard); a asynchronous tool, during the first week.
Speaking to ZU students about their online experience, Nujood Al Faqeer from the college of Technological Innovation CTI, said that didn’t faced any issues with Zayed University distant learning mechanisms. “Our instructors made sure that all of the students understood the instructions, and everything was clear from day one,” she said.
“I attend around four classes on average each day, and my instructors mark our attendance by checking who is online attending the online course at the very beginning of each class, sometimes they even check in the middle of the class,” she added. “If I faced any technical issues I reach out to the professor first and then the technical support team, and I prefer to call not to email.”
Student Hammad Al Hosani, from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said that each professor counts our attendance by our online participation, not just entering the class. “I’ve faced no problems so far, and I am enjoying the new experience. The professor uses the video mode to be more accurate about reaching out the message.”
“The University took a great approach to ensure that education never stops, as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said, especially in hard times and tough circumstances,” he said.
Throughout both campuses, the University has ensured regular sanitization and has upheld the highest precautionary measures and has ensured to raise consistent awareness during this period to avoid the transmission of COVID19 as recommended by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention.