Success Stories to Overcome COVID-19 Challenges
The outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic has led to a paradigm shift in higher education around the world. Gulf University (GU) has been successfully dealt with this transition from face to face classroom learning to distance education. In addition to the distance and online academic activities, most of the social activities and administrative operations of GU have been managed remotely.
Thanks to the support and understanding of students and staff, GU continued to provide educational services through online platform during the period. GU has done remarkably well in terms of:
- Redesigning teaching and learning strategies for better student engagement and interaction in digital platform through project, brainstorming, role play, discussion forum, presentation, case study, collaborative work which promoted self-learning and team building
- Restructuring assessment methods suitable for distance education focusing on project-based assessment, performance-based tasks/activities, authentic assessment, reflective report etc. under the approach of ongoing assessment.
- Communicating regularly with students through email, MS Teams and social media and providing academic advising to the students through online platform.
- Using devices like iPad, tablet, Wacom device to illustrate the steps of drawing, on screen demonstration through screen control for design and drawing courses
- Providing online tutorial & workshop to use software for practical courses
- Providing online databases namely, EBSCO Host, ProQuest, eBook Central and Al Manhal serving the programs remotely which includes e-books, journals, thesis, dissertation, newspaper, magazine etc.
- Additional open access online databases were included in the library webpage under Open Access Databases, General References and International Free Download Journals tabs
Admission and Registration
- Online admission (including receiving application, interview, placement test) and online registration (courses) had been implemented consistently during the pandemic.
- Remote academic advising for the best academic progression and support followed with online courses registration.
- Online payment has been arranged while giving the link to the students (via Sadat) for fees payment.
- Students paid admission fees, registration fees, exam fees online successfully.
IT Services and Support
- Once the suspension of study started due to Covid-19 pandemic, IT at GU initiated the use/ installation of Microsoft Teams where online classes are delivered within real time context. GU has already very good practice in virtual learning via LMS Application (MOODLE) and now MOODLE has been integrated with MS Teams.
- IT team provided training and support to both staff and students regarding how to deliver online sessions in MS Teams, how to upload materials, how to access and download material in digital platform, how to conduct online assessment etc.
- IT provided regular technical support to students for reset password, System application, MS Teams, MOODLE, Office 365. In other words, IT supported the students in accessing email, accessing online platform for distance education.
- IT prepared guidelines/user manual to access distance education
The university continued to organize curricular and extra-curricular activities for the students during the pandemic without compromising with the learning experience. For example,
- Conducting range of social and cultural activities and events involving students in MS Teams and Zoom
- Providing training sessions to students for career development via virtual learning environment
- Organizing online career fair to provide opportunity for the students to interact with prospective employers
- Enhancing communication with students more frequently via chat, posts, email, social media and effective academic advising through MS Teams
Research and Community engagement
- GU conducted two days online symposium on “Paradigm Shift in Higher Education under Covid-19 Pandemic: Experience and Challenges’. Thirty-three academicians across the globe from 14 countries participated in the virtual platform to share their experience in online teaching, learning and assessment.
- Research activities and capacity building workshops took place as well during this transition.
- Academic staff published research papers and presented papers in online conference.
- GU continued to connect and network with external stakeholders remotely and involved in community engagement activities within the regulations.