Coronavirus: Universities across UAE go virtual

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Dubai - Guidelines were also drafted and training on how all these should be used were held.



By Saman Haziq

Published: Sun 8 Mar 2020, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:23 AM

Following the government's health precautions against Covid-19, universities and higher education institutions across the country have also ensured their students have all the tools they need to keep up with academic work throughout the long spring break. 
Rabdan Academy, for example, designed teaching programmes and short courses to suit different platforms, using a bundle of teaching tools through face-to-face meetings and online conferences voice and video. Guidelines were also drafted and training on how all these should be used were held.
Dr Faisal Al Kaabi, dean of the Faculty of Resilience at Rabdan Academy, said: "Distance learning is the ultimate solution in times of crises and natural disasters. It helps provide students with all curricula, in case students needed to stay at home. It also enhances their self-confidence and helps them take responsibility for self-learning."
At Murdoch University Dubai, counselling is also part of the equation.
"We will be moving to deliver all of our classes in an interactive, synchronous, online environment during this period. We have also provided students with details concerning remote access to student services, learning support and counselling," it said in a statement.
Zayed University (ZU), which has campuses in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said that for two weeks from March 22, students and faculty will complete educational material via Adobe Connect application for distant learning.
"Teachers can facilitate discussions, present slides, engage with poll questions, foster collaboration amongst students in breakout rooms and much more," said Michael Wilson, university Provost. ZU will reopen classes on campus from April 5.
New York University (NYU) Abu Dhabi has informed students that they will be moving courses, advising and assessment online using their Learning Management System, NYU Classes.
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the arrangements being made to ensure student safety, Dr Vajahat Hussain, Amity Education CEO, said: "The safety of our students is top priority. Amity University held a public seminar a few weeks ago, where parents, students and general public were invited to a panel discussion to learn more about COVID-19 from healthcare professionals. Our schools and university are being disinfected and sanitized four times a day, as part of a suggested sterilization programme for the past week. Hand sanitizers were given to all teachers and kept in common areas. We also stopped all student gatherings like assemblies and break-times to ensure that minimal interaction takes place between students of all ages."
He said majority of Amity students have completed their exams however, the group is in the process of creating a concrete plan for university students with pending examinations.
In order to ensure that the Covid-19 outbreak does not affect the academics, Dr Hussain said the university faculty is also in the process of preparing and recording interactive flipped classes for undergraduate and post graduate students that will be shared with them through our internal student portal.
saman@khaleejtimes.com 


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