Ajman University Explores Teaching and Learning in Cyber Space

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On March 19, Ajman University completed its first full week of remote education in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Thanks to an agile IT team and nimble faculty, the technology and pedagogy were ready to go on day one. The University has witnessed outstanding results ever since.

To showcase the “Cyber Campus” initiative, AU has created a “Making Online Education Happen”  blog. Daily posts share stories and videos about AU’s dedicated teachers and learners who are keeping the institution’s mission in motion.

“We are committed to providing remote coursework with the same academic rigor found in our classrooms,” said Chancellor Karim Seghir.  “We hope the blog initiative will help keep our broader community of stakeholders connected to AU – and to each other – as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.”

Following are a few statistics from AU’s first week, as featured in the new “Making Online Education Happen” blog:

  • The average number of lectures per day since March 15: 387
  • The average number of participants/learners per day since March 15: 18,947
  • The average number of sessions per day with a minimum of 20 Attendees: 253
  • The average number of sessions per day with a minimum of 50 Attendees: 32
  • The average number of sessions per day with a minimum of 100 Attendees: 11

Here’s what two AU professors  had to say about the experience thus far:

“It was definitely a surprise to me, and a pleasant one! When I logged-in, and started lecturing about ethics in healthcare and resolving ethical dilemmas, my students took the concept of interactive class to the next level! Was it because they are used to social media? Are they more comfortable in their own homes? Whatever the reason was, this experience worked really well. Students interacted and responded readily to my questions – some of which I asked just to ensure that they were with me – and they clearly were having fun! While we had to enter into this experience in haste because of the Corona Virus, I can say, with confidence, distance-learning is here to stay.” – Dr. Nadir Kheir, Associate Professor & Manager of the Student Success Center

I delivered 3 lectures to three sections, each was 90-minutes long. The largest group had 42 students. I started by saying that we miss them, and the University without the students is sad. I informed them that I would ask questions from time to time. I stopped during the lecture and chose several names to ask if they were present. At the end, they asked me to review certain slides. Additionally, I told the students to go to Dr. Samir Bloukh on Youtube to find each lecture after I deliver it.”  – Dr. Samir Bloukh, Associate Professor

In a video message to the AU Community, Chancellor Seghir noted that while online learning is a good and effective temporary solution, it can never replace the benefits and rewards of campus life.

“A robust higher education experience is the sum of many parts – social, physical, and emotional, as well as academic,” he explained. “I look forward to the days when our campus once again serves as a vibrant gathering place for technology and humanity.”