We know it's hard to be apart. But when the time is right, we'll reunite! These spaces will never forget you, and soon we'll build new memories in every classroom and every hallway at AU.
Dr. Charles Blankson is a Visiting Professor in the College of Business Administration. In the time since AU started delivering courses online, he's witnessed a number of positive outcomes. Not only is student attendance good, but class discussions are also very active. Turns out that AU's Cyber Campus is "located" at the intersection of convenience and quality!
I teach both undergraduates and MBA students and I can confirm that, broadly speaking, students are accommodating and cooperating very well with the online classes. They tell me that apart from being bored at home and longing to be on campus and in classroom, they are enjoying the convenience of the online delivery. While the quality of the teaching has not been compromised, there is clear difference between the online and face-to-face teaching.
– Dr. Charles Blankson, Visiting Professor
Before AU faculty started conducting their online lectures from home, AU Chancellor Karim Seghir had a chance to make a few virtual visits with remote classes.
Our latest video features his encouraging words and great reactions from the students. The most important thing, says Dr. Karim, is that everyone stays home and stays safe. The day will come when we're all back on campus together. For the time being, we'll keep making online education happen.
Dr. Alfreda Stadlin is a Professor with AU's College of Medicine. She has been pleased to see that online course delivery has helped some of her students become more expressive. Those who might have been reluctant to speak up during an in-person lecture now have an easier and more comfortable way to participate in the discussion -- the chat function!
They are less inhibited, which is nice to see. We try to keep spirits up by being positive, smiling at the camera, and joking at times. It's a stressful time for everyone, so we try our best to keep our students connected, communicating, and happy.
– Dr. Alfreda Stadlin, Professor, College of Medicine
Dr. Khaled Aljasmi is an Assistant Professor in AU’s College of Law. Although he is a newcomer to online education, he’s already seen it have a positive impact on the way he teaches and the way his classes learn. The secret to AU's distance-learning success, he says, is that our professors also happen to be great students!
After receiving effective training in a relatively short period of time, we are now connecting remotely just as if we were speaking in our traditional classrooms. We overcame obstacles so quickly! We have to give so much appreciation to our wise government and to AU for making this achievable and for making distance learning beneficial for everyone.
– Dr. Khaled Aljasmi, Assistant Professor, College of Law
Dr. Bilal Ibrahim is the Head of the Department of Foreign Languages in AU’s College of Humanities and Sciences. Prior to commencing online courses, he was concerned that levels of class engagement might diminish.
As it turns out, student interaction remains high and even deeper levels of thinking are being reached. Dr. Bilal maximizes involvement through constant questions, virtual forums, student-led presentations, discussion groups, and social media.
Collaboration is key, he says. It's also important to continuously solicit feedback about what is working well – and what could be better.
If we as faculty try to stretch our imaginations even further, we can give students more opportunities to colloaborate and engage. By so doing, we enable them to take charge of their learning.
– Dr. Bilal Ibrahim, Associate Professor
Dr. Hosam Slama is the Dean of AU’s College of Mass Communication. An expert in impactful storytelling across platforms, he believes the process of online teaching and learning is a testament to the larger story of humanity. The bigger picture, he says, is that technology is advancing the spirit as well as the mind.
The distance learning experience goes beyond the use of a new approach. Rather, it carries a noble human story – one of the desire to achieve and the courage to overcome challenges.
-- Dr. Hosam Slama, Dean, College of Mass Communication
Ajman University's online course delivery continues to be a great success story.
The following statistics demonsrate that our students are remaining deeply engaged in their studies and that our faculty are consistantly providing compelling lectures:
- The average number of lectures per day since March 15: 533.33
- The average number of sessions per day with minimum 20 Attendees: 208.5
- The average number of sessions per day with minimum 50 Attendees: 25.5
- The average number of sessions per day with minimum 100 Attendees: 8.5
One of the many factors that helped position AU for successful online course delivery were the efforts of our Teaching and Learning Center (TLC). Here's what Raed Abu Zitar, Manager of the TLC and Professor in the College of Engineering and Information Technology, says about the experience thus far:
I have seen senior faculty members, who might have been reluctant at first, asking about all the details of Moodle and Blackboard platforms. I have seen how relieved and satisfied they were after they finished their first online class. They are showing high enthusiasm and eagerness to learn more and all of them are happy and content with the students' level of engagement. What could have taken AU months to train faculty members was accomplished in one week.
Clearly AU's teachers are as good at learning as our students are! Next week's blog posts will showcase videos of five different faculty members in action.
Stay home! Stay safe! Stay connected!
Dr. Aiman Salem Abufanas is a lecturer in AU’s College of Dentistry. He is pushing the boundaries of teaching in cyber space by posting links to lectures on his social media accounts. As a result, even AU dentistry alumni have seized the opportunity to learn more!
“This is the beginning of something big,” says Dr. Aiman, who shares and communicates as much as he can on Instagram because "it helps keep my students interested, engaged, and connected.”
Watch Dr. Aiman in action in our latest "Making Online Education Happen" video:
Ajman University has now completed a full week of remote education. Thanks to our agile IT team and our nimble faculty, the technology and pedagogy were ready to go on day one! We’ve been seeing outstanding results ever since.
Here are a few statistics from AU’s first week of Making Online Education Happen:
- 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 minimum 20 Attendees: 253
- The average number of sessions per day with minimum 50 Attendees: 32
- The average number of sessions per day with minimum 100 Attendees: 11
Here’s what two AU professors from the College of Pharmacy had to say about the experience after the first day:
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
Another AU professor has some helpful tips for teachers everywhere:
Students feel more connected when they are able to see their instructor's face rather than just listening to audio. For online teaching to be successful, the course instructor should be completely aware of the handy online tools available to provide an interactive experience. Group activities and pop quizzes help in keeping students engaged. Make your slides speak for themselves through the addition of more images and video files. It is very important to create a collaborative atmosphere between the students themselves, as well as the instructor and students. This can simultaneously boost student retention and performance in the course.
– Dr. Sai Boddum, Associate Professor
In subsequent posts, we’ll be sharing diverse voices and stories from our “cyber campus” as we explore more facets of making online education happen. If you’ve got a story to share about adventures in distance learning, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next story will feature a dentistry professor who is taking online connections to the next level.