Making Online Education Happen.

Human Behavior and Distance Learning: One Lecturer's Journey

Posted by Ajman University on Jun 8, 2020 6:34:25 PM

The almost instantaneous shift from in-person to online classrooms presented extraordinary challenges to teachers and learners everywhere. Alaa Al Amiry, a lecturer in AU's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, saw it as an opportunity to put her understanding of human behavior to the test. Read her observations below to hear the results. 

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The sudden transformation into distance learning, imposed by the recent COVID19 crisis, has created a huge pressure on academic institutions worldwide to create the right infrastructure for uninterrupted, quality academic services, and to ensure a smooth transmission from traditional classrooms into effective online experience. Nonetheless, the issue of maintaining academic integrity during online assessments and virtual exams has remain a difficult challenge for many.

The moment I announced to my students that I’m utilizing “Respondus,” our “WhatsApp” group was flooded with objections and endless arguments protesting and refusing the idea. Understanding human behavior, I was expecting this; therefore, I embraced it: not only am I locking students’ screens, but also requesting that they open their webcams as a condition to take their final exam!

My tactic was straight forward: at first, do not show students that they have other options. Let them first try their best to accommodate with the new rule, in which most of the times they will. Being assertive to your students is crucial to maintain momentum. However, keep in touch and follow up with their concerns.

Fast forward, by the day of the Final Exam, 95.3% of my students (225 out of 236) had downloaded the proctoring software, took the mock exam, and conducted the Online Final Exam via webcams. The remaining 4.7% had technical, social and financial issues beyond their endurance, thus “Make-up” sessions were conducted to them as per the policy of AU.

The outcome was a reliable set of grades – one that reflects a near-traditional examination performance, and an online assessment control as robust as traditional proctoring, which is the ultimate goal of any reputable academic institution to which academic integrity is a priority.

– Alaa Al Amiry, MBA, MS, BSN

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Pharmacy

Where Do We Go from Here?

Posted by Ajman University on May 18, 2020 8:16:59 PM

Ramadan Kareem! Eid Mubarak!

The Spring 2020 Semester has concluded at Ajman University and, as it turns out, we all learned a lot! AU switched entirely to online course delivery in record time and with impressive results. Even the most reluctant among us discovered that technology and humanity can indeed work together for great outcomes.

The question now, of course, is where do we go from here? In nearly every one of these blog posts since March – a total of 19 with more than 4,500 readers – AU faculty and students have asserted that online education should be a robust part of the future of higher ed. 

The time is right for AU to become “future-ready” by embracing and implementing reforms for more efficient and streamlined processes, both on campus and online. To that end, AU Chancellor Karim Seghir has convened the Committee on Transformational Change, which is mandated to find ways for AU to be stronger, safer, and smarter in a post-COVID world. 

Stay tuned for the next  chapter in AU's pioneering history. We'll be making transformation happen together!  

Distance learning brought students and faculty members closer to each other. There were many touching moments when students expressed how much they missed going to campus and treating their patients. There were other appreciative moments when they were grateful for all the unlimited access to the online lectures and other resources without restriction.

– Dr. Ruba Odeh​, Assistant Professor, College of Dentistry

 


 

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Dentistry

Integration Will Lead to Future Success

Posted by Ajman University on May 15, 2020 2:29:35 PM

Dr. Dina Elkhattat is an Assistant Professor of Public Relations and Advertising in AU's College of Mass Communication. After her recent (and very positive) experience with remote teaching, she believes that future in-person lectures should have an online coursework component. Why not have the best of both worlds?

During my distance learning experience, I noticed that students love its unlimited benefits, they really enjoy learning remotely with its flexibility, efficiency, effectiveness and attractive tools, they found it easy and interactive. I am so proud of them since they are keen to attend, participate, and doing great during their quizzes, assignments, projects, and the brainstorming sessions.

-- Dr. Dina Elkhattat

Some of Dr. Dina's students have shared their observations, too, about the exciting new age of remote learning:

AAsmaU was keen to apply the technical needs for distance learning with high standards, so the educational process met the aspirations of students. The distance learning experience happened smoothly with the same interactivity as if we are on a real campus, besides the new benefits in online classes like recordings; we have now the ability to view the recorded lectures when needed. The organizational communication course is one of the most interesting courses in my distance learning experience. Lectures were interactive, and our instructor followed several interesting methods to motivate us for participation, including asking questions through polling, this feature allows students to confirm the information and remember it easily.

-- Asma Alkaabi


HananWhen we started our distance learning it was a challenge for all of us, we could not imagine how to start, but through our lectures with Dr. Dina Elkhattat, we gained confidence through her encouragement to engage us in interaction via the online classes. During the organizational communication course, we focused on e-communication and the implementation of new technologies in institutions, and how we should act when we face any change around us; we also applied case studies about the recent circumstances to know how we can handle it through effective communication.

-- Hanan Alnakhal


AhmedI really enjoyed the distance learning experience, it was a wonderful experience for me, as I learned from the new methods to think creatively, and through the organizational communication and e-marketing courses with Dr. Dina Elkhattat we have learned the concepts and practices of leadership, and applied many practical exercises on it. I can say that this learning experience has many advantages especially the flexibility in learning and the interactivity through participation in discussions and brainstorming sessions during the online classes.

-- Ahmed Alqadri


 

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Mass Communications

The Intersection of Humanities and Technology

Posted by Ajman University on May 8, 2020 6:08:09 PM

Four unique and distinct professors from AU's College of Humanities and Sciences have found ways to ensure that the human touch isn't lost in high-tech course delivery. Although each have different areas of expertise, all four teachers share a mission – and a passion – for preparing students to be problem solvers in the new world.


Dr. Samir Hadid, Professor, says that racing into the digital age has already greatly enhanced learning. "It is a pioneering field of flexible learning," he explains. "I've found it to be a successful platform empowering inter-professional education."

 


After two months of remote course delivery, Dr. Salah Gad, an Associate Professor and Head of the Sociology Department, offers an astute observation: "The virtual educational world that has turned into a real world."

 


Dr. Abd Al Karim Haj Ismail, Assistant Professor, says the key to AU’s success is that “students and faculty dealt with the situation by leveraging their creativity and flexibility.” He believes the future will combine the best of both online and in-person worlds. And he's looking forward to a time when these two ways will work as one.

 


Dr. Enaam Youssef​, Assistant Professor, says the two most important tools in her online courses have been human interaction and discussion – especially since she teaches classes related to "monitoring and analyzing social reality and crisis management." Even in cyberspace, her students were able to explore these timely concepts together. 

 

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Humanities and Sciences

The Dawning of a New Horizon in Learning

Posted by Ajman University on May 2, 2020 5:31:08 PM

Dr. Fahar Hayati is the Dean of AU’s College of Engineering and Information Technology. He reports that the move to online learning has opened up an exciting new horizon in higher education. He also believes that blending remote coursework with the traditional classroom experience has the potential to enhance the future of student learning tremendously.

His students seem to agree! Here’s what some of them had to say about the new online model:


UnknownWhile there are downsides to online courses, there are also a large list of benefits, such as access to greater information and channels for greater communication. All of the benefits are present in Dr. Fahar’s lectures as his open-ended questions and assignments allow students to display their understanding rather than traditional memorization. I look forward to the development of online lectures allowing for even greater interaction in the future.

–Niel Carlrich Maritz

 


 

One thing that turned out to be really beneficial is the recorded Unknown-1sessions that allow us to go back to the courses and classes at any time. It really helps us make sure that we understood the information, along with revising it whenever we want. We also have more flexible time to schedule our classes if we need more support, and better scheduling of our tests and exams.

–Reem AlaaEldin Yousef Sobeih

 

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Engineering and IT

The New Classroom: Fast Pace and Smooth Ride

Posted by Ajman University on Apr 28, 2020 8:53:48 PM

Mr. Muhammad Siddiqui is head of the marketing department in AU's College of Business Administration. When he heard that AU was swtiching to online course delivery within a week's time, his first reaction was “no way.” But with support from the university, and training from IT, AU's teachers and students were able to take our 'Make it Happen' motto into cyberspace at warp speed.

Of course there were some minor hiccups in the first couple of classes – a few from us and some from the students. But since then, it’s been a very smooth ride. There are much more options for interactions online than there are in traditional classes. Faculty can switch between applications much more swiftly and keep the students’ attention. Online is more challenging with larger class sizes, but I’ve found that breakout groups can be still very effective.

 – Mr. Muhammad Siddiqui

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Topics: Online Learning, College of Business Administration, Cyber Campus

Entering a New Era of Higher Education

Posted by Ajman University on Apr 24, 2020 10:56:44 PM
Dr. Dalia Bedewy is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in AU’s College of Humanities and Sciences. Her experience thus far with online teaching has been eye-opening. She believes the future of teaching and learning will be more comprehensive thanks to online models and portals.

For her recent midterm assessments, Dr. Dalia gave students a case study to evaluate for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Not only did the students find it less stressful than a traditional exam, but they also found it to be more engaging and robust. “They had to dig deeper into every topic in the course to be able to provide a scientific answer,” she explains. “I further required that they use the online tools associated with the course so they'd have a command of the learning environment as well as the subject matter.”

In her capacity as the Manager of AU’s Student Counseling Unit, Dr. Dalia has created  three YouTube videos on the topic of “Making Mental Health Happen.”  Click links below for her experise in action:

  1. Five tips for mental wellbeing.
  2. Five tips for staying motivated.
  3. Social distance – not social isolation.

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Humanities and Sciences

Online Classes Can Broaden Impact & Creativity

Posted by Ajman University on Apr 19, 2020 8:22:32 PM
Ivan Parati is a lecturer in AU's College of Architecture, Art and Design. He's embraced the online learning fullsizeoutput_2f2model as a vehicle for creative coursework and student collaboration. Recent midterm assessments have proven to be very interactive and have produced excellent results.

Using distance learning actually makes it easier to share experiences that sometimes remain confined in a private session when we are physically present. In the classroom, we assist each student individually, but during a remote class we end up with greater participation from the group. There is increased pride and motivation for all.

—Ivan Parati​, Lecturer, College of Architecture, Art and Design

 

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Architecture, Art and Design

Online is Great, In Person is Best

Posted by Ajman University on Apr 14, 2020 5:52:12 PM

 

A fourth-year student from AU's College of Pharmacy enjoys online learning but says nothing can replace the human interactions she's experienced on campus over the years. Hear her unique perspective in our latest video! 

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Pharmacy, Student Experience

The Intersection of Convenience & Quality

Posted by Ajman University on Apr 8, 2020 8:46:00 PM

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

Topics: Ajman University, Online Learning, College of Business Administration