To develop A’Sharqiyah university eLearning capacity to deliver a rich, flexible and conducive environment that allow both academics and students to enjoy their teaching and learning process.
Objectives and Scope
The eLearning department established to serve the following objectives:
- Building the university eLearning platform
- Building the university distance education capacity
- Build and improve the university distance and blended learning capacity
- Effective presence of approved Virtual Learning Platform for both on-campus and remote students
- Integration of tools and technologies to the eLearning platform to enhance the learning and teaching process
- Improve faculty eLearning capacity
- A flexible and rich blended learning approach
- Maintain up to date technologies to support eLearning delivery
Moodle: (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is hosted and managed internally and is the official ASU VLE, where hundred per cent of ASU courses delivered through. Students do have 24/7 access to learning and teaching resources, they can also communicate with their peers and lecturers. Various seminars and workshop were organized to enhance the faculty’s technical and pedagogical skills to efficiently use Moodle to deliver the expected learning outcomes. A five years implementation plan was agreed and progressing satisfactorily.
COVID-19 provided an excellent opportunity to accelerate our eLearning capacity building, as we have managed to deliver our spring 2020 courses as 100% distance learning. To facilitate such transformation in a very short time, the eLearning department along with Information technology department worked around the clock to support faculty and students. Furthermore, extensive and focused workshops were delivered to prepare, improve and support faculty to cope with the unplanned move to distance learning mode.
To ensure that the technical platform is resilient and can sustain the traffic, the platform was upgraded to dual servers setting to improve the performance and availability.
To increase the availability of our eLearning platform, Moodle Mobile Application was introduced early spring 2020, which allowed students to download the application from both Apple and Google app stores. There are currently 2398 students accessing Moodle from the mobile application, which reduced the burden on the server and increased the availability.
The Microsoft Teams continued to be the prime live lecturing video application which was introduced to further strengthen our eLearning platform, and to respond to COVID-19 measures implemented by Oman authorities, as they banned students from attending face-to-face education.
In terms of academic work integrity, and to improve both faculty and students writing skills, Turnitin ™ was integrated into the eLearning platform.
The eLearning department continued the delivery of various eLearning workshops to address the needs of the university and the colleagues. The session covered topics such as:
- Effective and efficient use of Moodle, Teams and Turnitin as integral parts of our eLearning platform to deliver rich and flexible blended and distance learning experience.
- Develop learning and teaching materials that are suitable for eLearning.
- Planning and mapping the curriculum, which includes, but not limited to assessments, lesson planning, individualized learning path in a way that supports online delivery.
- Managing students: tracking their progress, collaboration and efficient learning via Moodle.
- Promote collaboration through the effective use of group discussion, forums, blogs, and messaging system.
- Develop faculty pedagogical capacity to deliver rich contents.