AUI’s Online Platforms Provide Consistent Learning Opportunities
In a bid to minimize the spread of COVID-19, AUI responded quickly to the crisis and began transitioning towards online classes. The University asked students to stay home, while establishing online learning facilities, and ensuring that no course was cancelled due to the new virtual learning format.
To face the change head-on, AUI shared training webinars with faculty members and provided them with two days of training in online teaching that was specified to their field and school. These days were complemented with on-demand training for faculty with special requests and specific needs. In addition, CLE tutors and mentors were trained to provide their peers with personal assistance to adapt seamlessly to a new learning environment.
Next, AUI provided students with similar training webinars to explore and understand the Microsoft TEAMS platform. Microsoft TEAMS allows teachers and students to connect in virtual classrooms in real-time. This way, professors can conduct existing course sections at regular class times and hold live discussions. The platform allows visual contact through video conference and the ability to verify attendance, along with a live chat room. Through this platform, faculty and students continue exchanging information and ideas through personal interaction. AUI is also using its Jenzabar platform to allow for synchronous and asynchronous contact between faculty and students through posts.
Nizar Messari, Vice President of Academic Affairs, commented on the new online course structure, “There are also substantial benefits to online classes: the use of technology can allow students and faculty to explore different ways of communicating, teaching, and assessing knowledge.”
Because no classes have been canceled in the switch to online learning platforms, students have the opportunity to continue their studies as scheduled. Seniors will officially graduate in May as planned but will choose a celebration to replace the conventional in-person commencement ceremony.
Messari said, “With the option of teaching online, we are confident that our students will complete their semester with as little inconvenience as possible... There is a profusion of support out there to teach all kinds of classes online, and we found meaningful and fascinating alternatives even for Labs.”
The majority of AUI faculty members have remained in Morocco, while a few have been stranded abroad. However, all faculty have continued connecting with students and teaching their courses through the university’s online learning platforms. Messari noted, “Technology has also allowed some faculty to explore or go deeper in other learning methods, such as the flipped classroom.”