Umm Al-Qura University

Umm Al-Qura University

Coronavirus Crisis (COVID19) Management Plan at Umm Al-Qura University for Providing Educational Alternatives


- 2020/04/19

Services of the Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education:

The Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education offers many services that enable Umm Al-Qura University to continue the educational process using digital learning tools and systems, as delineated in the following table:

System

System description

System's capacity

How it serves as an educational alternative

Justification for the electronic transformation

E-learning Environment (Blackboard Learn)

An e-learning management system that provides a safe environment for learning, synchronous and asynchronous learning, and knowledge sharing online. It also displays the course content, alert messages, assignments, tests, and participation in discussions.

It has the capacity to accommodate about 80 thousand users, with the ability to increase the capacity when needed.

- Submitting assignments and monitoring their grades

- Tests and assignments

- Providing educational content, such as presentations, activities, and explanations

- Discussions

It limits the following:

- Gatherings in classrooms.

- Circulation and use of papers.

- Use of public utilities.

Virtual Classrooms (Blackboard Collaborate)

Direct communication via online synchronized audio and video recordings. Lectures can be recorded for reference at any later time.

The classroom accommodates up to 250 people at one time and the capacity may be increased when needed, with the possibility of holding 70 different sessions at the same time.

- Lectures

- Meetings

In the event of any problems in accessing the lecture, you can refer to the recordings.

- It ensures the continuation of the educational process remotely, even in the presence of Internet connectivity problems.

Virtual Meetings System (WebEx)

Cisco WebEx is one of the best programs for organizing meetings and discussions online. Participants engage in direct face-to-face meetings with the work groups. The program works on computers and mobile devices, and uses video conferencing.

The number of users can reach 2000–3000 for conferences, and 250 for meetings.

- Meetings

- Administrative meetings, such as: (permanent committees, departmental boards, and advisory bodies).

- Student meetings, such as: (office hours, events, and seminars).)

It limits the following:

- Gatherings in meeting halls. It ensures the continuity of administrative work remotely.

- The circulation and use of papers.

- The use of public utilities

Recommendations:

All colleges should be directed to perform the following:

  1. Educational content for the course, obtained from the faculty member, should be provided on the e-learning system.
  2. The assignments should be listed on the Blackboard system, delineating the tasks to be performed, the method of delivering them electronically, and the way the grades are monitored electronically. This contributes to the reduction of the use of paper, and accordingly the risk of virus transmission.
  3. Lectures should be transformed from face-to-face classrooms to virtual classrooms, as a means of synchronous communication. The Collaborate system is used as a means of video and audio communication, using the screen and file sharing features during communication. The system has the option of restricting attendance to only the students enrolled in the course.
  4. The faculty members should comply with the academic schedule approved by the Deanship of Admission and Registration in the event of holding virtual classrooms, enabling the students to return to them in the event of facing any problem while accessing the virtual classroom during the lecture.
  5. The office hours and meetings should be transformed to the WebEx system to avail of its services, such as: screen sharing and attendance control, operating it on any system or internet browser.
  6. A weekly report should be submitted by the college on the number of lectures in which the electronic transformation took place, in the following format:

College

Course no.

Division

Percentage of the electronic transformation of lectures (out of 100%)

Percentage of the electronic transformation of assignments (out of 100%)

Percentage of the electronic transformation of tests (out of 100%)

Percentage of the electronic transformation of the meetings (out of 100%)

             
             
             
             
             

Recommendations to the Senior Leadership:

  1. A circulation should be issued on the necessity of activating the Blackboard system and virtual classes, to raise the level of readiness of all the faculty members. This is with the aim of identifying all questions and difficulties about the system, providing a legalized technical support service, on the part of the deanship, and highlighting the Training Digital Library on the website of the Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education.
  2. The senior leadership should encourage the full transformation of the learning environment to a virtual one, and also commend the most active colleges with regard to holding virtual classrooms, electronic tests, meetings, and virtual meetings.
  3. The deans and vice presidents of the university should nominate members from the administrative staff to be trained on using the virtual meeting system (WebEx) to organize the meetings of the various deanships, vice presidencies, departments, student councils, advisory committees, permanent committees, and the University Higher Advisory Committee.

Statistics:

Since its establishment, the Deanship of E-Learning and Distance Education have successfully paved the way and overcome difficulties in activating e-learning and distance education with a large number of students and teaching staff, given the large size of the main campus of the university and its many branches. These statistics are only a review of what the university has carried out to support the digital transformation in managing the educational process, and a list showcasing the lauded hard work of the deanship of the university since the occurrence of the Coronavirus crisis.

General Indicators of the University:

Indicator

Total

Total number of male and female students

101,931

Total number of male and female faculty members

5078

E-Learning System (Blackboard):

Indicator

Total

Number of academic staff members who have accessed the system

642,2

Number of students who have accessed the system

198,62

Virtual Classroom System on the Blackboard System:

Indicator

First Semester

Second Semester until February

Number of created virtual classrooms

9023

3694

Number of launched virtual sessions

2927

4592

Duration of recordings

01:54:45

222:29:20

Virtual Meetings System:

Indicator

First Semester

Second Semester until February

Number of meetings on the system

66

174

Total meeting time in minutes

4089

12,263

Training:

Indicator

First Semester

Total number of faculty members

1271

Number of colleges benefiting from the training

23

Total number of training courses for both sections (male and female)

63

Technical Support:

Indicator

Total

Email

750

E-Tickets

196

Meetings

51

Phone calls

156

WhatsApp

48

Personal interviews

66

Total

1267

Training:

  • Preparing pamphlet and creating a webpage containing the transformation methods along with hyperlinks providing explanations, training manuals, and technical support links.
  • Developing a plan to train the faculty members electronically on using the Blackboard learning environment, offering 7 hours of sessions every day. Suggested timetable is shown below:

Time/Day

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9 a.m.

Upload Content

Preparing Tests

Virtual Classrooms

Virtual Meetings (WebEx)

Preparing Tests

10 a.m.

Virtual Classrooms

Upload Content

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Classrooms

Virtual Meetings (WebEx)

11 a.m.

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Classrooms

Preparing Tests

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Classrooms

12 p.m.

1 p.m.

Break

2 p.m.

Virtual Classrooms

Virtual Meetings (WebEx)

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Classrooms

Upload Content

3 p.m.

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Classrooms

Preparing Tests

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Classrooms

4 p.m.

Preparing Tests

Preparing Assignments

Virtual Meetings (WebEx)

Preparing Tests

Preparing Assignments

5 p.m.

6 p.m.

The E-Learning Consultant

The schedule of the e-training courses on the use of the Blackboard system for the student:

Time/Day

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

9 a.m.

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

10 a.m.

11 a.m.

12 p.m.

Break

1 p.m.

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

Male\Female Students

2 p.m.

3 p.m.

Notes:

The duration of the course is one and a half hours, plus half an hour for Questions and Answers.

During the course, the following topics will be discussed: - How to access the e-learning system. - How to upload the content. - How to upload assignments. - Virtual classrooms.

  • The technical support hours for the faculty members and students are from 4 to 10 p.m., alternately between the two sections (male and female).

Training on Using the Virtual Meetings (WebEx):

The Deans and Academic Leaders:

  • Sunday: 9–10 a.m. Monday:10–11 a.m. Tuesday:11 a.m.–12 p.m.

Administrative Staff and Heads of Departments:

  • Sunday: 11 a.m.–12 p.m. Monday: 9–10 a.m.

Notes:

 

Technical Support:

Person in Charge (female students)

Person in Charge (male students)

Communication Channel

Ms. Renad Al-Sa`idi

Eng. Mahmud Khidhr

Email

Ms. Renad Al-Sa`idi

Eng. Abdul-Rahman Bawzeer

E-Tickets

Ms. Nada Al-Mihmadi

Mr. Shafi Al-Dhubiani

Twitter

Ms. Saitha Al-Utaibi

Eng. Mahmud Khidhr

Whatsapp

Ms. Sahar Kamal Salih Bukhari

Mr. Muhammad Al-Zahrani

Phone calls

Recommendations:

  • Providing technical support services from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and a hotline for technical support. ​
  • Communicating with the Saudi Electronic University and the Ministry of Education to solve external problems.
  • Submitting a weekly report on the service delivery and statistics, and accordingly updating the frequently asked questions for the users.

Outreach Channels:

Tools

Communication Channels

Infographics and awareness leaflets

Communication Channels for Technical Support

YouTube Channel of the Deanship

Twitter​

WhatsApp

Blackboard Collaborate​

WebEx

Email

Social media

Creating a webpage on the deanship's website for the contingency plan and emergency updates.

SMS

Distance training

Recommendations:

  • The duration of the course is one and a half hours, plus half an hour for Questions and Answers.

  • During the course, the following topics will be discussed:

    • How to access the e-learning system.

    • How to upload the content.

    • How to upload assignments.

    • Virtual classrooms.

  • The duration of the course is one and a half hours, plus half an hour for Questions and Answers. During the course, the following topics will be discussed:
    • How to create a virtual meeting and send the link invitation.
    • How to share files and the screen with the attendees at the meeting.
    • How to record the meetings.
  • Making an infographic showing the statistics of the use of outreach channels for the Blackboard learning management system and virtual classrooms.
  • Submitting a weekly report on the published content on the outreach channels.
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