The Higher Council For Science And Technology (HCST)
Higher education digital e-learning initiative (Teach yourself)

 

Higher education digital e-learning initiative (Teach yourself)

Introduction

The crisis associated with the wide-spread of the pandemic "Corona" virus in Jordan, and the world at large, demands that Jordanians act swiftly and responsibly in coming up with solutions towards the imminent threats and breakdown of systems vital to life and wellbeing. Among the most important issues is the continuation of the higher education system during the crisis to keep up with the level of education as a new dimension of learning which enables students to continue to learn or teach themselves using digital technologies; thus overcoming the barriers imposed by the geographical locations in space and time.

As a response to the urgent request of HRH Prince El-Hassan the chairman of the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST) an initiative was designed to enable university students in Jordan to continue learning through the internet while staying at home to salvage what remains of the current semester. Moreover, this program will prepare the stage to institutionalize digital learning within a “blended” system of distant-digital learning mixed with in-class learning for future semesters.

In-spite of the advances made in digital learning world-wide it is still at its early stages in Jordan. This makes the “teach yourself” program more valuable as it solves an imminent problem and simultaneously it prepares for further logistical and legal actions to make it part of the higher education system in Jordan.

This initiative comes as a collaborative effort of the HCST, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), the Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission for Higher Education Institutions (AQACoHEI), and some of the major Jordanian universities.

 

Program concept

The main idea of this program is to utilize the already existing digital learning materials by many of the universities in addition to using open source materials available at the internet. Some of the Jordanian universities have already started this program for the current semester for their students. What is needed is to open up these university systems to all students for all universities.

Action plan

Reviewing all learning course materials available at the universities portals and selecting the best source materials courses to be made available as open source on-line courses for all students. This activity will be a shared responsibility of all university faculties.

The MoHESR, AQACoHEI and Universities will be responsible to authorize the use of digital learning and the associated on-line course materials to be posted on the internet.

The HCST and all other partners will post the list of digital course materials on the internet through each university portals.

The Universities will take all measures to increase the capacity of their portals to manage the volume of demand on the uploaded course materials.
It is imperative that close coordination among university IT managers should take place continuously to solve technical problems in relation to the infrastructure of the university platforms.

It is important to point out to the students that these course materials are intended for self- learning only and issues related to exams, assignments and course grades are to be dealt with by MoHESR, AQACoHEI, and university boards of trustees.

It is important to have tight coordination among directors of IT centers at the universities to iron out any difficulties or technical problems.

The program will be evaluated at the end of the semester through circulating questionnaire forms to the students, faculty and university officials.

The HCST will be responsible to complete the evaluation process and come up with lessons learned and recommendations.

The outcome of this program will feed into the design and features of an open higher education digital learning platform to be commissioned by MoHESR for next year.

 Time plan

It is estimated that the program will need two weeks to be ready for launching. One week to prepare the list of on-line course materials and another for preparing the university portals for the high traffic.

Program evaluation

The program will be evaluated based on the fast track experiment for this current semester. Moreover, benchmarking with other programs already applied in world class universities will be conducted. By June/July 2020 a report will be ready including issues related to institutionalizing digital learning and procedures for conducting the program and grading students. The report will also include an assessment of the capacity of higher education institutions to include their priorities within the higher education general policy adopted by the council of higher education. Moreover the accreditation commission will also assess the adoption of Quality Assurance (QA) procedures to guarantee the provision of highest quality program.

 

 Achievable program outcome

The results of the program will be used as a guide for a proper design of an open higher education digital learning platform which is administered by MoHESR and will be launched hopefully for

next academic year. This platform will integrate all university portals and will complement any missing parts to have a platform for all university students in Jordan.

 

 Program future and sustainability

As it is essential to transform challenges into opportunities, during difficult times, it is imperative that this program succeeds and continues proving that collaborative effort is the way forward in bringing a model for digital higher education system. Within the participative approach of the decision makers at MoHESR, accreditation commission, and expert opinions of seasoned educators the need for a future definitive plan seems to be a must. This requires an institutionalization of the digital education part within the higher education system as a future vision. Finally the use of digital technologies in assisting the higher education process will be part and parcel of total quality management which guarantees the higher quality of graduates in serving the needs of the market place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 / 03 / 2020
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