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IIU to offer over 4,000 online courses

By Our Correspondent
June 03, 2020

Islamabad : After launching a virtual education policy for online teaching amid coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the International Islamic University has planned to offer over 4,000 online courses for over 30,000 students, 498 academic programmes and 88 departments of nine faculties.

According to IIU rector Professor Dr Masoom Yasinzai, the virtual education policy is meant to take care of intellectual rights in line with the best academic practices.

"The university has ensured to keep the interest of its students at first. Despite all of these arrangements, in case a student is not satisfied or coping up with online teaching, he or she is given a choice to freeze the semester with fee adjustments," he told reporters.

The rector said under the Higher Education Commission's guidelines, the Learning Management System was rapidly operationalised and streamlined in the IIU with the help of input provided by all stakeholders, including management, faculty and students. He said a series of steering committee meetings took place with all stakeholders in attendance online.

"Keeping the urgency of the matter and a total paradigm shift in view, the committee worked 24/7 to embrace the challenge to implement a full-scale online teaching and learning system," he said.

Professor Dr Masoom Yasinzai said the university would offer more than 4,000 online courses for over 30,000 students, 498 academic programmes and 88 departments of nine faculties. He said the university took the introduction of LMS and instructional design as a challenge. The rector said LMS was made functional within a short time.

He said the university had a significant contribution to module writing of blended learning through an European Union-funded international project. Professor Dr Masoom Yasinzai said the university trained coordinators from every programme on how to register courses, students and teachers for the online system, accordingly, while training was also imparted to department heads and deans followed by sessions for teachers.

He said a template for online course development was framed in which every teacher was required to create a weekly teaching plan.

The rector said in order to further facilitate teachers and students, model courses, video tutorials and digital library resources as well as online books had also been provided to the faculty and students. "The entire process has been approved by the Online Academic Council," he said.

The rector said the IIU had opted for the open book examination mechanism and a cascade faculty training session would be arranged focusing on how to prepare and evaluate open-book examinations.

He said for professional and technical courses, guidelines provided by the accreditation councils were being followed. "In order to not miss any important point in the transition period, a students' readiness survey was conducted covering the facilities, motivation, competencies and potential challenges faced by students during online teaching scenarios," he said, adding the new system will be implemented after fulfilling requirements suggested by the HEC.