In preparation for the next semester, the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) has conducted a series of faculty development workshops and training this week to ease the online teaching/learning process in the summer. A Capacity Building/Training Committee at ULAB has conducted these trainings and it will also arrange some student workshops to provide support to them.
ULAB is one of the top few universities that migrated to online teaching during the coronavirus related closures. In early 2013, Professor Brian Shoesmith, former Dean of Academic Development and Research, began training faculty members at ULAB on MOODLE, a well-known learning management system. Successful implementation began in 2014. The familiarity with an online teaching/learning platform allowed ULAB to negotiate the crisis with relative ease.
However, based on student concerns about low bandwidth and internet connectivity problems, some faculty members chose to use Google Classroom or Facebook Live to optimize student participation.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) at ULAB, Dr. Tareque Rahman, has lined up a number of pedagogy workshops that will focus on various aspects of online teaching/learning and assessments. These workshops will complement the technical training conducted by the Capacity Building Committee.
While the shift to online teaching in the spring semester was sudden, ULAB continues to investigate ways in which the teaching-learning process can be improved. Faculty members have been advised to revise their course contents to fit the online model as highly encouraging numbers of students register for courses in the next semester.
"We are glad that the UGC has recognized the importance of the continuity of education. The guideline that it has provided will guarantee the quality of education while securing the rights of students," ULAB's Vice Chancellor, Professor H M Jahirul Haque said. He also observed that by working with all our stakeholders, we would be able to create a learning environment that would remain challenging even in its online platform.
"Of course, we miss the lively presence of students on campus and giving them the benefits of face to face teaching. Taking part in a virtual classroom sitting at home while maintaining social distance is the next best thing," added ULAB's Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Shamsad Mortuza.
The conceptual framework and logistics inventory was initiated by ULAB's Board of Trustees who also collaborated with APUB to parley for online teaching at the national level. Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Shamsad Mortuza was requested to conduct a needs analysis as part of the capacity building activities.
Associate Professor of English and Humanities, Arifa Ghani Rahman, who has many years of online teaching experience, is guiding the activities of the Capacity Building/Training Committee to train both faculty members and students.