On 10 March 2020, we reported that E-Learning Unit Supervisor, Mohsin Khan, delivered a university-wide webinar, which also included a curated session to the English Language Center on 11 March 2020, titled 'Transformation to Full E-Learning'. In those webinars, Mr. Khan introduced faculty members to useful content and tool areas within Blackboard that are needed to be able to effectively conduct their classes online. It is worth noting that as a result of questions from students about the logistics of virtual learning, a special webinar was held on 14 March 2020 in which Mr. Khan led students through a practical session of how to use Blackboard Ultra and efficiently use different content areas within Blackboard from the student perspective.
Commenting on the recent events, Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi noted that some of our Bachelor of Arts in English program students who live in remote areas will feel the shift to online most intensely. "We have to ensure that we are flexible and take issues on a case-by-case basis. We need a variety of assessments with grades communicated to students on a frequent and timely basis," he said.
In response to Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi's call for a variety of assessments and timely grade notifications, English Department Chair, Dr. Munassir Alhamami, and Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, commissioned Mr. Khan to deliver a webinar titled "Using Blackboard for Online Assessment" on 21 March 2020. In that webinar, Mr. Khan led approximately 70 faculty members through the fundamentals of how to create and deploy over 15 types of assessment types, including assignments and the discussion board. Additional technical training was provided on how to export created tests and share within the same course across different sections and teachers.
An active question and answer session followed shortly after the conclusion of the training in which the topic of cheating was discussed. It was noted that no purely online assessment system can prevent all forms. However, some steps were provided, such as randomizing questions and answers. At the end of the session, Chairman Alhamami recognized that the level of anxiety due to the sudden switch to online learning is high, noting that in time and with more familiarity, it will get better.
Of noteworthy mention, Mr. Khan will lead an additional Blackboard assessment training webinar tailored to students on 22 March 2020.
Date: 21 March 2020
Source: Faculty of Languages & Translation