COVID-19

FLT In-Service Teacher Training Webinar: Quality in Educational Organizations

  On 18 October 2020, Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, delivered an in-service teacher training webinar in cooperation with the Directorate of Education in Sarat Abidah on "Quality in Educational Organizations". Vice Dean Almosa related that he planned this community service event after receiving a request from the Directorate of Education in Sarat Abidah, noting that it was an excellent opportunity for the Faculty of Languages and Translation to recommend consultative high-potential policy interventions, which are linked to a sound quality assurance system that drives continuous improvement.   The Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to participating in community partnership activities as part of its role in the community partnership plan at King Khalid University. Date: 12/19/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
English

FLT In-Service Teacher Training Webinar: Online Pedagogical Practices

  On 30 November 2020, Mohsin Khan and Dr. Sayyed Rashid Ali Shah delivered an in-service teacher training webinar to 300 participants. The webinar, in cooperation with the Directorate of Education in Rijal Alma on "Online Teaching: Authentic Assessment Tools and Strategies" by Dr. Sayyed Rashid Ali Shah and "Online Pedagogical Practices" by Mohsin Khan, provided both male and female teachers with the strategies, tools, and knowledge needed to adjust to the educational changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, related that he planned this event after receiving a request from the Directorate of Education in Rijal Alma, noting that it was an excellent opportunity for the Faculty of Languages and Translation to provide a unique in-service teacher training opportunity that combines learning goals, learning outcomes, and community service in a way that enhances both teacher and student growth in the region.   After introductions by Vice Dean Almosa, Dr. Shah began the discussion to center on the pedagogical shift required for online teaching, noting that assessment plays a vital role. He began by encouraging educators to introduce innovative assessment tasks based on recent trends. Dr. Shah highlighted the different types of assessment tools in online teaching and learning, helping participants to develop an understanding of online assessment tools that can be utilized/adapted by English language teachers in the Saudi EFL context. "There are a number of practices you can use to evaluate students mindfully. The best method will vary based on learning needs and objectives," he said.   Khan then discussed the need for providing context in an online environment. He then explained that a teacher must find creative ways of using a given learning management system to enhance student learning. Drawing on his experience as a Master Reviewer for Quality Matters, Khan guided participants through a series of strategies they can use to evaluate and improve their online instruction. "The mere use of technology is not enough. The success of online education lies in proper incorporation of technology in order to attain the curriculum objectives and academic goals," he concluded.   The Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to participating in community partnership activities as part of its role in the community partnership plan at King Khalid University. Date: 12/4/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
English

Quality Parameters for Blackboard Evaluation: A Case Study

  On October 28, 2020, a webinar was organized by the Language Research Center. The presenters were Dr. Rizwana Wahid and Ms. Qudsia Zaini. They spoke on the subject of Quality Parameters for Blackboard Evaluation based on a case study they had conducted.   Wahid and Zaini's paper attempted to explore how teachers justify online learning effectiveness and learner performance quality during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before they began their main presentation, they raised a question regarding the authenticity of Blackboard exams in evaluating students' learning and performance.   They stated the challenges involved in conducting remote online exams as far as fairness and validity are concerned. They explained quality parameters that involve multiple strategies and activities to evaluate students' readiness and progress of learning outcomes.   The study was significant, they said, because of the challenges teachers experience while teaching and giving their students exams online. Their paper's major objectives were the investigation of quality parameters to ensure online exam quality, finding the best ways to assess students during the pandemic, and the exploration of the proper ways to justify students' performance in online distance exams. While highlighting the literature review, they mentioned Frazer, Dickinson & Gronseth, and Chang had discussed and emphasized practical approaches to online teaching.   Wahid and Zaini discussed some solutions previously considered difficult or impossible to implement that teachers now use in accurately assessing their students, whether the students really deserve the grades they get by taking online exams, and how the availability of the Internet affects such exams. In response to the questionnaire, most of the teachers expressed their opinion in favor of traditional face-to-face teaching, they said. There were, however, some mixed opinions as well, some of which were in favor of online assessment. To overcome the difficulties experienced by teachers, they made some recommendations. Implementing strategies to increase test security, using the timer effectively, creating larger test pools, randomizing questions, and using Blackboard's "SafeAssign" option may solve the problems associated with online assessment, they added.   They concluded that one of the most important criterion of quality assurance and academic accreditation is ensuring that teaching/learning strategies and assessment methods are aligned with the intended learning outcomes at the program and course levels. They added that the teachers should evaluate the quality of learning, exams, and assignments for every course while ensuring learning strategies are student-centered.   It was an informative webinar and a great success with the active participation of male and female faculty members from the Bachelor of Arts in English program. Date: 10/29/2020 Source: Mohammad Adil Siddique
English

Social Constructivist Approach: A Panacea for EFL Learners' Stress and Anxiety During the Pandemic

  Ms. Sufia Sultana and Ms. Richa Rastogi gave a presentation titled "Social Constructivist Approach: A Panacea for EFL Learners' Stress and Anxiety During the Pandemic" at a webinar arranged by the Language Research Center on October 14, 2020. The presentation was based on their research that explored learners' attitude towards online learning methods.   Sultana and Rastogi introduced the topic by mentioning how COVID-19 severely affected human life in general across the world and how it impacted educational institutions, resulting in a conspicuous shift from face-to-face to distance learning.   The primary objectives of their study, they said, were to explore students' attitudes towards online learning methods, identify teachers' capability for utilizing online platforms, highlight challenges involved in teaching, and recognize students' anxiety and stress levels as a crucial factor in deciding their academic performance and well-being.   Sultana and Rastogi highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on higher education. While reviewing the literature, they mentioned a research study conducted by the World Bank in response to the crisis. According to the study1, they said, "A failure to sustain effective tertiary systems can lead to perilous social upheavals, as youth fall outside the education system, unable to engage in active learning and uncertain about the future of their education and prospects." They also mentioned a study conducted at Arizona State University on how this crisis affected students of low-income groups.   The presenters further focused on the students' perspective during the pandemic. They substantiated the major reasons for stress and anxiety. The reasons, according to their research, are insufficient information about precautionary measures, fear of personal losses with respect to standard of living, lack of support network, claustrophobic confinement at home, and lack of motivation in self-isolation. Sultana and Rastogi's research also revealed that insufficient command of the target language, lack of exposure to electronic exams, and time-consuming schedules result in higher stress and anxiety levels.   They finally made some recommendations, such as increasing teacher training in implementing high-quality courses, creating a diverse learning environment for the students, orientation programs that train the students for self-directed learning, and developing critical thinking skills. They concluded that students' overall performance was very satisfactory despite the stress they experienced. They added students' readiness for self-directed learning and training curricula are the foundations of an integrated learning experience.   It was undoubtedly a very informative webinar as the presenters successfully pinpointed the major academic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as how to address them. The webinar was a great success with the active participation of both male and female faculty members of the Bachelor of Arts in English program. 1Citation "World Bank. 2020. The COVID-19 Crisis Response: Supporting Tertiary Education for Continuity, Adaptation, and Innovation. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/34571 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO." Date: 10/15/2020 Source: Mohammad Adil Siddique
English

Using Pools and Random Blocks to Increase Test Security

  On September 21, 2020, E-Learning Unit Supervisor, Mohsin Khan, delivered a webinar titled "Using Bb Random Block for Online Midterm Exam/Quizzes". The webinar, supervised by Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Yahya Asiri, was developed to provide faculty members with tools they can use to reduce academic misconduct in their online exams and quizzes, leading to an effective mechanism used to verify that the work and assignments of students are of their own.   As the overall participation of teaching staff in the assessment and development activities of the Bachelor of Arts in English Program (BAEP) is paramount, Mr. Khan welcomed the participants and thanked them for attending, noting that a recording of the session will be available in the near future. Mr. Khan then introduced the attendees to the concepts of creating Pools and Random Blocks. He then explained that Pools are a collection of questions that function as a sort of test bank. He mentioned that we have the ability to edit or delete each question in a Pool and change the default point values for each assigned question. It is important to remember, he noted, that when instructors select Pool questions for a test, any changes made in the Pool will take effect anywhere the question appears.   Mr. Khan then moved on to Random Blocks, defining them as assessments created from Pools at random so each student’s exam is unique. He then made an important point about Random blocks in that they can be created from one or more Pools of questions. He showed why it is essential that each Pool have a variety of questions with no similarity. It is critical, he explained, that instructors edit the number of questions to display within each Random Block while monitoring the assigned points per question and variety of questions pulled from the Pool.   The Bachelor of Arts in English Program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to developing and improving the professional skills and capabilities of faculty members in line with modern developments. To view the recording of this session, please (click here). Date: 9/21/2020 Source: FLT Web Team
English

Virtual Teaching of English Courses: Ways to Make it Effective

  Ms. Amatul Hafeez Alvi conducted a workshop on Virtual Teaching of English Courses: Ways to Make it Effective, at a webinar organized by the Language Research Center on September 16, 2020.   Alvi started the session by stating the objectives of the webinar – creating interactivity, reliability in building online learning experiences, forging online connections to build the teacher-learner relation, the application of key principles to create teaching presence and avoidance of "turning off" students to the online paradigm.   First, she emphasized the proper knowledge a teacher should have about instructional technology. She specifically focused on being familiar with devices, the Internet, e-content, related problems associated with the course website and connectivity. She also added the importance of having proper knowledge of how to handle problems with students and troubleshoot them efficiently.   Secondly, Alvi emphasized the teacher's presence. She focused on how a teacher should introduce himself or herself by, for instance, uploading an introductory video or emailing. Doing this, at least, can create an impression that the teacher is around. A teacher should use both synchronous and asynchronous communication methods to connect with the learners, she added. Furthermore, she stressed on being a reflective teacher who is able to evaluate himself or herself after what he or she has done.   Alvi also talked about fostering communication by being a role model, allowing students to know each other, creating a safe learning atmosphere and social opportunities, and emphasizing teamwork. Clarity and simplicity are also essential in designing a course, said Alvi. A teacher must be able to consider different learning styles, she added. For example, there are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners who acquire things differently.   Alvi concluded that a teacher must keep on searching for new ideas, for example, from the Internet and colleagues.   The webinar was very interactive and a great success with the active participation of both male and female faculty members from the Bachelor of Arts in English program.  Date: 9-16-2020 Source: Mohammad Adil Siddique
English

Fall 2020 Freshmen Orientation

  On 3 September 2020, the Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation held an orientation program for first-year students. At the gathering, new students received important information delivered in a small group and discussion format in line with COVID-19 social distancing measures. Several members of the leadership team and functional units of the FLT were there to introduce not only the curriculum but also the culture within the campus.   Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi began the program by welcoming the students. He explained that this meeting is not just a perfunctory gathering, highlighting that this welcoming activity was designed to help students overcome the challenges and difficulties they will face while keeping an eye towards success. Dean Al-Melhi then imparted important instructions about the English program and useful tips for academic success.   English Department Chair, Dr. Munassir Alhamami, echoed Dean Al-Melhi's advice and familiarized students with university rules and regulations. Academic Advisor, Dr. Dawood Mahdi, then informed students about the university facilities and resources.   At the end of the event, E-Learning Unit Supervisor, Mohsin Raza Khan, delivered an interactive Blackboard training session using iPads. He highlighted the key areas students need to be aware of and noted strategies for success in the online learning environment. Date: 9/6/2020 Source: FLT Web
English

FLT Makes COVID-19 Information Accessible in 6 Languages

  As part of King Khalid University's ongoing awareness campaigns to stem the tide of COVID-19 and under the supervision of Dean Abdullah Al-Melhi, the Faculty of Languages and Translation's Vice Dean for Academic Development and Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, facilitated the translation of COVID-19 awareness videos in 6 different languages in cooperation with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Command and Control Center at Asir's General Directorate of Health Affairs led by Asir Gov. Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Vice Dean Almosa, who also serves on the Asir COVID-19 Monitoring Committee, commented that the videos, which were widely viewed at the Ministry of Health's in Asir Twitter handle @assirhealth, is a community service-based health literacy project aimed at raising essential awareness COVID-19 information on prevention and treatment options to non-Arabic speakers. Dean Abdullah Melhi explained that the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to community service-based health literacy projects that help residents to acquire, understand, and use strategic preparedness information, stressing that now was the perfect time to ensure timely and appropriate communication.   Particular thanks are due to our Bachelor of Arts in English program colleagues who provided accurate translations of information designed to instruct residents on how to protect themselves and others. The translations were made available in the following languages:   Bangla, Mr. Mazharul Islam; English, Dr. Michael Horezeanu; French, Dr. Abdelhamid Bessaid; Hindi, Mr. Mohsin Khan; Romanian, Dr. Justin Sfariac; Urdu, Mr. Abdul Raof Khan. Date: 6/11/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
English

Helping Students Get Ahead: English Club Delivers Online Webinar

  On May 4, 2020, the Guidance and Counselling Unit, in cooperation with the English Club, organized an online webinar titled 'Staying Home & Time Management' delivered by Dr. Karem Abdelatif Ahmed. The purpose of the webinar, which was attended by nearly 50 participants, was to show students that time management during these trying times is about taking control of the time available and optimizing it for productivity, keeping in mind life balance and well-being.   Guidance and Counselling Unit Head, Dr. Dawood Mahdi, and English Club Director, Khalid Al-Qasemi, jointly supervised the event and thanked the students for their attendance, noting that they are conscious of the challenges students face during this crisis.   Dr. Karem Ahmed began his program by stating, "The aim of good time management is to achieve lifestyle balance." He noted that spending more time on something doesn't necessarily achieve more. Focusing on results in the most simplest and productive way creates value in that managing time effectively is not about working harder. Dr. Karem Ahmed then provided 10 tips for time management and stated his strategy: "Remember that successful time management today can result in greater personal happiness, greater accomplishments at home and at work, increased productivity, and a more satisfying future." In short, Dr. Karem Ahmed admonished the students to achieve their education and personal goals through effective time management.   Near the conclusion of the webinar, students were introduced to 'Real Life Stories'. Dr. Karem Ahmed narrated a series of stories designed to instill life lessons in our students to help them reach their potential. During this time, participants were allowed to chime in with some stories of their own. Academic Development & Quality Unit Head, Dr. Hasan Jaashan, commented that students are to make use of this time, citing examples from history of philosophers who engaged in groundbreaking discoveries while the world was in quarantine. Agreeing with Dr. Jaashan, Dr. Mahmoud Radwan spoke about how Daniel Defoe's master of social distancing, Robinson Crusoe, speaks across the centuries, especially now as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. On the island, Crusoe sees the beauty of the simple things in life and discovers new and unexpected sources of fulfillment. Those fulfillments, explained Dr. Karem Ahmed, can be realized by being closer to Allah.   The Bachelor of Arts in English Program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to providing world-class language education and empowering the students with the tools to succeed in challenging academic programs. Date: 5/7/2020 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
English

From Whiteboards to Blackboard: FLT Ramps up Online Assessment Teacher Training

  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
English