University hosts workshop on e-learning, production of online material

A team of professors from Birzeit University, An-Najah National University, and Palestine Polytechnic University explored the best methods to produce educational videos for use in classes with large enrollment in a workshop held on Saturday, February 23, 2019. 

In the workshop, held in the Faculty of Education at Birzeit University under the EU-funded Erasmus-Plus project titled TAP: Transforming Assessment Practices in Large Enrollment First Year Education, the team discussed the creation, production and use of films and videos as educational aids in Palestinian classrooms − particularly those with a high number of enrollees.

Ahmad Aljanazrah, dean of the Faculty of Education and the project’s coordinator at Birzeit University, explained that the workshop focused on producing online-learning and teaching materials that can be integrated into courses that use assessment as a form of learning. The students, he clarified, would receive nearly-instantaneous feedback on their work, allowing them to learn more about their strengths and ameliorate their weaknesses. 

“We’re exploring the role of digital technologies in education and how to integrate them best at Palestinian institutions of higher education,” said Aljanazrah and noted that the project is led by An-Najah National University in collaboration with Birzeit University, Palestine Polytechnic University, Al-Aqsa University, and University College of Applied Sciences, as local partners, and the University of Alicante, in Spain; the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava; and University College Cork, in Ireland, as international partners. 

The three-year project, now in its final stretch, has proven fruitful. Aljanazrah remarked that in two of the university’s popular courses, General Physics 1 and Educational Psychology, students were able to receive feedback on their answers almost immediately. 

“With a class of more than 100 students, it’s difficult to gauge their level of understanding and interaction with the material. Now, however, we’re able to ascertain how many students are having difficulties and where they are facing challenges,” Aljanazrah said.

With new content being published regularly on Moodle − the university’s e-learning platform − and amidst constant development and refinement of its learning, teaching and evaluation methods, the Faculty of Education’s efforts in integrating technology within teaching and learning at Birzeit University are proving productive not only to the university community but also to the entire Palestinian higher education system.