Birzeit University invests $250,000 to enhance e-learning opportunities amid coronavirus lockdown
As Birzeit University has moved to online teaching amid the global pandemic of COVID-19 that closed universities across the country, it is investing $250,000 into improving its technical preparedness.
Last week, the University Council, headed by university president Abdullatif Abuhijleh, announced in their weekly session that the experience of e-learning that started in the middle of March has been successful so far. Students and faculty members have been using open online platforms and resources efficiently and effectively.
Abuhijleh said that the COVID-19 outbreak presents a host of challenges for universities. He explained that the university’s decision to invest a quarter million dollars and improve its online servers and infrastructure falls in line with Birzeit University’s responsibility to serve the needs of education and address potential disruptors such as the coronavirus.
Abuhijleh said that this crisis has galvanized each member of the university and is prompting everyone to put their reflections on E- and interactive learning into action. He explained that the university “has always believed that in an era of scientific and industrial revolutions, we need to advocate for teacher-student interaction, life-long learning, open-loop education, and ubiquitous learning. Online teaching is one example of how we can diversify the communication between our students and faculty beyond boundaries.”
Since March 16, the university has been using open-source programs, such as Moodle, and web conferencing systems, including BigBlueButton and Zoom. Faculty members are also creating short educational clips, recording them via their mobile phones, uploading them to YouTube, and then sharing them on social media.