In the backdrop of current scenario emerged due to pandemic COVID-19, Higher Education Commission issued directions to the universities to get themselves poised for online teaching to minimize the academic disruption caused due to closure of educational institutions. Government College Women University Faisalabad has successfully taken the initiative and shifted to online mode of instruction.
Under the vigilant leadership of Professor Dr. Robina Farooq, Vice Chancellor, Government College Women University Faisalabad, a sound strategic planning has been devised to handle this challenging situation with a feasible and rational approach. Online teaching policy has been prepared on the guidelines provided by Higher education Commission. To streamline the online teaching process, a functional, effective and operational LMS has been developed to provide information, track progress and coordinate activities of online teaching. The accounts of faculty and students are created and complete course information is available to facilitate students to cope with this new situation. Quality teaching material is prepared and uploaded on University portal after undergoing a strenuous evaluation process executed by Departmental Moderators, Academic Review Committees and Central Online Lecture Evaluation Committees.
Prior to the commencement of online teaching, it was imperative to keep faculty members abreast with the technical skills required for online mode of instruction. Therefore a series of Online Training sessions were conducted by IT Experts to increase teachers’ proficiency with respect to the preparation of Presentations on Power Point (PPT) (accompanied with the voice notes), video recordings and assessment strategies.
An IT Support Committee is specially constituted to look after IT related requirements for enabling University to resume academic activities online. The Committee has adopted a line of action to enhance technical capability through valuable consultation, pragmatic discussions, purchasing the required equipment and above all activation and operation of Learning Management System (LMS) software efficiently and diligently. The committee is also assigned the duty of providing IT related assistance and support to all faculty and students in solving their connectivity and hardware requirements.
Special measures are taken to ensure online readiness of students of GCWUF. Mock sessions have been conducted prior to the regular start of online classes to ensure that all students are conveniently availing the facility without any obstruction and hindrance. The online readiness of students can well be represented by the high percentage of Student Connectivity Survey Data, collected recently in compliance with the instructions of HEC. The results revealed that 97.99 % students of GCWUF participated and recorded their response against internet connectivity related queries. This high percentage of student participation in HEC Survey substantiates the fact that all of them are registered and connected with University Learning Management System for the implementation of online education. A proper mechanism is going to be activated to address students’ complaints regarding connectivity and other problems with online education. Sound measures would be taken to assist students residing in far off areas facing connectivity challenges. Basic Computer Literacy trainings and tutorials would also be arranged for the benefit of students.
To cope with the current unprecedented scenario, GCWUF has developed a uniform policy for conducting Mid Term and Final Term Examination of Spring Semester, 2020. Mid Term examination of all running semesters of BS, MA/MSc and MPhil would be completed until May 30th, 2020. The online teaching process of 2nd, 4th, 6th,and 8th semesters of BS degree programs and 2nd and 4th semesters of MA/MSc and MPhil degree programs would be started from June 1st, 2020. Teachers will have two interactions with students every week as per scheduled time. The final Examination of all these degree programs would be completed until August 8, 2020. Multiple assessment method would be used to judge the subject knowledge and understanding of students of all degree programs. Students are being evaluated through writing full-fledged assignments, quizzes, projects and viva voce examination during this running online Spring semester, 2020. The assessment strategies are devised as per guidelines communicated by Higher Education Commission. The students who remain unapproachable during teaching sessions and Mid and Final Term Examination due to any reason would be allowed to freeze their semester after the University reopens. Most of the Postgraduate research has been shifted to theoretical and computational studies. As Practical and Lab research cannot be conveniently implemented during closure, therefore all teaching Faculties have prepared comprehensive Proposals regarding research shifting to Computational side, the soft wares required for this purpose and a detailed framework of conducting workshops to train faculty and students on soft wares and other related issues. University has also announced its Admission policy for Fall semester, 2020.
Teaching online is indeed a new exercise and GCWUF, under its highly committed leadership, is consistently striving to enhance the quality of instruction as well as the capacity of digital readiness of its students and instructors to safeguard the quality of online teaching during these challenging times. The devoted and focused initiative of GCWUF would definitely contribute towards ensuring a secure future of its student community.