The Higher Colleges of Technology’s (HCT) transition to online, distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be an overwhelming success with over 16,500 HCT students participating in a wide range of e-activities and programs in a one month period, through HCT’s Digi Campus.
Of that figure, 14,300 students participated in 700 online activities, including life skills courses, e-competitions, sports and fitness classes, e-reading and remote volunteer work; while 2,324 students participated in the e-employability program offered through the Digi Campus’s e-Employability Hub.
Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, reiterated the HCT’s Digi Campus’s relevance for, and impact on, students, reflected in the large number of 41,300 student registrations, within one month, for online extracurricular activities. He stressed the need to provide support to students in utilizing their free time effectively, while staying at home as part of the UAE’s strategies to combat the spread of Coronavirus.
“HCT’s Digi Campus is providing a comprehensive student life in an online environment, including e-sports and recreational activities, competitions, films, video games, academic and professional advising, online academic support hubs, remote volunteer work, and various training and PD opportunities,” Dr Al Shamsi said.
He added that the Digi Campus’s e-activities, services and student participation are constantly monitored and evaluated in order to maximize benefits for students. “Students’ enthusiasm and success in confidently operating within the digital transformation drive us to evaluate and measure this initiative, so that we will retain its successes and also explore the possibility of combining on-campus education with online distance learning,” Dr Al Shamsi said.
He said a possible hybrid system would be able to leverage HCT’s high quality infrastructure, which enhances students’ learning, training and self-development opportunities.
Dr Al Shamsi added that the benefits of HCT’s comprehensive Digi Campus infrastructure was reflected in great performance efficiencies, productivity and satisfaction rates by faculty and staff. Within one month of operation, approximately 1,900 HCT employees are currently working remotely with improved productivity and performances, whilst also benefitting from completing 45,000 hours of remote professional development.
Mr Ahmed Al Mulla, HCT Director of Student Affairs, said the online distance learning results reflect the high interaction and satisfaction rates of students, as well as the keenness of Student Affairs departmental staff to ensure ongoing levels of communications with, and responsiveness and assistance to, students.
Mr Al Mulla added that, as part of HCT’s endeavors to provide the most efficient and diversified student e-services and activities, the current focus is ensuring students’ readiness for end of semester assessments and exams in May. This included the online platform for health and fitness and psychological advice, as well as a daily, online chat system to serve the students’ needs. In addition, virtual Student Success Hubs are provided, providing online classrooms for peer tutoring by faculty and outstanding students, so as to enhance student readiness during the online assessment period.
HCT DIGI CAMPUS AT A GLANCE
- 14,300 students participate in 700 online learning activities
- 2,324 students participate in e-employability hub activities
- 41,300 student registrations for online extracurricular activities
- Employees complete 45,000 hours of remote PD