Online Learning for Students

DHA Suffa University has shifted to Online Teaching during campus closure for the welfare and health of its students, teachers, and staff also in compliance with the order of the Federal and Sindh Governments on Corona Alert.

HEC through its first Policy on COVID-19 outbreak has given clear directions to universities to resume classes while benefiting from various technologies available for online teaching which is now the only method permitted by the authorities for imparting education to our students until further orders.

In light of the prevailing circumstances, our teaching staff had already started offering some online courses as trials and some of you might have already experienced it. It is expected that all departments will have gone online with their courses from Tuesday 24th March 2020. Your teachers are using new tools for online teaching/learning and so will you, therefore, it is important to share with you the various aspects of the new teaching methodology being adopted by your teachers especially for the Spring 2020 semester.

  • To resume teaching for the Spring 2020 semester, departments will employ the same teachers that were allocated the responsibility at the start of the semester. This is being done for your comfort and understanding with your existing teachers as well as to maintain the rhythm of your learning with your previous teacher. If there is any change, you will be informed the same well in time.
  • The University will follow the same timetable that was being followed on campus from the start of the Spring 2020 semester. Therefore, an online class should be considered equivalent to normal an on-campus class.
  • The default platform for delivering video lectures will be Zoom where you can create your own account to start your journey. Alternatively, this will be triggered upon your reply to the invitation to join a “meeting” by your class teacher through a unique zoom “meeting” link shared by you. There are many tutorials and use case examples showcased on YouTube (examples 1, 2) which you can view to develop user ability to operate Zoom at your place.
  • It is recommended that you maintain access to good internet bandwidth at home to be able to receive the learning content, whether through a PC or Tablet or Cell phone as your teachers will invariably be using audio/video content which you will either stream or download from the internet through LMS.
  • Attendance will be updated on the DSU LMS as per previous practice. University will exercise caution by understanding how students at different locations in the city may experience varied bandwidth and power availability. In the latter case, you will always have the opportunity to view the recorded videos of the online lectures, tasks, and assignments given being available on DSU LMS. Your teacher will resort to either roll call as done traditionally or incorporate activity-based attendance or even request filling out a brief end-of-lecture feedback form. You are advised to follow the method used by your teacher to help in establishing your attendance record. Rest assured that convenience and practicality will remain in consideration.
  • May Allah keep us and our families safe but it is feared that considering the fast spread of the viral infection, the possibility of someone getting infected exists. If infected, we advise that you should continue attending online lectures if easily possible, considering the circumstances at your home. But if the learning process in any way becomes uncomfortable, you should inform your teachers first-hand about the unfortunate sickness and excuse yourself from the course. We will endeavor to facilitate you in every way possible such that this withdrawal does not have any adverse bearing on your academic profile and grades.
  • There will mainly be two modes of online teaching.

–   One will involve live lectures broadcasted through Zoom (or some other platform if your teacher requires some other features-based software due to the nature of your course content, such as Skype or BigBlueButton which is already embedded in DSU LMS) with live interaction with students, OR
–   Alternatively, the teacher may have lectures pre-recorded and posted on the LMS course page for viewing before a live “meeting”. In this case, the scheduled class session will then involve discussion on the pre-recorded lecture content, assistance in content assimilation, Q&A, topic revisions, taking quizzes and assignments, etc. Queries about the delivered content obtained from students via email and other modes could also be clarified in subsequently recorded video clips.

  • Going online also means using unconventional methods as a replacement for routine mid-semester or end-semester examinations, etc. We are hoping that final examinations of the Spring 2020 semester will be held on campus but for the mid-semester examinations, teachers have some alternative assessment techniques in addition to the conventional online examination which they will be sharing with you along with the breakdown of marking scheme that they will maintain for the rest of the course. They are arranging this under the leadership of their department head, in consultation with the Dean and within the permitted framework given by HEC in its broader guidelines for the conduct of the online teaching throughout this semester.
  • If you are an engineering student, Engineering Laboratories will be conducted online as per the departmental policy. The plan is subject to change in case any different guidelines are received from Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).
  • In this challenging time, just like yourself, your teachers will be working from home. Therefore, In order to address your queries, they have been advised to manage online consultation hours. The schedule of these hours has not been specified as it may be agreed upon by the students and your teacher. Those falling behind or having queries are to utilize these hours as routinely done on campus.
  • While the University has laid down a complete plan for online learning for you, this does not stop you from reaching out to other learning resources. For advice on these, your teacher would be the first person to contact. Similarly, as the prescribed course content is posted on LMS, you are encouraged to benefit from peer-learning also by interacting with your classmates online.
  • The pace of the course will vary as the teaching methodology has changed. You may have issues with the pace or style of learning on offer. The teachers have been advised to adjust the pace of the course as things progress. The duration of a class may also be elastic as considered appropriate by your teacher. You are requested to be polite and courteous to your teacher in highlighting any problem faced during the learning sessions. At the same time, the HODs are monitoring the proceedings and have broader communication channels with their teachers. The management aims to quickly resolve any such query, in order to improve your learning experience as well as the ultimate outcome of this whole effort.
  • The University aims to complete the Spring 2020 semester as per the Academic Calendar modified for the Spring 2020 semester. At the same time, owing to the dynamic nature of evolving circumstances, if the situation demands some deviation or adjustment there, it will be timely communicated to you.
  • Be advised that you will have to manage your time effectively, getting to see online lectures on time, completing assignments. This will be challenging for you while being at home with things happening around you. It is suggested that you find a peaceful place in the house to view the online lectures using headphones. It is always a good idea to follow the teacher’s guidelines about managing your mic and webcam. It is advisable that you minimize/eliminate the source of noise in your surroundings or just keep your mic muted, to benefit from the audio of the lecture and not create disturbance for everyone with your audio. You must inform your family members that these are officially scheduled classes that you need to attend to clear the courses.
  • Teachers have been advised to facilitate the learning process as much as possible. However, they are fully authorized to deal with anyone trying to disrupt the learning process of the class. These online classes are going to be considered towards your learning progress, therefore, you are advised to take these lectures and associated assessments seriously in spite of the casual feel and comfort of your home.