In line with its efforts to support the Smart Government initiative that was launched earlier by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) has launched the virtual classroom system via mobile devices for the first semester of the academic year 2013-2014. The new technology, which enables learners to access virtual classrooms from anywhere via a smartphone or tablet, reaffirms HBMeU’s focus on maximizing the flexibility of e-learning. The state-of-the-art technology has been generating excellent feedback from learners.
The cutting-edge technology ensures synchronous learning by enabling a cohesive e-learning platform that uses tools like multi-way audio, live video streams, integrated chat, application sharing, and file transfer to name a few. Just as in a physical classroom, at the scheduled class times, the faculty can make presentations, draw or write to the class, and show videos to the class. The learners can even raise their hands to ask questions or post comments in real time, bringing in a true sense of classroom learning.
Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor, said: “The new virtual classroom technology is a definitive step towards making learning truly accessible in these modern times. We believe that through the mobile app that allows instant access to the virtual classrooms, we will be able to negate the effects of unnecessary hindrances that pose challenges to our task of spreading knowledge. As a new paradigm of education is emerging, we are confident of fostering a culture of lifelong learning through this relatively novel and alternative approach to learning.”
“Since the launch of the Smart Government initiative which is a significant step towards supporting the UAE’s goal of being among the top 5 governments in the world by 2021, HBMeU has dedicated its efforts to apply the most advanced technologies which perfectly complement the plans aimed at enhancing the e-Learning sector. e-Learning will play a crucial role to reach higher levels of excellence and leadership under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMeU, to promote HBMeU’s leading position as the top e-learning university in the Arab world,” Dr. Al Awar added.
HBMeU also pointed out that with the deployment of the new virtual classroom technology, instructors can divide the learners into groups and each group will be in their own virtual classroom discussing and working on their instructor-assigned tasks. The instructor can also ask yes/no questions and learners can provide their answers on the system immediately (instantaneous poll). Moreover, all the virtual classroom sessions are automatically recorded and archived so that learners can access and view them later at their convenience.
Although Virtual Learning Environments have been in existence since mid-1990s, as a phenomenon it is growing in popularity among non-traditional learners in the region and globally only now owing to the widespread reach of internet and mobile devices.
HBMeU is the first e-learning institute in the Arab World that was established with the vision to develop a new learning process through the implementation of learning practices characterised by flexibility, quality and diversity to strengthen self-leadership among learners and prepare them socially and academically for a future career through integration in the job market. HBMeU’s philosophy is based on vital methods that have been developed through extensive research and development by specialists from all over the world. These methods include offering high quality programs, supporting the pursuit of lifelong learning, promoting the freedom of information, reinforcing the culture of excellence and innovation and providing education for everyone in line with the highest standards of comprehensiveness and credibility. The university, which is accredited by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, seeks to constantly identify knowledge needs, support research and development programs and create an outstanding environment for e-learning.