Dr. Maher Arafat
College of Engineering and Information Technology
Department of Management Information Systems
I would like to start extending my sincere wishes and ask for God’s blessing to be on us all.
I would like to seize this opportunity to express my appreciation for all the work and achievements done so far, to Saida and the e-Learning Unit Family.
The initiation and the starting of the e-learning unit was one step forward and in the right direction, a time came when the e-Learning as a university goal was adapted, the institutionalizing the work came in creating the e-Learning Unit, Later with the help of the PFDP and The USAID The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching was established to work in a mutually and in alignment with the e-Learning Unit.
Yesterday I had to clean an old desk-top computer and found an email dated 2004 to Christian Ladesou, Head of Continuing Education at Lille1, to start an Open Academic Network for Distance Learning. A lot of memories came back to me as how much difficult it was and almost impossible with to convince people to considering the “e-Option” in the T/L Process. It has been 11 years now, and I see great progress been made, but the road ahead is still bumpy. And we all need to pick up the pace and achieve more with less time. I was among the first e-Learning committee which took the hard task to pioneer in e-Learning and learned from our mistakes and learned a lot from the good practices of the others. in RUFO Project (Academic Network for Open and Distance Learning) Linked 9 partner universities from Palestine a Europe and I participated as NNU representative. In this project, I learned a lot from working with partners from local universities, French, Spanish and Belgium, and very much enjoyed cherish their relationship. In 2009, the e-Learning committee agreed to build our home-made Learning Management System, for which I was totally against. At the time not one committee member was from the Education domain which was our misunderstanding that e-Learning is all about the “e” and we the Technical people can do anything. Fortunately one member from the education was added and while working with European partners we realize that “Learning” is our goal and the “e” is just the tool to achieve our educational objectives, Later, I was relieved from my duties in the e-Learning committee as I was not with the Course Container Project, and new committee was formed to adapt the Moodle system.
I remember a line regarding e-learning from a presentation during a study visit to Korea back in 2006 that says “ We can be ready, with up to date infrastructure, and wonderful content, but how can we be sure that the learners will come? ”. Also, I will always remember Francoise D’Hautcourt from Universite De Libre de Bruxelles
a wonderful line e-Learning “ The beauty of e-Learning is to build many to many relations”. I also had the privilege to work with Daniel Poisson, Universite Lille1, Fr. With the help of Zafer Shahin to animate in a flash file his work Pedagogy Triangle to create Pyramide de Daniel Poisson . I also learned how to be patient and give time to student to think and participate during classes from my dear friend Manuel Pinto, Spain.
We should consider also work on creating a technical skill-sets to build mind-sets among NNU learners of the new T/L … and also we should consider to maintain a constructive alignment between what we hope to do, (Utilizing the Technology) and adapting non didactic traditional teacher-based or book-based methods. Moreover, we must always maintain a (diversity of tools) the fact that in our efforts to help our learners in constructing their knowledge we utilize a wide range of tools and methods as our means to achieve our goals, of which is the e-Option.