Home LearningExcellence In...Higher Education Distance Learning Is More Than Just Teaching: Abu Dhabi University Takes Distance Learning To The Next Level

Distance Learning Is More Than Just Teaching: Abu Dhabi University Takes Distance Learning To The Next Level

by Eddie Rayner

Following the integration of distance in the UAE, Abu Dhabi University (ADU) continues to pave the way for student success by ensuring its students are connected and equipped with the necessary educational tools while remaining healthy at home. As part of the University’s mission to provide a holistic experience to its students, ADU is also providing online counselling, advising, and tutoring, virtual sports and wellness activities, online workshops, and other forms of student engagement.

Using social media as well as co-working tools such as Microsoft Teams, ADU is constantly communicating with the members of its community to boost their morale, provide study tips, counselling, workshops and facilitate online study groups. To maintain student engagement, sports tournaments have been moved online, with home workout videos being streamed daily, and sports teams meeting virtually to challenge each other as they stay safe at home. The University is also providing an academic advisory program where students are able to connect with their academic advisors online and tutors can check on students in need of support.

One of the most important aspects of how ADU is staying connected to its community is by providing health tips in response to COVID-19. Several clubs are involved in transferring the message of practicing social distancing, tips to maintain necessary hygiene, and how students can stay strong at home.

Prof. Waqar Ahmad, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University, commented, “ADU strives to maintain high student morale and ensure its students are receiving the necessary tools and resources to continue their quality education. In line with our mission to put the ADU community at the heart of everything we do, we have gone the extra mile to make distance learning an enjoyable experience for our students. They have access to online competitions, sports tournaments, and useful tips on how to maintain their mental and physical wellbeing during this trying period. Our mission is to equip our students with the resources to achieve academic and personal success, in addition to fostering leadership, innovation and, ambition among them. Our graduates will be the leaders of tomorrow. We are committed to retaining a solid community in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, making sure our students know we are, as always, here to support them.”

The Employability and Alumni Relations Office (EARO) has put in place a set of initiatives and activities to engage students, including virtual career development workshops and events for students and graduates. In addition to that, the EARO is collaborating with various employers to present virtual career information sessions and create opportunities for students to network with future employers.

The Student Engagement Office (SEO) is also continuing to maintain and strengthen its relationship with students by arranging regular virtual meetings with student organizations, offering workshops on how to maintain engagement with potential and current members. The SEO is also adapting many of its traditional face-to-face activities, such as the Club Fair, to virtual format.

The Sports and Wellness Office (SWO) is hard at work keeping students active during this period, coordinating three separate e-sports tournaments exclusively for ADU students and providing weekly workout videos for the entire ADU community. The SWO has also continued to train their sports teams by providing over 70 online coaching sessions with individual players from the male basketball and football teams. Especially impressive is the introduction of ‘Stallions Chat’, an interview segment piece where the SWO will conduct interviews with elite sports professionals from around the world. The Sports and Wellness Office has made it its mission to encourage the health and wellness of the entire ADU community.

In a bid to keep students healthy and well, the Student Support Office has launched an ‘Online Doctor’s Advice’ and ‘Online Counselling Service’ to help the community cope with the current situation and overcome any challenges they might be facing. Abu Dhabi University is the first higher education institution to launch such services to its students, staff and faculty across all campuses in the UAE. Our Student Support Office will also ensure a smooth visa renewal process for all students and is ensuring our international students who live far from their countries feel at home. Students new to ADU will be welcomed virtually to the academic year via a virtual orientation day, which will give them a comprehensive overview of the University’s academic programs, campus facilities, and student life.

The Academic Success Center (ASC) also offers workshops led by faculty and students, allowing students an opportunity to hone their presentation skills and increase self-confidence. Course Assistants are providing support for all math and science courses, and the last two weeks have seen over 100 students benefit from the services provided by the ASC.

The Student Affairs Department at Al Ain campus has developed a virtual activities calendar covering different aspects of student life including recreational activities, workshops, sports and fitness activities, and Student Development Program workshops, along with social media competitions and challenges to help break the daily routine.