Umm Al-Qura University

The Universities that did well During Covid-19

Ok so this is not to sing the praises of one particular university (or to name and shame!)

My number 1 observance of what separated the great universities from the average universities in the Middle East (and I’m in contact with a lot):

The universities that did well are the ones that had a robust curriculum already in place.

With of course the caveat; that teachers are well-versed in implementing the curriculum.

Why do I say this?

The universities that have a robust curriculum, i.e. a series of learning objectives (LOs)/week, have a backbone to ensure seamless teaching. With a detailed plan of what is to be taught, teachers (and learners!) know exactly what should be covered.

How these LOs are covered is of secondary importance. If the teacher is used to planning and conducting a lesson tailored to an LO (and not merely a page of a book), then all they have to do is to adapt to the medium of instruction.

So for example. If the teacher is teaching ‘Can synthesise two reading passages in a related field’ – then they would do so normally in a classroom using their course book. The course book was chosen to match the curriculum, so if this is a key LO there will be pages dedicated to the presentation and practice of the LO. Take the course book away (because students are not in class and don’t have a book (or the book is no longer effective for a number of reasons)), and the teacher must go about teaching the LO using other materials. Maybe they will look for online practice. Maybe they will use powerpoint instead of the book.

However! If the teacher is teaching the book! I.e. there isn’t a robust curriculum in place, the teacher only knows what page of the book to be teaching… then come Covid-19 and the book is unavailable/rendered useless; the class is now without a rudder! Whatever is taught is unlikely to coherently build towards the end course goals!

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