The Coronavirus pandemic is teaching us important lessons

“The internet should be seen as important as water and electricity. Companies should be prepared with online strategies”

The current epidemic with its impacts on the community shows the importance of the internet for communication, teaching, online learning and remote work. “Companies should be prepared in advance for such a crisis,” says Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). Under Prof. Nabil’s supervision, the university has implemented online teaching and learning.

Prof. Nabil highlights the importance of advanced planning and strategies on various levels: “Schools and even companies and governmental agencies should have a clear strategy for online work and online teaching as part of their Crisis Management Plans (CMP). Like we train staff and students on how to evacuate a building in case of fire, we are currently witnessing the need to train them how to work from home. Once this crisis ends, we should all have a clear plan on how to deal with similar situations in the future, ” he says while adding that “the internet should be seen as important as water and electricity. Each single house should have access to internet with a reasonable speed. Unless we achieve this, we cannot provide synchronous teaching, which means live sessions, to students as this would exclude some of them.”

As a consequence, the teaching will be mainly asynchronous, through posting videos and materials in the Learning Management System and asking students to work on assignments offline, which according to Prof. Nabil Sahli, does not replace the traditional way of teaching. A lot of self-discipline and motivation is required from each student. “We all learned that self-discipline is crucial for survival. During regular times, students are used to attend classes according to a well-defined timetable, listen to their teachers, and do their homework. When confined at home, what would make a student follow the posted material and recordings on time and submit the requested assignment if it is not his or her self-discipline and determination?” asks Prof. Nabil.

Caption: Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech.

(c) GUtech/ Photo & Text: Umaima Al Zadjali & Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli

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