Eight blended courses launched, 67 faculty members trained and 7500 plus students benefited in two years
Dubai, March 07, 2023: In a sustained endeavour to make university education accessible, interactive and student-centric, the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) and Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation brought together educators and decision makers to discuss support for online learning as part of the foundation’s quarterly thought leadership series event.
Now in its third edition, the event aims to convene key stakeholders to address some of the most pressing issues in education today and cultivate knowledge sharing that will aid the transformation that the higher education sector demands.
The University Consortium for Quality Online Learning (UCQOL) is an initiative launched in 2020 in partnership with the Ministry of Education and nine leading universities of the region to build the capacity of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the online education ecosystem. The key objectove of UCQOL is to to produce market-driven, high-quality and accredited online programmes. The multi-phased project has so far successfully launched eight premium blended courses with the support of university administrators, knowledgeable faculty and expert instructional designers. Through structured needs assessments organised in selective distinct areas, the project in its second phase has trained 67 faculty members across the region and awarded one institutional grant in less than two years towards the creation and delivery of sustainable online programmes.
With the global market for online learning set to reach $350 billion by 2025, the demand to ensure that online education is user-friendly, sustainable and in alignment with the market needs is imperative.
“It is critical that we keep improving and renewing the teaching and learning methodologies in higher education with a focus on long lasting, scalable, qualitative approaches to keep pace with continuous change around us. AGFE and UCQOL has been a major catalyst to collaborative development of quality online academic programmes and practices among institutions and I have no doubt that UCQOL will serve as a regional and international model that will share knowledge and expertise with many other institutions and countries in the region,” said Dr. Hassan Obaid Al Mheiri. Assistant Undersecretary for Curriculum Sector, Ministry of Education in his keynote address.
“We look forward to supporting the proliferation of UCQOL as a UAE initiative, becoming a blueprint for countries to follow – to help students upskill and enrol in courses from anywhere they have a connection while assuring a higher level of teaching and learning,” said Sultan Al Ghurair, Board Member, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation.
UCQOL was developed in line with the UAE National Innovation Strategy and the National Higher Education Strategy 2030, to solely help make online learning accessible and a seamless experience for students willing to learn and upskill, virtually. Currently in its second phase – Training & Capacity Building – the project will see more higher-level online design workshops and sprints in support of more than 100 departments in addition to ongoing course design and accreditation development.