Making Remote Teaching and Learning work at Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) – Kuwait
Faced with the unfolding challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, GUST instructors wanted to ensure that over 117,000 combined Math and English Language students continued to get a consistently high-quality learning experience. As the crisis has eased, they’ve used the Pearson digital tools they adopted to enhance the university’s blended educational offering.
In 2020, GUST’s Math and English Foundation Program teams were tasked with keeping learners engaged during the lockdown, ensuring none fell behind and that all teaching plans were maintained. Using Microsoft Teams to regularly ‘meet’, and liaising with their dedicated Pearson representative, they explored how course eBooks could work alongside online resources including MyLab Math, Learning Catalytics and Active Quiz in Moodle.
Training both faculty and students to access and use the resources in new ways (in a very short time frame) was a priority, as was motivating students to accept virtual office hours. Pearson offered advice on delivering assessments and how to support students who felt they needed more than just video lectures for their learning needs.
The ability to work effectively and safely from their own homes benefited all parties and the asynchronous model meant teaching and learning could happen at times to suit individuals, in an engaging way. Everyone adapted quickly to trying out new learning styles.
Working together across departments to meet the challenges of a rapidly unfolding global crisis has brought far-ranging benefits to GUST and its teaching staff. The Math and English Foundation Units shared their growing knowledge of tech solutions for teaching and assessing their students’ development and, with Pearson support, gained confidence in synchronous and asynchronous online teaching methods that they’ll apply well into the future. Students benefited from flexible learning opportunities and the simplicity of using digital resources to interact in team activities and ‘classroom’ discussions remotely but in real-time.
“We believe this framework can be used by other educators, institutions and universities who would like to transition from the traditional model to a virtual model. In fact, this could possibly be integrated into your existing model for a better teaching and learning experience.”
Milena Baeff, Math Foundation Unit, GUST
GUST recommends other universities take advantage of Pearson’s experience and breadth of services, collaborate with other faculty teams remotely – even across time zones – and create blended learning experiences that will be better for teaching staff and students now and into the future.