AGU's Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic


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Bengü E. , Yılmaz B.

Other, pp.1-40, 2021

  • Publication Type: Other Publication / Other
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-40

Abstract

This report is prepared by Dr. Başak Gencer Akçok, Dr. Burak Asiliskender, Dr. Bülent Yılmaz, Daryl York, Elif Ayan, Elmas Doğan, Emeric Abrignani, Fikri Ulusoy, Hacı Oğuz, Nur Kartal, Osman Yıldırım and Uğur Doğan in cooperation with Schools, Departments, Graduate Programs, and Administrative Units

The Covid-19 pandemic affected all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) worldwide throughout the unprecedented year of 2020. In Turkey, the Higher Education Council (HEC), the governmental body responsible for regulating all universities, both public and private, across the country, decided to interrupt the spring semester on 16 March 2020and requested universities to shift to distance education immediately after a three-week break. Following the HEC’s decision, the Abdullah Gul University (AGU) senior management held many meetings and formed strategies to ensure the continuation and effective implementation of university activities during this unexpected crisis. In so doing, AGU thoroughly analyzed the different measures taken by American and European institutions during this period in order to efficiently plan its own transition process. AGU held its first virtual/online general academic assembly meeting on 16 March 2020 to bring together all academics and student groups with the aim to arrange the continuity of educational and research activities. The institutional decisions made in response to the Covid-19 crisis focus on five different areas: (1) the framework of course (re)design for online education and the platforms to be used, (2) the operation of laboratories for research, (3) the infrastructure and technical necessities of remote learning and teaching, (4) the operation of campus dormitories for foreign students and other students in need, (5) the well-being of students and staff. With a participatory approach, decisions were implemented in the quickest and most effective way. During this general academic assembly meeting, the “AGU Online Education Task Force” was established in order to carry on the university’s teaching and learning activities. This task force benefited from the precious contributions of the different academic department heads, the Student Affairs Office, the IT Office and the Centre for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CeLT). 8 Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic AGU’s full institutional transition to distance education and services became operational only two weeks after the national decision to shift to online learning. The first chapter of this report provides detailed information about AGU’s transition to online education starting with the School of Foreign Languages as well as undergraduate and graduate degree programmes. The second section of this chapter addresses assessment practices, students’ feedback, and the decisions taken to improve the online education process. The third section focuses on the importance of faculty development, and provides examples of best practices. The fourth section provides information on the events and activities that were initiated by different university support offices. The second chapter provides detailed information on the different measures (sanitary, safety, entertainment, etc.) implemented at the administrative level in a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The third chapter of this report addresses AGU’s contribution to its community and society as a whole during the pandemic. The report ends with discussion and concluding remarks.