Universities team up to develop online courses – Journal

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Development Project Pakistan (HEDP) of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) hosted the second meeting of a consortium of 11 universities at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust ) to develop asynchronous online courses as part of the new nationwide undergraduate core curriculum.

The consortium is formulated based on the expertise of these universities in developing and delivering quality online learning platforms.

It includes Allama Iqbal Open University, Aga Khan University, Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Comsats University, Habib University, Hazara, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Lahore National University of Science and Technology, University of Baltistan and Virtual University of Pakistan.

According to a statement, the vice-chancellors and senior officials of all these universities attended the meeting. The new curriculum adds 11 core courses drawn from five broad categories of HEC undergraduate politics courses.

These universities will offer courses on PakistanEdX by offering multilingual options in five categories of Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Quantitative Skills, Natural Sciences and Explanatory Writing.

PakistanEdX is a key activity launched under the aegis of the World Bank supported HEDP project. It aims to offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) online with well-known international platforms – Coursera, EdX – with the vision of broadening the horizon of quality education at the national level, targeting in particular remote and disadvantaged areas.

PakistanEdX will provide subsidized courses for disadvantaged youth.

The platform is developed by the same organization that has been a major developer for several international learning platforms such as MIT/Harvard’s edX, University of California San Diego, edX and Wikimedia. The technology built by this company has already served more than 55 million students worldwide.

Retired Lt. Gen. Javed Mahmood Bukhari, Rector of Nust, said, “We at Nust offer our full support to this visionary initiative. It is time to take advantage of this opportunity and offer our future generations a good mix of new learnings. I appreciate the entire HEC/HEDP team for this remarkable work.

Maryam Riaz, coordinator of the HEDP project, explained the importance of taking into account the reactions of universities in the development of any policy relating to higher education.

Representatives from participating universities deliberated on what each university can offer and when each course will be available for the platform. The discussion focused on how these courses can be credited and what were the parameters of a three-hour course credited by HEC.

Sustainability and financial models were discussed with the aim of ensuring high quality and accessibility aspects.

The meeting agreed to develop models of collaboration between universities for the development of high quality MOOCs with the participation of experienced and specialized professors from different universities. All universities have agreed to assign technical members of various sub-committees for the execution of PakistanEdX who can work on targeted aspects.

Posted in Dawn, March 27, 2022

Karen O. Fielding