Ms. Bnar Azad: It is a duty of universities to transition to electronic system and build an electronic infrastructure for scientific, technical, and cultural aspects.
Since the establishment of Soran University, it has attempted to build a strong infrastructure by observing the advanced experience of international academic centers to have a significant status in the academic progress. From this perspective, and in a suitable academic view with the global standards for benefiting from technology as the most noticeable recent achievement, established the foundations for electronic campus in 2013, which unfortunately could not be completed due budget cut of Kurdistan Region by Iraqi central government and the attack of ISIS. The project could not be ready for use until last November when work on it was resumed by the supervision of a local team, gladly most of the services are ready for use now. It was because of this project that Soran University, as the first university in Kurdistan, announced its readiness for starting classes electronically even with the closure of all universities and educational centers at this age of Corona.
To shed light importance and quality of the electronic campus, we had an interview with Ms. Bnar Azad Hamadameen, a member of managing team for the project. Below are her responses to our interview questions:
- What is the purpose, and what are the characteristics of the electronic campus?
The name of electronic campus tells it all: all the work done on the physical university campus can be done electronically, and they are easily linked together among departments, faculties and university. Also, communications between students and teachers and the staff can be carried out very fast and at any time. Workflow is done with great transparency. Teaching and learning and researching are facilitated, in addition to time saved.
In today’s world, technology is very advanced and helpful in all fields. Electronic campus is an important need for universities who want success and development.
(It is a duty of universities to transition to electronic system and build an electronic infrastructure for scientific, technical, and cultural aspects.)
- To what extent does it have a role in learning process?
Certainly, it has a great role in the learning process. Students and learning cannot be limited only to the physical campus. Students can always reach all study materials that university provides everywhere. Moreover, when students have a question or hesitation about a subject, there is no need to wait until university time; they can ask questions via the various tools of electronic campus, or they can directly search for the information without visiting several rooms to get that special information, such as (attendance information). Electronic campus is a secure line between students and teachers who are all linked to the electronic campus and courses via their university accounts. In this way, nothing is lost from the student, and the teachers can observe the students’ activity in real time.
- The lectures are recorded; students can benefit from them whenever they want or whenever it is convenient for them.
- Because there will be a complete set of lecture materials after 2 years in the electronic campus, therefore, knowledge sharing will be fair in the community by providing electronic lecture notes for all students, even for those who are not students (because characteristics of some lectures are to be put in some other networks and be shared and downloaded by students). It is important to know that knowledge sharing fairly in Kurdistan is essential.
- Communication between teachers and students will be wider and easier in addition to the time and method of the communication which will be more professional.
- Teachers are encouraged to present most scientific and updated materials because their works will be viewed by professionals and all the community. Teachers can update the uploaded study material if they come across new information or findings related to their lectures. So, they can easily update the newest information for the students.
- Online teaching is one specific characteristic of the electronic campus, offline record, online and offline smart examination, meetings, conferences, continuous online supervision are other characteristics.
- After watching the recorded lessons, students can ask the teachers about the lectures by chatting.
- Various lectures can be uploaded into the system in various ways, sample questions, lessons or videos…etc. Teachers can upload special question and answer debates, and also give exams.
- Student marks (grades) are calculated electronically and will be available fast.
- Students can view other information related to them without visiting registration or study units to know the absence days for example, or prior year’s class, addition to the extra information related to students. All information is protected by a special password and username of the student.
It is obvious that, nowadays, students use pens less often than before. Most of them are familiar with keyboard in a way that they are strangers with pens. This is not a bad thing because pens have become electronic. That is why modern-day students enjoy electronic study.
- What is the difference between the electronic campus and online studying? To what extent services of electronic campus can serve online studying?
Electronic campus means changing the whole institute into electronic system including all components such as administration affairs, payment methods, library, registration, print system, academic relations between teachers and students. Studying is part of this electronic system, all institutes can be linked together, and all affairs can be treated electronically via providing a complete local network, even in the absence of actual internet connection.
Online studying means studying without a physical campus without having to go to the campus. You can complete your study by taking lectures online via internet.
Electronic campus can certainly serve and accommodate online studying because all data of students and teachers and study materials can be available in a safe way in this campus. Besides it provides a secure passage between teacher and students.