The Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport in Sharjah (AASTS) has started implementing e-learning for the second semester in the College of Maritime Transport Technology. During the Spring break, faculty members were trained on giving e-lectures as well as providing the necessary support to students.
AASTS’ interactive academic electronic platform contributes to opening the door for everyone to continue learning as well as making use of qualified staff and modern technologies in the educational process. More than 100 students attended the online lectures on the first day, where the interactive educational process went smoothly.
In this regard, Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghaffar Ismail Faraj, President of the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, highlighted: “ The United Arab Emirates has succeeded in implementing the "distance learning" initiative in all educational institutions to ensure the continuity of education for all local students and residents which makes it a true role model by exploring the future for years. Accordingly, we have intensified all our efforts and preparations to apply our e-learning system smoothly aiming to enhance the safety of our students and faculty members, and in line with the instructions for prevention of COVID-19 dangers.”
He further added, “ In light of 290 million global students dropping out of school due to the novel COVID-19, we have successfully established a comprehensive committee to provide all the requirements for the "e-learning" platform. Our academic staff was involved in a two-day preliminary training last week to ensure efficient communication between faculty members and students. Our students will benefit from the new system in terms of providing theoretical and applied lectures and laboratories via electronic platforms and customized programs, providing electronic learning resources and developing educational materials. A well-qualified technical support team was formed to provide all required solutions and support.
Key pillars for systemic mechanisms
Imperatively, Dr. Hisham Afifi, Advisor to the President of the Academy and in charge of Khorfakkan's branch, emphasized, " We look forward to building a true partnership between the National academic sector and the maritime industry. This will contribute to research and development and prepare technical and administrative studies to help companies achieve further growth and expansion in product quality and business profitability. The education sector comes as the main supporter of this initiative, especially in the maritime field, which is one of the most important pillars of the country's future sustainable economy. Capitalizing on the strategic location of the UAE at the heart of global trade routes, in addition to the UAE’s advanced marine infrastructure, the country is ranked as one of the best global maritime hubs according to many international reports."
He explained, “Therefore, AASTS is always prepared to face any challenges that may affect the continuity of education. Our e-learning platform will introduce the curriculum to all students in an interactive way that reflects day-day college study. Although students are present in their homes, they will be given opportunities for quality and appropriate education through our platform that approved by the UAE Ministry of Education, which provides educational content in an integrated manner, and supports alternative solutions for the continuity of the educational process.”
Dr. Ahmed Youssef, Associate Dean of the College of Maritime Transport Technology, AASTS said, “ Since the beginning of the current emergency, we have properly communicated with all our students and their parents, and we have also sent informative guidelines on implementing our new platform in the context of emphasizing our efforts to ensure safety of our students and guaranteeing that they are ready to start using the new system. We also stressed on the need to attend the online lectures at the scheduled time and on a daily basis, so that students can participate with their colleagues and professors in proper discussions through an interactive electronic environment that ensures the highest levels of equality. In addition to providing the lecturers for an additional hour to address any questions immediately after the end of each lecture. In the event that the student is unable to attend the lecture on time, the full content will be uploaded in our online platform under the students’ training courses section. We also intend to send hard copies of essential academic books to the main assigned distribution points.”
He also added, “AASTS succeeded in registering more than 38 to join the second semester, bringing the total number of students to 125. The Academy offers two specialisations in the first phase: Maritime Transport Technology, which has two disciplines; port operations and offshore operations. The major will qualify graduates with a bachelor degree and a second mate certificate of competency. The Department of Marine Engineering will qualify students with a bachelor degree and third engineer certificate of competency. Both disciplines qualify graduates to work on commercial ships and offshore vessels.”
AASTS also seeks to attract professionals working in maritime companies in the UAE who wish to take specialised training courses as part of its professional development and continuing education programmes. AASTS provides maritime passport renewal, and cooperates with the training departments of shipping companies to design specialised training programmes in various maritime technical and administrative areas, benefitting from the Academy’s state-of-the-art simulators.