Online Learning Zone

In 2013, the ex-director of Sharjah Higher Colleges had a problem with student intake for the following semester. Usually, the problem is with lack of students, but in this case it was the opposite: too many students and not enough teachers. It was decided to implement an online learning zone (OLZ) which would cater for up to six classes, or 150 students, at a time. I must admit, I was against (and still am) the idea of sending students to do online learning in a computer lab, especially when all have mobile computing devices. I would be in favour of them using the technology really creatively to foster their independent learning skills. However, college regulations stated that attendance must be taken for each period of study. I wasn’t involved in the set up of the OLZ. but watched as things developed over the first semester. It was a disaster. Teachers didn’t have time to develop proper online materials and students were going in and coming out after short periods of time. I stepped in then and offered to develop OLZ materials that would engage the students and hopefully keep them in the OLZ for most of the 50-minute period. The materials basically test vocabulary, force students to type rather than answer multiple choice questions and all activities were scored and added to the grade book. SoftChalk was used to develop the materials. Pretty much drill-and-practice and testing activities, nothing too innovative, but here they are:

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