Continuity Strategy | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

Continuity Strategy

Emergency Remote Teaching/Learning Resources | COVID-19 Response

This page was designed to support the University's online teaching and learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff members are top priorities, and AUIS is continuing to monitor the outbreak of COVID-19.

We are regularly reviewing information from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and following the interim guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with the recommendations from the KRG’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

 
The guidelines provided below will be updated regularly.
 

News and Announcements

  • April 3, 2020: KRG has extended the curfew for another 48 hours.
  • March 30, 2020: KRG has extended the closure of all ministries, other government departments, universities, schools, and most businesses, until April 16.  Those institutions with the necessary skills and equipment are now operating online from their employees' homes.  AUIS employees will continue to work from home until the campus reopens.
  • March 23, 2020: KRG has extended the curfew through the end of March for all residents in the Kurdistan Region.
  • March 15, 2020: KRG has extended the curfew for 72 hours, starting from midnight tonight (Sunday). All residents of Sulaimani are instructed to remain in their homes for the next 72 hours
  •  March 13, 2020: KRG has announced a 48-hour curfew starting from midnight tonight (Friday). All residents of the KRG are instructed to remain in their homes for the next 48 hours.
  • March 10, 2020: The University will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020 and will reopen on Sunday, March 29, 2020, as planned. Classroom instruction is scheduled to resume on April 1.  
  • February 25, 2020: Beginning Saturday, February 29 and through Nawroz Break, all AUIS classes on campus are canceled.

 

Student Guidelines

AUIS has temporarily suspended all in-class instruction and moved to online learning. This page is a guide to help you to complete your courses successfully. 

Getting Started

  • Make sure your computer/tablet is in good working order and that you have a  way to access the internet at least once a week.
  • Familiarize yourself with Moodle and Zoom as they will be the apps most used during your online learning.
  • Check your emails frequently and stay connected with your colleagues and instructors.
  • Have a schedule for yourself and stick to it. You won’t have the daily rhythm of campus life.
  • Know and understand the expectations of your instructor(s).
  • Make sure you have access to resources needed to complete your assignments. 
  • Internet issues could cause delays in submitting assignments.  
  • Make sure you know when your professor is holding office hours.
  • Respect the University honor code and academic integrity guidelines. 

Best Practices

  • Take charge of your learning. Just like a class- and lab-based college education, your effort determines how much you learn. Communicate with faculty if you are not receiving their lectures immediately, ask questions to help understand content, and stay up-to-date with the information as much as you are able.
  • Set a daily routine and stick to it. Your normal daily routine has likely been upended so it’s important to create a new schedule and maintain consistency. Wake up at the same time, schedule time slots for various activities and tasks, and make sure to go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Avoid distractions during study time. Staying focused can be challenging, especially with social media apps and family members at home. Find a quiet place to work and leave your phone elsewhere or disable your app notifications. Check out this article from Purdue University Global, "How to Create the Perfect Study Environment for Online Learning."
  • Manage stress. Uncertainty can be difficult to manage. Try meditation and breathing exercises, do light exercise, eat healthy, and make sure to get enough sleep. Spending quality time with loved ones (in person or online) can also help relieve stress and put you in a good mood.
  • Find the value. The transition to online education may be new and unfamiliar, however, building new skills will pay off in the future.

Resources and Readings

Academic Integrity

Academic Integrity — being honest in one's scholarly work — is integral to the teaching-learning process and future professional success. As such, students are expected to follow the AUIS Honor Code and the principles of Academic Integrity at all times.

For further details, please refer to the email sent to all AUIS students by Dr. Barın Kayaoğlu, Dean of Students, on April 3, 2020, subject line, “A note on Academic Integrity during online period.”

Any questions or inquiries related to Academic Integrity should be emailed to Dr. Barın.

Get Help

University Counselor Ms. Frishta Kewe is available to all AUIS students via telephone or other means of communication. Contact Ms. Kewe if you would like to schedule a session.


Faculty Guidelines

This guide will give the first steps, techniques, and tools to plan and implement academic continuity strategies during campus closures. AUIS uses Moodle, an open-source learning management system. All members of faculty are expected to use and maintain their Moodle pages for their classes at this time and going forward.

Getting Started
This checklist provides a quick overview of remote teaching:
  • Communicating with students: Ensure students have access and are aware of the communication method.
    • Post your syllabus within Moodle.
    • Inform your class that learning objectives for the day(s) will be announced on Moodle. Posting an announcement will let your class know what to do. 
  • Sharing course material: Decide how you will distribute documents, readings, recorded lectures. Available platforms include Moodle, Google Drive, YouTube, Dropbox, etc.
    • All documents, links, and materials should be in Moodle for a one-stop repository of classroom materials. If you are using Dropbox, YouTube, Google Drive, please make sure that you are providing your students with a link to these places on Moodle.
  • Presenting information: Use resources to assist in capturing/recording your lecture content asynchronously for students to watch remotely later
    • Asynchronous lecture: Consider capturing your pre-recorded mini-lectures or demonstrations for students via Zoom Screen Record, Voice-Over-PowerPoint, iPad Whiteboard.
      • Other useful tools to create an interactive course/video or can be used for assessment as well: edpuzzle, Padlet, Socrative.
      • Classes can be held live with students at the scheduled time through Zoom or YouTube Livestream. AUIS is using an asynchronous only platform, so students can be required to attend these sessions.
    • Faculty can borrow an iPad or tablet from AUIS, along with a stylus to create lectures similar to a whiteboard through Zoom + screen capture. This is especially useful for STEM courses.
  • Collecting assignments and quizzes:
    • ​Move methods for evaluating student learning to an online format. Short comprehension checks after readings, problem sets, and lectures can be created on Moodle.
    • Designate a central place to collect student submissions. Turnitin and Moodle are the standard resources at AUIS.
    • Be flexible in deadlines. Students are under a unique pressure while they navigate a huge change in their lives.
  • Assessing student learning:
    • Formal exams will not be held in the same manner as they have been done in the past.
      • Re-evaluate your syllabus and find ways to innovate within your assessments.
      • Projects, papers, at-home experiments and research, and oral examinations are alternative means of assessment that should be explored.
      • Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to identify your assessment objectives and student learning outcomes.
      • Explore the “Quiz” option in Moodle to create smaller assessments (randomized questions, a variety of styles, multiple attempts, etc.)
  • Holding Office Hours: Identify an option for holding office hours virtually such as Zoom, Google Hangout, Viber, Whatsapp, etc.
    • Faculty members are required to be available to students for three hours every week. The VPAA’s office can request proof that these hours are being fulfilled.

Assessments

Faculty are advised to replace midterm exams with other types of assignments like:
  • Live oral exams
  • Open book exams
  • Student presentations (recorded)
  • Essays
  • Study guides
  • Short quizzes
  • Student-led discussion (via Zoom)
  • Group project work  

Rules and Policies

  • All courses will be moved online, without exception.
  • The amount of material and teaching hours have not changed from face-to-face classes.
  • All live lectures must take place at the originally scheduled time of the course, not at any other time.
  •  Live lectures must also be recorded and made available to those students who could not be online at the time of the live lecture, which in this region is more likely to happen than elsewhere due to electricity and connectivity problems.
  • Because of the electricity and connectivity issues, instructors shall not give points for attendance during live lectures nor tie the completion of assignments (such as live posts) to participation in live lectures.
  • No assessments will be conducted until April 16, 2020.
  • All faculty must employ at least THREE different types of instructional tools in each of their courses.
  • All faculty must provide their own, self-produced, asynchronous, recorded lectures. These lectures can take the form of recorded video or they may consist of recorded audio plus screen share, but they must be recorded, original, and produced by instructors specifically for their course.

Best Practices

  • Stay informed about the University’s plans.
  • Communicate with your students early and often.
  • Check in with your department chair. The Academic Department will provide regular updates with further detail on guidelines for expectations for classes.
  • Find out about your students' situations. You might also start gathering information about your students' individual status. Do they have the technology needed to engage  in online activities? Do they have  reliable internet access and adequate bandwidth for video? What time zones are they now in? What new demands might they have on their time because of this public health crisis? Be ready to use this information to guide your planning and expectations.
  • Revisit your learning goals. Your course goals will likely remain the same. How students get there may need to change. Look at each goal or outcome and start thinking about how students can reach it and demonstrate mastery within the new limitations of teaching remotely.
  • Identify your new expectations for students. You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including attendance, participation, communication, and deadlines.
  • Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students. Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and adopt new tools only when absolutely necessary to meet course goals.
  • Identify your resources. Find a colleague experienced with teaching online who is willing to give you guidance and feedback, or seek out online peer groups in your discipline. Everyone is going through this now, and there are likely people in your field sharing best practices online. 

Readings and Resources

Get Help

The  AUIS Information Technology Department (ITD) supports University platforms that enable online learning and collaboration, including Moodle and Zoom. For support with these technologies or to learn what other tools are available, contact ITD support.

Reach out to the VPAA's office for further support. 

Library Services

  • Free trial access made available by some publishers due to COVID-19
  • AUIS e-resources (Please contact the librarian to get a PDF with all credentials)

Health and Hygiene

As with the flu virus, the new coronavirus can cause fever, coughing, body aches, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. Both viruses can result in mild or severe reactions, or even be fatal in rare cases. Both can result in pneumonia.  

Should you experience any of these flu-like symptoms, it is important to seek medical treatment immediately. In Sulaimani, kindly call the KRG Ministry of Health hotline at 07718204444 or 07718205555 to seek medical assistance for yourself or others.

Instructions to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus:

  • Regularly clean your hands with running water and soap or with hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough. If you must cough, cough into your elbow, or preferably into a tissue and then throw that tissue away. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands. 
  • If you feel sick with flu-like symptoms, immediately call the Ministry hotline above.  Please use this hotline only to report such symptoms! For other symptoms or illnesses, contact a doctor, health clinic, or medical professional.
  • If you feel ill, stay home.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms such as coughing, fever, and sneezing. 
  • Avoid kissing and hugging.
  • Avoid spitting on the floor.
  • Avoid sharing cups, spoons, tissue paper, and towels.
  • Avoid raw and under-cooked animal products and handle raw meat and milk carefully. It is important to have a balanced diet and to prevent illness by strengthening the body’s immune system. Eat foods that are full of vitamins, such as fruits and vegetables, and get enough sleep.
  • Pay attention to fresh air and ventilation inside by opening doors and windows. 

Please know that we care about you and wish you good health. We are following the latest information from the WHO,  KRG Ministry of Health, and other KRG government agencies, and will let you know of any significant updates. 


For more information, contact us at info@auis.edu.krd.