GCU switches fast to virtual teaching

LAHORE: In the wake of coronavirus outbreak, all the academic departments of Government College University (GCU) Lahore have been fast switching to virtual teaching for students of all degree programs.

The chairpersons have been directed to maintain the record of all online classes, digital hand-outs and recorded audio and video lectures besides ensuring necessary training and facilitation of faculty members by the newly formed Directorate of IT.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Asghar Zaidi also formed a WhatsApp Group with all chairpersons and faculty deans to monitor regularly the progress of virtual teaching.

In his message here on Wednesday, Prof. Zaidi said that the unusual situation due to COVID-19 posed additional challenges to all communities and they need to adapt and adopt extraordinary innovative ways to tackle these challenges.

He said that most departments of GCU including History, Physical Education, Botany, Environmental Science, Urdu, Sociology, Political Science, Commerce & Finance and English etc. have switched to virtual teaching, some of the departments like Physics are in process.

He said that besides GC university’s Learning Management System (GCU-LMS), the departments were using different pre-existing readily available Android/IOS/Windows applications, such as Zoom, Skype, Google Classroom, Instagram live, email, WhatsApp Groups, recorded lectures and others for virtual teaching.

Prof. Zaidi admitted that some of the departments like Fine Arts are facing more challenges as 70% of their teaching was practical and studio-based, but they would be also giving home-based assignments to their students.

He directed that all department chairpersons to keep engaged students virtually and find innovative ways to pass on teaching and training. The misconception that these are holidays for students and staff should be removed.

“When the GCU campus will reopen, we will take extra measures to fulfil the remaining requirements of the courses, ” he added. Extra measures are also taken for those who have returned to far flung areas where internet connectivity is an issue.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Zaidi said the university would consider reimbursing at least the internet costs of those faculty members and students of remote areas who may need new connections for their online classes. “However, the students who have the required means at hand must not look for excuses to evade their studies, ” he concluded.