The worldwide pandemic of the Covid-19 virus is a major concern for several countries at present. With the situation still instilled with uncertainty and instability across borders, it has enforced changes in the way we work, interact, and live in general. And the academic landscape is no different. Keeping the global concerns of the current circumstances in mind, the American International University – Bangladesh (AIUB) has gone virtual.
The classes of all 4 Faculties of the institution has been shifted online, enabling students and teachers to conduct and undertake their classes within the safety of their homes. From the 20th of March 2020, AIUB has successfully initiated all its classes, for both undergraduate and graduate programs, online through the Microsoft Teams Application. Since 2008, AIUB has been affiliated with Microsoft live.edu, currently known as Microsoft 365, making it one of most long-standing and strong collaborations, with the technology giant, in the country till date. As a result of this collaborative affiliation, AIUB students, faculty members, and officials get unlimited user access to many of its applications, including the Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. Being one of the first private universities in Bangladesh to make the move within days of the initial outbreak in the country, AIUB is now gone fully virtual with its classes with the licensed MS Teams App that students and faculty members can access through their own university email IDs. With its dynamic interface and diverse features, students and faculties can now participate in a unique teaching-learning experience, that not only ensures the health and welfare of both, but also encourages the continuity of academic activities in these difficult times. In its ongoing Spring 2019-20 semester, approximately 11000 active student users along with around 650 faculty members and officials of AIUB are accessing this online platform, utilizing it to its full capacity for online class lectures and team-based work projects. Faculty members are delivering lectures through video conferencing with embedded PowerPoint presentations, whiteboard incorporations, and desktop sharing options. Students can communicate with them through video, audio or message boards for queries, clarifications, and class participation, as required and appropriate. They can also participate in the quizzes and assignments through this platform.
The platform enabled an interactive and versatile set-up as an alternate medium to conventional in-class teaching and learning environments, augmenting another layer of advanced digitized education in the modern world today. The initiative safeguarded the students from incurring the loss of the semester, giving them, their parents, and guardians the peace of mind.