United NationsDepartamento de Asuntos Económicos y Sociales Desarrollo Sostenible

Establishing the E-Learning Platforms in Palestine for higher education

Palestine Polytechnic University (
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    Description
    Intro

    "Equip Palestine with E-Learning: Building Policies, Capacity and Research in Blended and Online Learning (E-Pal)" aims at creating a comprehensive, inclusive and viable E-Learning system for Palestinian universities. E-Pal includes a series of interventions taking place over six years that address e-learning from a holistic perspective, integrating political, organizational, technological and pedagogical dimensions. E-Pal includes a comprehensive needs assessment of e-learning in the Palestinian higher education sector; development of research-based set of policies for e-learning; development for academic staff in the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning; re-design of programs in principles for technology enhanced learning; and increased research capacity in the field of e-learning.

    Description

    The overall objective of the E-pal project is to develop viable, comprehensive and sustainable approaches to e-learning (blended and online learning) in the Palestinian higher education sector, by - Strengthening the institutional (PPU, UCAS) and national environments for e-learning in higher education with regard to national policies, organizational infrastructures and pedagogical practices, thereby enhancing student learning. - Strengthening graduates’ competitiveness in the labor market by developing their digital skills and competencies. - Strengthening Palestinian academics’ capacities for the design, implementation and evaluation for e-learning in the higher education sector. - Strengthen Palestinian academics’ capacities for undertaking research in the field of e-learning. - Increased awareness and institutional collaboration on the topic of e-learning among Palestinian higher education institutions, and between HEIs and the broader community.

    Contribution to SDG Implementation

    The E-Pal project answers directly to the 4th goal of SDG's: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. It also partially contributes to the 5th SDG: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The E-Pal project provides solutions to the long-discussed problem of underachieving e-learning in Palestine. Past initiatives aimed at establishing an inclusive and equitable system of education and more specifically e-learning system, has typically addressed challenges in a piece-meal manner. E-Pal adopts a “root to top”-approach to create solutions, hence providing a comprehensive and sustainable E-Learning system for higher education to adopt and practice successfully.

    Implementation methodologies

    1. Unifying the model of E-learning by adopting the comprehensive model for PPU and UCAS. The E-Pal experience will be communicated to peer universities through dissemination and cooperation with universities and the Ministry of Higher Education to assure the scalability and comprehensiveness of the solution. 2. Developing capacities at PPU and UCAS to hold online learning programs for a diverse audience of students. The e-learning solutions will also cover a wider spectrum of beneficiaries by endorsing Leave No One Behind approach and Gender Mainstreaming to provide lifelong learning to all with special focus on the 21st century skills. 3. Providing thorough and focused records and studies of Palestinian national needs of e-learning through guided and structured scientific research in the field. Assessment and solutions will be published for more scholars and higher educational institutions to build on and create their contributions to the educational system in higher education and e-learning. 4. Providing an innovative and highly needed Master of Arts in Instructional Technology. The program will be supporting Palestinian universities and educational institutions of all levels with professionals in the field of e-learning. This will enhance the quality of e-learning programs at all levels and ultimately the education in Palestine at large. 5. Providing PPU, UCAS and another Palestinian university with scholarships through the qualification of 3 PhD scholars in the field of e-learning. The scholars will be creating a and supporting a nuclear team of experts that will keep introducing knowledge and best practices to the e-learning system of Palestinian universities through academic and research work as well. 6. Integrating and advocating the created solutions through interactive dissemination of lessons learned and success stories of the project. All documentation including policies and handbooks will be shared with peer institutions and the Ministry of Higher Education to advocate scalability of the E-learning model and best practices created in E-Pal.

    Results

    project outcomes: - Improved national and institutional policies and guidelines on e-learning in Palestine - Development and implementation of new organizational, technological and pedagogical approaches to e-learning for the Palestinian higher education. - Increased knowledge and competencies in the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning among academics. - Increased research capacity at PPU and UCAS in the field of e-learning. Project outputs: A needs assessment for e-learning in the higher education A set of policies, standards and guidelines for e-learning for the higher education 3A professional development program for academic staff at PPU and UCAS in the design, delivery and evaluation of e-learning. Re-design of 60 courses from face-to-face to digital and blended modes of learning at PPU and UCAS. An online/blended Master’s of Arts in Instructional Technology (MAIT) Two E-learning and Research Centers Research support for implementation/evaluation and the production of scientific, peer-reviewed articles. PhD dissertations by Palestinian scholars

    Factors and Constraints

    Palestine Polytechnic University and the University College of Applied Sciences are two higher educational institutions that reside in the two main provinces of the Palestinian Territories (PPU in the West Bank, UCAS in the Gaza Strip). Given the current restrictions on mobility between the West Bank and Gaza caused by the occupation, combined with the political schism between the areas in terms of national governance, we find it important to have both areas represented in this project for the outcomes to benefit the entire Palestinian higher education sector. At a time when other political forces have a divisive impact, the E-pal project will unite the Palestinian higher education sector towards a shared objective and opportunities for mutual cooperation.

    Sustainability and replicability

    E-Pal project will be a continuation of PPU and UCAS efforts to create a viable and sustainable system of e-learning by providing staff members and resources to ensure the success and continuation of E-Pal impact. With the emergence of real need in organizing the e-learning services; E-Pal outcomes will be capitalized by UiO, PPU, UCAS, and all stakeholders to create a sustainable and viable E-Learning system for all Palestinian Universities. Results of the project will be capitalized to represent areas of investment are the E-Learning and Research Centers, establishing a pool of experts that will lead the transformation to e-learning. PPU and UCAS will invest in ELRC’s infrastructure to serve a wider audience by facilitating technologies and modern modalities needed for effective e-learning experiences. This will be covered by providing annual budgets for ELRCs as permanent divisions of PPU and UCAS organizational hierarchies with designated staff members and networks of experts. Furthermore, MAIT will be pipelined through PPU programs as it will be sustained through students ‘tuition and other budgetary allocations provided by PPU.

    COVID-19 Impact

    One of the main pillars of E-Pal success is the infrastructure that provides the proper tools for e-learning. While most institutions and students have their internet access and semi-ready tools to participate in the online learning experience, the existing system is characterized by fragmentation and, to some extent, ad hoc solutions. E-Pal will establish a unified, appropriate and sustainable infrastructure, which provide the basis for a satisfying online learning experience. PPU and UCAS are driven by the Emergency Remote Learning intervention through the Covid 19 lockdown, a study showed that both universities are in need for classes recording studios and tools, mobile / portable learning labs, reliable and manageable Learning Management Systems and reliable online learning tools such as educational tools and programs including virtual reality and artificial intelligence modalities.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
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    Timeline
    01 January 2021 (start date)
    31 December 2025 (date of completion)
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