Distance Learning Platform Offered to 15 Universities

August 28, 2020

The "Protocol on the Provision of Distance Education Platform" was signed among Sakarya University and 15 universities within the scope of the "Digital Transformation Project in Higher Education", which was created and carried out by CoHE. The protocol will be carried out under the coordination of CoHE and in cooperation with TUBITAK-ULAKBIM.

The meeting was chaired by CoHE President Prof. M. A. Yekta Saraç in a video conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CoHE Deputy President Prof. Rahmi Er signed the protocol. Prof. Fatih Savaşan, Rector of Sakarya University, and the rectors of 15 universities attended the meeting.

- Saraç: "The protocol took us to the third phase of our Digital Transformation Project in Higher Education."

CoHE President Yekta Saraç: “With the vision of the new CoHE, we launched a very significant project on distance education in 2018, about two years before the global pandemic became a topic in our agenda. In the first phase of this project, which we call "Digital Transformation in Higher Education", we organized a program to improve the digital competence of the Turkish academic staff and students in 16 newly-established universities, located mainly in the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Regions. In this context, 10.725 academic staff were taught the "Learning and Teaching in the Digital Age" course online and 61.346 students were taught the "Digital Literacy" course, which is worth of credits for one term, in cooperation with Anadolu University. As a result, these universities were actually more prepared for the global pandemic. In the second phase of the project, in addition to these 16 universities, the academic staff of the newly-established five technical universities and three universities in Anatolia have been offered courses on Cyber Security and Network Management in cooperation with CoHE, CISCO and METU since March 16, 2020. Besides, it is planned that universities offer the “Cyber Security” course, which is worth of credits for one term, to the students of the universities in the project. The protocol to be signed today will allow us to pass to the third stage of our Digital Transformation Project in Higher Education. At this stage, the completely national Distance Education Platform developed by Sakarya University will be put into service of 15 universities under the coordination of CoHE and with the cooperation of TUBITAK-ULAKBIM. In the fall term of the 2020-2021 academic year, these 15 universities will teach their distance education courses through this platform. I would like to thank TUBITAK, Sakarya University and 15 universities for supporting the project.”

Saraç stated that the Digital Transformation Project is a reflection of CoHE's view of higher education through the window of "social justice and equal opportunity" and underlined that 15 universities were also chosen with this perspective in mind. He stated that this would enable universities to be more competent in adding value to their regions and concluded his speech by saying, “Apart from that, Turkish universities have switched to a co-ed hybrid system according to legislation as a result of the decisions we made for the 2020-2021 academic year. In other words, Turkish universities will provide education in accordance with the decisions to be taken locally. We continue to present merit and competence-based works and management approach at all Turkish universities."

The rectors took the floor after CoHE President Saraç. They expressed satisfaction with the support to be provided in distance education for universities within the scope of the protocol and expressed their gratitude to CoHE and the related institutions.

- Great support to the distance education of 15 universities under the project

The protocol signed among the Council of Higher Education, Sakarya University and the Rector’s Offices of universities contains the use of the “Distance Education Platform”, which was developed under the TUBITAK-1001 project that has been carried out by Sakarya University, in distance education activities of the 15 universities under the Digital Transformation Project in Higher Education during the 2020-2021 academic year.

- Distance Education Platform will consist of five main modules

Sakarya University will provide 15 universities with the Distance Education Platform which will be established on the servers provided by ULAKBİM. The platform will consist of five main modules. These modules are as follows:

  • "Learning Management System (LMS) Module" that enables the creation of weekly virtual course schedules, and the organization and execution of distance education activities,
  • "Virtual Classroom Module" that is created through the open source software for video distribution of virtual classrooms,
  • "Announcement Module" where announcements can be made to all students enrolled in virtual courses,
  • "Online Exam Module" where online exams can be organized through the system,
  • “Reporting Module” where reports such as student attendance and number of academics/executed virtual courses can be obtained through the system.

- There are 15 universities under the Digital Transformation Project in Higher Education

Ağrı İbrahim Çeçen University, Artvin Çoruh University, Batman University, Bayburt University, Bingöl University, Bitlis Eren University, Gümüşhane University, Hakkari University, Iğdır University, Kilis 7 Aralık University, Munzur University, Muş Alparslan University, Osmaniye Korkut Ata University, Siirt University and Şırnak University continue to work intensively in the project.