Students at this American university in Athens, Greece, aren’t missing classes after the Greek government shut down schools to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
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Moments after the March 11 order to close, administrators and staff at the Hellenic American University mobilized to ensure the continuity of their students’ learning in face of the COVID-19 crisis.
How did they do it? They began conducting classes live on video and continued to support students via remote operations.
University staff made the transition at the institution’s two sites in Athens, Greece and Nashua, New Hampshire.
They created virtual classrooms and offer classes on the same days and hours as they normally would take place.
Students connect to the classroom and interact with their instructor and other students via the Microsoft Teams collaboration and video conferencing application.
Instructors also use additional tools for collaboration and interaction provided through the university’s Blackboard e-learning platform.
University Director of eLearning Dr. Dimitris Tolias, who under the guidance of the university leadership is coordinating the transition along with Dr. Themis Kaniklidou, Director of Academics, and Marieke Martin, Dean of the Nashua campus, points out that Hellenic American University was well-prepared for the shift.
Most full-time faculty had already taught at least a few classes online and all had already been trained in online instruction. And even before the transition, academic support services such as the Writing Center were already assisting students at both campuses online.
Students also already had familiarity with the Blackboard eLearning platform, which they use for collaborative activities, downloading content and submitting assignments.
The Hellenic American University boasts a relatively extensive collection of digital books and subscriptions to online periodical databases. These resources remain available to students at both campuses and have played a key role in the university’s transition to remote learning.