Emergence of COVID19 and Prompt Response of University of Baltistan (UoBs)-II

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Huda Shah

The HoDs have been given access to view all the courses offered in all programs of his/her department,
so to follow-up and supervise the progress. To enhance the creative skills, HoDs will communicate
shortfalls of lectures (in number, time, content or quality) to the concerned faculty and repeatedly. In
case of any serious shortcomings from faculty, the report will be forwarded to Director Academics for
necessary action as the Director Academics has admin access to view progress of all faculty members. In
addition, the IT team will assist the faculty in uploading and formatting of their lectures and present
weekly report of uploaded lectures and students’ login status. On the account of internet accessibility
problems faced by students, teachers will make sure the availability of lectures and learning resources
on LMS. As well as, for the better understanding and queries of students, WhatsApp groups will be
formed for every class and subject. Students can ask questions, share their ideas and issues if any, get
responses of teachers and other fellow students. Students can also ask question via email or Facebook
messenger or through telephone calls. Hence, all electronic means are being utilized to better serve the
purpose of online education. For the convenience of students , learning options and opportunities are

made as flexible and multiple as possible, ranging from LMS, social media, google classroom and
video/audio lectures uploaded on YouTube, sharing on WhatsApp or FB, Twitter, simple voice
call/message etc. Also, It is instructed that, all the subjects must have its course outline displayed with
clearly stated learning objectives/ expected outcomes, units, textbooks (if any) and references as the
first lecture on top of the course portal. Significantly, assessment modes, tools and mechanisms
including all options of online/offline, project work, live call viva, group assignment and proportion of
marks for sessional assignments and final examination are finalized. The office of Controller examination
will share and notify model and SOPs for assessments along with tentative schedule and marking
scheme of E- Learning as discussed and agreed in the (online) Academic Council meeting. The final copy
of assessment model and SoPs, notified from the office of Controller for the pandemic period will
become part of this emergent online Academic Council and all the policies and procedures in general
will be applicable for the affiliated colleges also.Additionally, separate portal for Affiliated Colleges has
been launched and focal persons/coordinators from colleges have been given orientation, who will train
their faculty on LMS. In view of the remoteness and lack of access to internet connectivity in valleys, the
university has established Valley Based E-Learning Facilitation Centre/desk in each district and valley of
Baltistan, namely, Shigar, Khaplu Ghanche, Kharmang and Rondu, while for the town and neighbouring
areas of Skardu, the City Campus Hassan Colony is declared as facilitation centre. However, a focal
person with computer and internet access will be there to guide at each centre and students from
valleys can visit individually, get resources and lectures of their subjects downloaded from the
facilitation desks. Also, students in remote valleys can visit facilitation centres once a week, to collect
learning materials and submit online assignments at facilitation centres. In particular, the regular
features of LMS are being practiced as a routine academic activity. Firstly, all the faculty and students
are given orientation in the first week of each academic year and are provided with IDs for SIS access. All
regular teachers have their official university email IDs. Timetable and date sheets are auto-generated
by the system. Attendance record is maintained and reports can be generated any time. Secondly,
results are upl aded and final-results are generated by the system. Students have access to their results
after ten days of last paper. When required, rechecking of results and reports is possible. Teacher
Evaluation forms are made available at the end of each semester and these evaluation reports become
record of database and are generated by the system, while students’ evaluation of each subject is
submitted online. Thirdly, teachers can access 80,000 books from E-Library while students can access all
the resources from the portal. Students can check their dues, bus routes, and other matters related to
Students Affairs from SIS and can upload assignments on their dashboard (portal). Finally, teacher can
check and respond to assignments submitted online and give feedback on the same portal, visible only
to the concerned student.Furthermore, University along with HEC have suggested SOP’s to monitor and
conduct the exams during COVID19, but this policy is extraordinary and will not be applicable under
normal circumstances. The SOP’s prepared by the Examination Section, subsequently endorsed by
Academic Council for spring semester 2020 includes: Evaluation Category “A” (in case of non- practical
courses) Sessional (Assignments, Quizzes, Project, Case study, Presentation, viva etc) 50 %. Final term
exam 50%. Evaluation Category “B” (in case of practical of one credit hour) Sessional
(Assignments,Quizzes, Project, Case study, Presentation, viva etc) 40 % Final term exam 40% Lab
/Practical exam 20%.However,the concerned teacher shall adopt any one of the stated above options
(Category A orB),based on technical issues and nature of course, in consultation with the relevant

HoD/Chairman during the online education at UoBS. Subsequently, the concerned teacher shall choose
at least three (03) sessional criteria's (Assignments,Quizzes, Project, Case study, Presentation, viva) in
consultation with HoD. All faculty members should upload course outline on LMS as affiliated colleges
also following the same course outline.Moreover, it is mandatory for all the registered students to
follow online instructions and the instructor shall keep a record of the attendance in a folder and submit
it to HoD’s office. Physical performance of Labs shall be arranged on the opening of University. In
addition, a student shall be ineligible to take the Final Examination of a Course/Lab in which he/she has
missed more than 50% sessional criteria and such a Course/Lab shall be treated as withdrawn. It is the
responsibility of the concerned instructor to keep the students informed regarding their
Assignments/Quizzes status through university portal and HoDs should monitor the progress. To collect
the data regarding syllabus covered, materials provided to the students and assessment conducted, a
continuous monitoring of online delivery shall be carried out by the concerned HoDs, Director
Academics and QEC. At last, after assessment, all documentary proof shall be submitted to exam section
with countersigned by relevant, HOD, Director Academics and QEC till 10th June 2020.This special policy
shall be applicable for spring 2020 registration and its extension to following semesters shall be
subjected to the approval of relevant body of the university. Special consideration will be given to case
which is not covered in this policy or any unforeseeable circumstances faced by a students. In brief,
University of Baltistan, Skardu, has timely suggested futuristic measurement to counter this crucial
juncture. The University is vigilantly monitoring and responding to new information about the corona
virus (COVID-19) outbreak. By establishing an operative online education system, University is
prioritizing the safety of our community while supporting our students to complete their semester