Creating the Smart University
As one of Egypts and the region’s highest profile universities, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), is always looking to innovate, especially around applying for the “Smart University” concept to engage its students. This led to discussions with Kortext to explore how its platform could help engage instructors and students to get the most from their adopted course content, as well as help with student progression.
Objective – Go Digital!
A core objective for the Academy was to “Go Digital”. The Academy’s President, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghafar Ismail Farag, aimed to start the process by going digital with their core textbook provision, tying this in with the country’s 2030 Vision.
Businesses are relying more and more on digital technology so it is essential that students completing their studies are fully ready to enter the modern workplace. Digital literacy is an essential part of our “Go Digital” strategy and also adds resilience to our business continuity strategy should students not be able to attend face to face classes for any reason.
This transition has its challenges. Students and lecturers have been working in a print environment. But just as importantly, infrastructure challenges such as, connectivity, networking, integrating into the Academy’s learning ecosystem (Moodle etc), the availability of a digital copy for adopted titles from old reading lists. This also potentially took lecturers out of their comfort zone, adapting to new methods of teaching through digital content.
Delivering the solution
When we met Kortext, they completely took into account our needs both as an institution and the needs of our students.
commented His Excellency Prof. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghafar Ismail Farag, President of the AASTMT. He continued
The core content used for teaching is crucial to delivering the courses; eBooks not only delivers easy portability, but also easy anytime, anywhere access. The platform allows students to highlight and take notes online and offline, share with others, and interact with faculty. Kortext’s ability to work with publishers and design a user-friendly reader has been a key determinant in the decision-making process.
Two key success factors for the project were:
- Set up and access
Set-up and access
The Academy wanted to set up access as simply as possible. In creating this 1:1 provision by module, the Academy worked with Kortext to link into the Kortext platform and ebooks through their Moodle VLE. This meant that once in the VLE, the student could immediately see the content available to them against their module of study without the need to sign in again (using the Academy’s login details), providing direct access to the book. The students and instructors also had their own login credentials, which meant that they could download the Kortext app for offline reading and synchronise their content and notes. This ensured that all students who had authorised access would view only the content assigned to their module.
This was a new concept for both lecturers and students and as such there is an ongoing requirement for training. At the outset Kortext worked with nominated AASTMT personnel and the library to train the trainers and ensure that the vast majority of students were able to access their eTextbooks from the first day of class.
Kortext is always there 24/7
The Kortext team is very reactive and supportive. They know What, When and How to deal with any of the challenges, offering the most suitable solution. With the continuous improvement of the platform, we are now better able to see the learning behaviour of each student and review how we can help with student progression and success. Overall, this partnership with Kortext is completely aligned with the digitalisation of our learning experience. We are proud to be one of the first Egyptian institutions working directly with Kortext!” A final word from The President of AASTMT, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Ismail Abdel Ghafar Ismail Farag;
“There are clear benefits of partnering with Kortext that align with our ambition to ensure AASTMT remains at the forefront of higher education in the region. This initiative with Kortext will accelerate our ability to scale the very best of digital educational services to our students and academics”.