Thoughts on Online/Distance Learning in Lebanon Amidst Corona virus Pandemic

April 19, 2020 Ayman 0 Comments

Eight years ago, I had a surgery for my Achilles tendon that put a cast to my foot and made me use crutches to walk. Apparently, I had to give my lectures while seated. I had to figure out a solution to present, annotate, and write without having to stand up. My solution back then was a 3$ iOS application called “Explain Everything” which I installed on my iPad and then I was free again.

Back then, I was the CTO for the Lebanese International University (LIU). I saw a huge potential in adopting this eLearning and online education. Following the incident, I prepared a part of one of my courses for online education. I remember I had to figure everything out myself. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, a suitable microphone, learn about movie rendering, editing, cropping, and lots of other things which today can be done using an iPhone. I was lucky to have some colleagues help me out in certain areas. To cut the story short, hardware and software challenges were solved.

Where will I record my classes? Yes this was also a challenge. I took access permission to the library meeting room, which was sound proof, to record my sessions. I did those during the Christmas holidays.

The toughest part however, was revisiting my course content, learning outcomes, goals and objectives, suitable media content, etc… How do I keep my students engaged with my videos and lock their attention for the whole video duration? Lots and lots of other questions which previously never thought of or gave little attention to. This thinking, brainstorming, and planning process took the longest time. Once all was set, I then easily executed the mutation of my course to an online one. Of course there were some glitches here and there, but I was satisfied with my end result.

The report above, was written after one iteration. The course content was updated once afterwards and if I remember correctly, around 8-12 following sections went through the same process. It was a very nice experience/project. I learned more about my students, learning methods, e-Learning, even laws and regulations related to online delivery of courses in Lebanon.

The forced situation we are put in because of COVID19 has pushed a lot of universities, schools, and instructors to utilize technology for remote/online delivery of courses. The chaos is huge and many are caught in surprise.


Online/Remote courses, eLearning, Online education, is not the same as classroom based education. Technology has a lot to offer. There are tens of platforms, solutions, applications, that assist the instructor in every possible aspect he/she might need. However, challenges still exist. I can summarize the main ones in three points:

  • Instructors’ self-efficacy
  • Course preparedness for online education
  • Training and support from IT departments 

On the other hand, legislation for adoption should be initiated from respective authorities. I believe the private sector has a big responsibility in pushing this to happen.