Tamer ATABARUT, Bogaziçi University, TR

Due to the unprecedented nature of current state of all over the world, education was obliged to re-invent itself and adopt itself into those challenging circumstance. In a limited time, many things were re-evaluated and re-constructed regarding distance learning, online classes, assessment and evaluation, and equality in opportunity. The Universities have designed their courses online and provided online materials to enable the students, professors and instructors to proceed with minimum adverse effect from this critical situation. Similar to the most countries around the world, all the educational institutions in Turkey have been temporarily closed in March 2020, in order to contain the outbreak of the COVID 19. Bogazici University attempted to mitigate the immediate impact of the closure on the students and the academic and the administrative staff; and then to facilitate the continuity of education for all through remote learning. The major challenges were not being able to get benefit of class interaction, which is one of the crucial features in learning, decision on how to assess the learning in distance education and other relevant problems that the students experienced such as computer availability or internet connection at their home. By taking into consideration those potential problems due to the distance learning, Bogazici University applied a survey to the students to collect their feedbacks in front. Upon the results of the survey, a new scholarship program was initiated for students who need support in terms of technological devices and have internet connection problem, in order to ensure the equality in opportunity. Besides the learning constraints, another important issue was to keep the psychological health of the students proper. According to the results of the surveys, the students were supported to overcome the sanctions of the current situation and to minimise its impact on the students’ psychology. In terms of ULLL, with the same approach and principles but changing the delivery and the settings, trainings and projects are carried out to prevent negative effects of the conditions. The already available class trainings are evolved accordingly and transformed to interactive online classes. New programs are designed to fit into the current needs and to maintain active participation to lifelong learning. Another challenge was the preparation for new calls and continuity of ongoing projects. After an adoption period, all the works for the applications of new projects were continued and the partners came together through online platforms for discussions. For the ongoing projects, after a consensus to keep ongoing the project, the project plan was re-designed, and the face-to-face activities (Transnational Meetings and Learning Mobility) were transformed to online platforms. The adaptation to digitalisation has been a long discussion in the university and in the ULLL. But all of a sudden, due to the global lockdown of education institutions we find ourselves in a digital world. What we learnt in this process, positive and negative outcomes will be discussed in this presentation.

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