Many of our students don’t have access to a personal laptop, but they almost all have smartphones. D2L’s web platform is fully mobile-responsive, and together with Pulse mobile app, they had by far the strongest mobile solution on the market.Shatha Naser, Chief Information Officer, Luminus Education
Designing A New Vision Of Education
Since it was established in 2007, Luminus Education has followed the vision of its founder and CEO, Jordanian entrepreneur Ibrahim Safadi.
Based on his own experience of higher education in the Middle East, Mr. Safadi identified a worrying pattern. Students often graduate from university without having learned the skills that they need in the workplace, which damages their career prospects. To solve this problem, Luminus Education was founded to focus on a more vocational model of education, with employability as a central goal.
“What is it that the market needs?” asks Mr. Safadi.
“That’s the question we are constantly asking ourselves, because our vision is to always provide the skills that our students need to gain work and uplift their livelihoods.”
As a result of the civil war in neighboring Syria, Jordan is now home to many Syrian refugees. Luminus wanted to focus particularly on supporting this refugee population and other low-income students in Jordan and across the region, as well as empowering groups who traditionally lack easy access to education, such as disabled people and women with young children. The organization’s dedication to tackling these issues has earned the support of many international partners, including UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID, and the European Union.
From 2017 onward, Luminus began planning a fully virtual college that would give all these groups easy access to vocational education online. In the organization’s business plan, the virtual college was planned to go live in 2021 and gradually expand to a population of several thousand students by 2023-2025.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region in early 2020, those plans had to change—fast.
Accelerating Access To Online Learning
Luminus Education had already built the technology platform to support its virtual college. The end-toend education system not only manages student information and provides a comprehensive virtual learning environment, but it also connects students with employers throughout the region.
“D2L was the top choice for the learning management component of our platform,” comments Shatha Naser, CIO of Luminus Education. “Many of our students don’t have access to a personal laptop, but they almost all have smartphones. D2L’s web platform is fully mobile-responsive, and together with Pulse mobile app, they had by far the strongest mobile solution on the market. Moreover, D2L’s mission to transform learning and their focus on competency-based education align well with our mission of helping students develop career-relevant skills.”
After working with D2L, local partner Naseej, and several other technology vendors to get the platform up and running, Luminus was able to pivot away from its original plan for a gradual rollout of its online services. Instead, it launched its virtual college almost overnight, using the scalability of the D2L platform to onboard large numbers of students in a matter of days.
“We had literally no downtime. As soon as the government announced that everyone had to work from home, we started a live pilot with 2,000 students within a week, and then moved all our degrees and short courses over to the platform the following week.” Shatha Naser, Chief Information Officer, Luminus Education.
Mr. Safadi adds: “Our main concern was not whether the platform would work, but whether our students would have enough data allowance on their cellphones to use it! Within a few days, we purchased 100GB of data credit for each student and gave it to them to ensure that they could study effectively and that their families could also stay connected.”
At the same time, the Luminus team shipped laptops to its teachers and began an accelerated training program. While work is still ongoing to adapt the curriculum for online teaching, the D2L platform has helped by providing live dashboards for student and teacher feedback, which enables the team to resolve technical issues quickly.
Ms. Naser comments: “We have been consistently impressed with D2L, in terms of the technology, the quick response from the delivery team, and the ongoing international collaboration and creativity to keep us up to speed with new features. We are always happy with D2L.”
We have been able to respond to the crisis more quickly and more comprehensively than many of the traditional universities in the region.Ibrahim Safadi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Luminus Education
Opening Up Opportunities
Within just a few weeks of COVID-19 hitting Jordan, Luminus Education was able to offer a fully operational online learning platform for over 6,000 students—more than half of whom are refugees or members of other disadvantaged groups.
“We have been able to respond to the crisis more quickly and more comprehensively than many of the
traditional universities in the region,” says Mr. Safadi.
“That’s not surprising, because we see the future of education very differently from other institutions.”
For Luminus, education mobility is the key goal: building the potential of young people, regardless of
their socioeconomic background, and uplifting their skills to help them find a productive career and play a positive role in society.
“Technology gives us the opportunity to reach new groups of students and help them learn in
new ways—solving many of the problems with access to education that we see today. D2L and our other partners give us the agility we need to find solutions as fast as the needs of our society
continue to evolve.” Ibrahim Safadi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Luminus Education.