The missing link
Ankabut is a nationwide research and education network. Its primary objective is opening up information exchange highways between academic institutions in the UAE and the rest of the world.
But, over the years, Fahem Al Nuaimi has clocked a severe disparity between the learning tools used at the different campuses scattered across the UAE.
“You’d see everything from open-source systems that have limited capacity, capability and availability, to very expensive, out-of-date solutions,” explains Al Nuaimi. In time, his frustration grew: the wide mix of tools being used by students and faculty members at different learning centres was proving a serious roadblock to connecting them to each other as well as to a host of invaluable international resources.
Another detrimental effect was that each of the institutions housed its own network and its own server, significantly scaling up the carbon footprint of the UAE’s education sector. “Along with the increased impact on the environment, such systems were also burdening the institutions with unnecessary costs,” notes Al Nuaimi.
The way Al Nuaimi saw it, a uniform contemporary learning management system (LMS) across different learning centres would not just allow educators to better deliver learning through cross-faculty collaboration, two-way feedback channels and comprehensive performance analytics. It would also open the doors to a more connected learning experience for students.
“In today’s digitally enhanced environment, access to lectures and other learning materials should not just be limited to the classroom. Students should have access to multiple resources from multiple points of origin, anywhere and anytime,” comments Al Nuaimi on the growing need for remote connectivity.
Parents left out of the loop
In addition, inept and out-of-date learning systems also side-lined parents. “There were some systems that allowed parents to monitor the academic progress of their children, but these were not user-friendly enough to allow parents to easily log in and see, at a glance, what was going on in their child’s day-to-day academic life,” says Al Nuaimi.
The CEO of Ankabut, therefore, decided that it was time to sweep in change.