Sary Awad, Learning Facilitator, Jesuit Refugee Service, Amman, Jordan
In September 2018, Sary facilitated the Be A Successful Online Learner (BSOL) course for 23 Amman-based refugees who planned to take two online courses though Al-Quds Bard College. The course consists of four modules that provide a bridge between traditional classroom-based secondary school classes and online university courses. Sary provided the following perspective of his experience:
“I had started studying on the internet very long ago, but I did not start with a transition course like BSOL. I just started taking courses. I did not see myself as a really good online student, maybe because the courses that I was taking were difficult, ma¬ybe because I’m not inclined to learning without human interaction, but probably because I was not prepared.
I took a look at the BSOL course, and it seemed to be something that someone who is starting an online learning journey would really need. So, I began to go through the course, and it was very clear on the steps needed to successfully study online. I saw this was a need for JRS’s beneficiaries because they are mostly refugees, and the only opportunity for many of them to have any kind of education is through the internet. And I know how frustrating it can be to start studying on the internet and not be able to understand how it is done, and how it is different from studying offline.
So, I had my students complete the BSOL course to learn how to be online learners. Some struggled with the level of English used in the course, so it took them longer to complete all the modules than we thought. But all of them took the responsibility to complete the whole course. One of my students has even started another online course on a platform that is local to Jordan. What motivated her to do that is that she now knows how to study online. It was something that touched her personally.
As a student who took the course, I would say I am very satisfied with the course. As a facilitator, I am very hopeful that I will do this again, and I am very much looking forward to doing this again.”