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GAU Distance Learning Guidelines

Distance Learning Guidelines

Distance Learning will be defined by the following criteria:
The instructor and students are separated by distance (this distance could mean different classrooms in
the same school or other locations thousands of miles apart).

The instruction is delivered via print, voice, video, or computer technologies
The communication is interactive in that the student receives support and feedback from the instructor.
The feedback may be immediate or delayed.

Distance Learning can be roughly divided into synchronous or asynchronous delivery types. Synchronous
means that the instructor and the student interact with each other in “real-time.” For example, with
two-way videoconferences, students interact with the “live” video of an instructor. Less complicated
technologies, such as telephone conversations, are also synchronous.

Asynchronous delivery does not take place simultaneously. In this case, the instructor may deliver the
instruction via video, computer, or other means, and the students respond at a later time. For example,
the instruction may be delivered via the Web or videotapes, and the feedback could be sent via email


GAU provides distance learning using both synchronous and asynchronous delivery methods.

Synchronous methods
1. Key concepts must be delivered via live lectures to encourage student interaction with the
2. Student identity must be confirmed during every live online session either via video facial
identification or other means
3. Tutorial sessions must be conducted when asynchronous methods are used
4. GAU Zoom for Education accounts should be used synchronous delivery of course content
5. The online course should require students to complete a mixture of assignments, including
quizzes, tests, homework, written assignments, and/or activities.

Asynchronous methods

  1. Prerecorded lecturers and workbooks should be delivered before every Sunday 11:59 hrs. of the
    new week.
    All prerecorded lectures should be accompanied by a workbook
    • A workbook must outline the content of the lecture topic and formative assessments
  2. A weekly synchronous tutorial session must accompany all asynchronous sessions
  3. Both formative and summative assessments must be used for distance learning
    • Examsoft should be used for the delivery of assessments except for NBME exams
    • The link for any assessments should be emailed to students for download at least 48
      hours prior to the exams
    • Student identity must be identified using Examsoft identification tool
  4. NBME Exams should be monitored via zoom invigilation or via ProctorU
    • Students should receive their form number within 2 hours of the scheduled exam
    • All exams should be scheduled during working hours, from 09:00 – 14:00 hrs.
  5. Quizzes for formative assessment can be conducted via zoom software.
  6.  All assessments must be accompanied by students’ confirmation that the material presented is
    their work being submitted is their own, not taken from elsewhere, and not assisted by anyone


Checklist for New Faculty

Required Training (schedule will be posted on Ujuzi):

  1. Sign-up for Ujuzi Learning Management System Training.
  2. Sign-up for Examsoft Assessment Platform Training
  3. Sign-up for Distance Learning Training

Recommended: Contact academic office to set up an appointment with an ITD staff. At this the appointment you will be advised on:

  1. Verify access to their course in Ujuzi
  2. Discuss course design tips
  3. Provide an orientation to available help resources
  4. Provide access to an example course
  5. Attend faculty development sessions. The schedules will be posted on the notice board on the management system

Checklist for Students

Attend the following Orientations (schedule will be posted on Ujuzi):

  1. Orientation for new students – usually scheduled for the first day of the academic term
     – Review of the student handbook
  2. Verify student access to resources including Ujuzi and learning platforms (classroom,
    online, clinical sites, etc.)
    • Introduction to the University’s policies
    • Recital of Honor Code
  3. Student Government Association Meetings – usually scheduled for the first Friday of the academic term

Netiquette is online network etiquette. It is a set of rules that should be followed when communicating online. As we adopt the use of distance learning, GAU incorporates Netiquette into its guiding regulations for students and faculty to emulate while utilizing the online network for teaching and learning. GAU bases its The Core Rules of Netiquette are excerpted from the book Netiquette by Virginia Shea.

Rule 1: Remember the Human
When communicating electronically, whether through email, instant message, discussion post, text, or some other method, practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Remember, your written words are read by real people, all deserving of respectful communication. Before you press “send” or “submit,” ask yourself, “Would I be okay with this if someone else had written it?”

Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life
While it can be argued that standards of behavior may be different in the virtual world, they certainly should not be lower. You should do your best to act within the laws and ethical manners of society whenever you inhabit “cyberspace.” Would you behave rudely to someone face-to-face? On most occasions, no. Neither should you behave this way in the virtual world.

Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace
“Netiquette varies from domain to domain.” (Shea, 1994) Depending on where you are in the virtual world, the same written communication can be acceptable in one area, where it might be considered inappropriate in another. What you text to a friend may not be appropriate in an email to a classmate or colleague. Can you think of another example?

Rule 4: Respect other people’s time and bandwidth
Electronic communication takes time: time to read and time in which to respond. Most people today lead busy lives, just like you do, and don’t have time to read or respond to frivolous emails or discussion posts. As a virtual world communicator, it is your responsibility to make sure that the time spent reading your words isn’t wasted. Make your written communication meaningful and to the point, without extraneous text or superfluous graphics or attachments that may take forever to download.

Rule 5: Make yourself look good online
One of the best things about the virtual world is the lack of judgment associated with your physical appearance, the sound of your voice, or the clothes you wear (unless you post a video of yourself singing Karaoke in a clown outfit.) You will, however, be judged by the quality of your writing, so keep the following tips in mind:

Rule 6: Share expert knowledge
The Internet offers its users many benefits; one is the ease in which information can be shared or
accessed, and in fact, this “information sharing” capability is one of the reasons the Internet was founded. So in the spirit of the Internet’s “founding fathers,” share what you know! When you post a question and receive intelligent answers, share the results with others. Are you an expert at something? Post resources and references for your subject matter. You recently expanded your knowledge about a subject that might be of interest to others? Share that as well.

Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control
What is meant by “flaming” and “flame wars?” “Flaming is what people do when they express a strongly held opinion without holding back any emotion.” (Shea, 1994). As an example, think of the kinds of passionate comments you might read on a sports blog. While “flaming” is not necessarily forbidden in virtual communication, “flame wars,” when two or three people exchange angry posts between one another, must be controlled, or the camaraderie of the group could be compromised. Please don’t feed the flames; extinguish them by guiding the discussion back to a more productive direction.

Rule 8: Respect other people’s privacy
Depending on what you are reading in the virtual world, be it an online class discussion forum, Facebook page, or an email, you may be exposed to some private or personal information that needs to be handled with care. Perhaps someone is sharing some medical news about a loved one or discussing a situation at work. What do you think would happen if this information “got into the wrong hands?”
Embarrassment? Hurt feelings? Loss of a job? Just as you expect others to respect your privacy, so should you respect the privacy of others. Be sure to err on the side of caution when deciding to discuss or not to discuss virtual communication.

Rule 9: Don’t abuse your power
Just like in face-to-face situations, there are people in cyberspace who have more “power” than others.
They have more expertise in technology, or they have years of experience in a particular skill or subject matter. Maybe it’s you who possesses all of this knowledge and power! Just remember: knowing more than others do or having more power than others may have does not give you the right to take advantage of anyone. Think of Rule 1: Remember the human.

Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people’s mistakes
Not everyone has the same amount of experience working in the virtual world. And not everyone knows
the rules of netiquette. At some point, you will see a stupid question, read an unnecessarily long response, or encounter misspelled words; when this happens, practice kindness and forgiveness as you would hope someone would do if you had committed the same offense. If it’s a minor “offense,” you might want to let it slide. If you feel compelled to respond to a mistake, do so in a private email rather than a public forum.

Adapted from The Core Rules of Netiquette Shea, V. (1994). Core rules of netiquette. Netiquette (Online
ed., pp. 32-45). San Francisco: Albion Books.