Saudis take on self-isolation through the internet – Arabnews

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 4:44 am


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JEDDAH: As Saudis go head-to-head with the coronavirus, taking precautionary measures through self-isolation, the internet has become an essential tool for them, whether for business purposes, school or leisure.

The Saudi government has urged the public to stay in their homes to reduce the possibility of further virus outbreak.

Schools and universities have shifted to online classes to protect staff and students, while many companies have began allowing their staff to work remotely.

English instructor at a university in Jeddah, Amani Al-Ghoraibi, told Arab News that the staff faced some trouble initially.

Weak internet connection, loss of sound, inability to log in, the system crashing, initial difficulty using the program for both students and instructors (were among the issues), but the university really did a great job solving these issues, she said. The Blackboard page became easily accessible by hyperlinking it to the universitys main page, said Al-Ghoraibi, adding that customer services became available for immediate assistance, and the university then updated the Blackboard system entirely.

Theyre currently conducting meetings and workshops online and joined by over 250 university instructors, heads of departments, admins, and so on, to help with the issue of assessing the students fairly through online exams, assignments, quizzes and other modes of assessments, she said.

Students have been surprisingly responsive and active in class, she added, due to the programs and applications availability on smartphones, iPads, laptops and desktop computers.

The online classes are also saved and recorded on Blackboard itself, so students always have the option to go back and review the class whenever they want to, Al-Ghoraibi said.

Nora Al-Rifai, a head of training programs at a company from Jeddah, had planned to use the self-isolation period to use less technology and read more, but the internet has proved inescapable. Ive been playing video games and browsing Netflix, doing a bit of online shopping to catch up on things I never bothered to purchase, she told Arab News.

Although there is seemingly more demand on internet services, Al-Rifai has not experienced any lag in the connection.

Working from home isnt as stressful either, as most training programs weve had scheduled have been postponed until further notice. I think its quite beneficial to do so with the current crisis, but we can also learn more about how to work under unprecedented circumstances and emergencies, she said.

Nineteen-year-old Dina Ajjaj from Jeddah has been attending virtual classes for almost two weeks as a university freshman. She found the concept of distance learning difficult. Im kind of suffering to keep up with my classes as the servers cant handle the massive number of users, she told Arab News.

Ajjaj did not find it easy to concentrate on the lessons, with her focus straying due to worries of losing internet connection. On a more positive note, she said she was using the time to increase her self-awareness. Im trying out some hobbies, from reading books to meditation.

Self-quarantine really puts a strain on ones mental and psychological state, Ajjaj said. She thinks it is the right decision healthwise to prevent the spread of the virus, but she cannot wait to go back to class, meet new people and spend time in the sun.

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Saudis take on self-isolation through the internet - Arabnews

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March 22nd, 2020 at 4:44 am

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