Qibla courses have these components:
1. Pre-recorded audio and/or video lessons enhanced with text, diagrams, images, and whiteboard usage;
2. Live classes (either question & answer sessions, tutorials, or live content delivery);
3. A variety of continuous assessment depending on the subject being taught;
4. Discussion forums; and
5. Module or term assignments.
Lessons for a course are usually both live and pre-recorded. Most courses are offered in a pre-recorded format, enhanced with slide text, diagrams, images, and whiteboard usage. The course pages list the dates by which you should listen to a particular recording. To complement the recorded lessons, there are also weekly live sessions. In these live sessions, the instructor clarifies key concepts and tests understanding of the material, and students also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Some courses contain live sessions only. Students can attend the lessons live at a pre-defined time, and follow along with the slide text, diagrams, mind maps, images, and the whiteboard.
Attending live lessons is critical because they provide live interaction with instructors. Each week students receive email reminders about the live session. At the live tutorial, students interact with the instructor either with a microphone or through typing their questions into the text chat box. The instructor will respond to queries via voice.
All live sessions are recorded and recordings made accessible for later review or in case students miss the live class.
Self-assessment allows students to quickly gauge their understanding of the lesson as well as focus on the key aspects that they need to learn from the lesson.
The type of assessment depends on the topic of the lesson as well as the science being taught. Examples include:
1. Self-Study Drills (SSD): The drills are typically composed of 7-10 short answer or multiple-choice questions per lesson. Once the student reaches the end of the SSD page, they can hit the button “Save my answers.” Upon doing this, the correct answer for each of the questions will be shown. The student thus has a way of checking their understanding by comparing the model answers with their responses. If an answer is unclear, the student can clarify the answer with their Teaching Assistant (TA).
2. E-Portfolio: At the end of the each lesson recording, the instructor will ask the student to perform some specific practice exercises. The student uses the E-Portfolio for this lesson to complete the exercise.
3. Reflective Questions: Each lesson may have certain reflective questions or guidelines that the student should keep in mind during the lesson, after the lesson, and throughout the rest of the course. The student can use the online journal provided or their own notebook to gather their notes around these questions and monitor progress.
4. Quandary or Case Study Assessment: Some lessons are followed by a case study or examples that are presented to the student with a series of multiple-choice questions that slowly lead the student towards solving the problem. If the student follows the path with no mistakes, they obtain the maximum score.
Discussion forums are the means through which students maintain a steady “conversation” with everyone else (i.e. their fellow classmates, TAs, and instructors) throughout the course.
TAs, instructors, and students can all post to the forum. Posts may include interesting articles from the TAs, requests to the students, and questions from the students. Students are strongly encouraged to share thoughts and ask questions via the forum. The “Meet Your Classmates” forum is the place to post self-introductions at the beginning of the semester.
Students are periodically expected to complete assignments (e.g. a mid-term assignment or a final assignment). These assignments test the student’s knowledge across a group of lessons covered in the course. Some courses have more rigorous assignment requirements, including a pre-lesson and post-lesson assignment.
The assignment varies depending mainly on the course goals and science being taught. They can be a mixture of the following:
1. Short reflective essay;
2. Comprehension questions with discussion;
3. Individual project that can be submitted in different formats (PowerPoint presentation, essay, etc.);
4. Group project, also in potentially different formats;
5. Timed test with a specific number of multiple-choice questions; or
6. Closed-book test with no time limit.