Yasar University's Digital Transformation Success Story

Yasar University's Digital Transformation Success Story
A Journey of Learning Experience: Removing barriers using free and open-source approaches for Digital Transformation

Education's evolution requires a shift in administrative and educational technologies to support new and evolving ways of teaching. We identify strategic technologies and learning trends to meet the needs of today’s learners, faculty, and staff. We chose to use open-source systems due to their low cost and collaborative efforts when developing our learning environments. Our platforms are structured as ecosystems to allow all types of content and functions to work together and multiple parties to connect and interact. We are one of the few universities in Turkey that accommodates a “Digital Learning Ecosystem”, which is a vital pillar of digital transformation in education. 

Yasar University was established in 2001, and is one of the leading HEIs in Turkey. The university includes 9 schools (Law, Economics and Administrative Sciences, Engineering, Communication, Art and Design, Science and Letters, Architecture, Business and Humanities), several graduate  programs, a vocational school, and research centers such as the Open and Distance Learning Centre, Knowledge & Technology Transfer Office, EU Research Centre, and Continuing Education Centre. Yasar University serves more than 10.000 students with around 500 academic staff. Yasar offers more  than 60 different degree programs with English as the primary language of instruction. Students are provided various opportunities to excel throughout their university experience, through a professional education in a supportive learning environment. The University’s links with the business sector and international  institutions ensure the campus is a vibrant and inclusive member of the global community.

Yaşar University Research and Application Center for Open and Distance Learning, established in 2014, improves open and distance learning programs, enriches learning opportunities through educational technologies, and supports instructional and course design, program management, and assessment. Our approach, “A Journey of Learning Experience,” leverages the use of emerging technologies aimed at improving operational and management efficiency for sustainable digital transformation. 

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Figure 1: Sakai CLE (https://sakai.yasar.edu.tr/), Yasar University

Yasar University adopted the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment offering an open community source framework. Apereo provides valuable open-source solutions and community support, providing our campus with a successful digital transformation.

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Figure 2: Yasar University’s Open and Distance Learning Architecture

Yaşar University’s development of distance education programs began soon after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, offering continuous education for its learners. According to research conducted by Turkey's University Assessments and Research Laboratory, which surveyed 42,000 students from 198 universities including 125 state and 73 foundation universities across Turkey, Yaşar University ranked as the third-best university in managing distance education processes.

Yasar University also has experience and capacity in creating and delivering “Türkçe Öğreniyorum (Learn Turkish)” . The course is one of the first Turkey-originated comprehensive MOOLCs for teaching Turkish as a foreign language. It provides differentiated content sensitive to learner needs. “Türkçe Öğreniyorum” was designed as an Adaptive Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), and is delivered through the Sakai LMS. The program provides differentiated content sensitive to learner needs and is available through Yasar University at  https://turkish.yasar.edu.tr/. To date more than 17.500 users from 135 different countries have registered for the course through Sakai with 5.328 certificates awarded after completing the A1 Level Exam.


Contributed by:

Professor Yasin Ozarslan
Yasar University
Director of Centre for Open and Distance Learning 
Head of Science Culture Department 
Associate Professor, New Media and Communication Department