The coronavirus pandemic – with the lockdown and movement restrictions it brought about – has provided an impetus to an Omani from the wilayat of Ibri to create an online platform to conduct meetings. Rashad bin Mahmoud al Raisi, who launched the platform called ‘4meeting’, said it facilitates live meetings with features like video, audio and screen sharing, and live chat.
A graduate in business administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the US, Raisi also has diplomas in IT and marketing.
“COVID-19 was the prime reason for me to establish a platform for lectures. The pandemic caused the closure of educational institutions and the teachers and students faced a big challenge. Some platforms were available for online lecturing and classes but they were complex and some institutions struggled with them,” he said.
Raisi said he worked on his platform for about six months.
The 4meeting has certain features which distinguishes it from other platforms, he said.
“There is no specific time limit for the length of a lecture. And the beautiful thing about our platform is that the teacher sees the students, while students see only the teacher. Without distraction they can focus on the lecture.”
Talking about different features his platform offers, Raisi said, “Written conversation or chat allows the possibility of interaction between persons during the lecture, or with the group as a whole, to discuss and perform educational activities. The platform provides a screen sharing tool for the trainer or student or for all attendees to display videos, pictures, PowerPoint files and worksheets. The platform also provides a whiteboard tool through which it is possible to draw and write on the screen and share it with others. It also allows scheduling and pre-registering for a lecture.”
Raisi said he faced challenges especially in programming and encoding pages.
“I sought professional help to create an error-free platform.”
He added, “The platform – offered free – is available 24×7 and cane be used without hassle. I’m sure it can boost the country’s economy as people have to pay for some other similar platforms they are using right now. The pandemic has dramatically changed the way we impart and gather knowledge with the distinctive rise of e-learning.”
Raisi said with some support from the government, he is confident that 4meeting can be developed further as a better and safer educational platform.