The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has organized during 14-15 March 2018 at the UAEU campus in Al Ain a symposium on Blended Teaching and Learning with the participation of elite experts in the field of developing teaching and learning curriculum and environment at universities. Also in attendance were Professor Ghaleb Al Hadrami, UAEU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and education experts from the US, Khalifa University and Higher Colleges of Technology and UAEU faculty.
The two-day symposium consisted of a series of lectures and hand-on workshops on blended teaching and learning, and aimed to explore contemporary international trends in education. It also discussed designing technological-based courses, designing and assessing education projects and creating materials for blended, interactive courses.
Professor Hassan Selim, Director of the UAEU Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), stressed the significance of this event as it highlights the latest methods of blended teaching and learning across the globe.
The symposium sought to find ways to respond to the new education requirements during the industrial revolution era and provide a dynamic educational experience for students through the enhancement of teaching and learning innovative mechanisms. It also aimed to explore the latest techniques used by experts and researchers to transform classrooms into collaborative technology-based teaching environment.
The experts discussed the effect of using technologies such as smartphones, virtual reality and distance education, and the challenges they impose on traditional education where students and teachers would be physically present and have face-to-face interaction.
Professor Charles Graham, Brigham Young University, USA, an expert in blended teaching and learning, delivered a lecture entitled ‘Facilitating Institution and Faculty Adoption of Blended Learning’.
Professor Graham provided consultation to institutional leaders at the CETL and Academic Units who are interested in how to successfully help their institutions and faculty transition to apply blended teaching. He discussed with the attendees the effective strategy, structure, and support for moving an institution from Stage 1 (Awareness and Exploration) to Stage 3 (Mature Implementation and Growth).
Dr. Ibrahim Melhem and Dr. Aqil Kazim, UAEU, gave a presentation on their experience of applying blended teaching and learning in general education courses, Emirates Studies Course as a model. They showed how this new method of using new technologies encourages students and help them become happy learners.
In a workshop titled ‘Blended Learning Design’, Dr. Mark Russell and Ms. Leigh Powell, Khalifa University, showcased the benefits of blended learning and how can faculty design blended learning programs at universities using ‘Cluster Scenario" and ‘Learning Management Systems LMS Tools’.
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