Student Team ‘Megadalon’ celebrated during special Shell Eco-marathon 2017 Ceremony

MUSCAT Shell Oman organized a special ceremony today at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center to recognize the two student teams from Oman that represented the country during the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2017 held in Singapore in March this year. GUtech teams have been participating in the competition since 2014. Since that year a total of 65 students from Oman participated in the annual competition. This year the teams from GUtech and Sultan Qaboos University competed with their eco-friendly and fuel-efficient cars among 120 teams from Asia, Middle East and Australia.

The GUtech team ‘Magadolon’ is a very diverse, multi-national team having the first female driver, Alshifaa al Hadi. “Regardless various challenges we faced such as a damaged brake cable and a faulty fuel pump, we learnt a lot during the competition. We had to work hard within our team and manage the entire project,” said GUtech Mechanical Engineering student Navaneeth Sadasivan during a passionate presentation to the audience. Chris Breeze, Shell’s Country Chairman said: “Shell Eco-marathon is an opportunity which involves young people tackling a series of world challenges, in a fun and constructive way. I am delighted by the progress in the performance and diversity of the Omani teams represented at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia this year, with two Omani women participants from GUtech contributing to the success of the team.”

Oman Air sponsored the transportation of the vehicles and the flight tickets of the teams.

The GUtech Team ‘Megadalon’:

Mohammed Salman (team leader)

Alshifaa al Hadi (driver)

Arjwan Al Hajri

Tejas Janardhan

Adhir Kalingapuran

Navaneeth Sadasivan

Yousef Dab Al Bab

Ayman Al Yatim

Supervisors:  Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis, Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna (Engineering Department of GUtech) and Ali Al Humairi (Computer Sciences of GUtech).

Text & photo: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet

Professional Development Days start at GUtech

Blended Learning enhances the Quality of Teaching and Learning

BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has launched its one week Professional Development Days for all academic and administrative employees. The week will include a variety of lectures on different aspects regarding teaching and administrative matters. The Professional Days were launched by an introduction to ‘Blended Learning’ which has been applied at GUtech in recent years through the Moodle system. Blended Learning includes any kind of mixture of teacher-centred knowledge transfer and self-paced media supported learning. It combines the virtual learning and a non-virtual learning environment. “The aim is to motivate students and to improve student-centred learning, while offering group learning opportunities for some and opportunities to learn individually for others. Therefore, the quality of teaching and the learning experience for the student will be enhanced,” said Prof. Dr. Heribert Nacken, Rectorate’s Delegate for Blended Learning and Exploratory Teaching Space at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s partner-university in Germany. The ultimate goal should be to educate creators and innovators instead of conformists.

Therefore, the new teaching technologies including social media, which are familiar communication tools for the new generation should be applied on a regular basis in the classroom. For example mobile phones and tablets are integrated in lectures. “Blended learning needs to suit the teaching habit of the lecturer,” said Prof. Nacken while stressing that it should be highly encouraged but not enforced.

At RWTH Aachen University the Center of Excellence in Academic Teaching supports the different faculties in realizing blended learning techniques in the classroom. RWTH Aachen faculties have introduced video teaching as an effective teaching tool, which is very popular among students. According to Prof. Nacken 60-70 % of the students watch the videos prior to the lecture. RWTH Aachen University is part of the Massive Open Online Courses which are held in cooperation with leading universities in Europe such as ETH Zurich (Switzerland). In addition, the RWTH Aachen app is applied to test the student knowledge anonymously in the classroom. The Phyphox App is used in Physics for experiments outside the classroom by using a mobile phone. At GUtech Blended Learning has been applied through the Moodle software. To improve the quality of teaching of all departments, it is planned to implement further methods.

Text & photo: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet

Computer Science students awarded to create their own businesses soon

MUSCAT A student project of the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech was selected for incubation and will become an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) start-up soon. The student’s Bee App was selected out of 69 participating teams; it aims at transforming the retail sector. The project was among the best three graduation projects of the ‘Upgrade’ programme. The Bee App was presented by Sultan Al Subhi, Alya Said Al Shanfari and Hana Al Raisi from GUtech’s Department of Computer Science. The project will get seed funds and incubation at SAS for Entrepreneurship of the Information Technology Authority for three years. While the project designers will have ownership of the companies, they will have to work towards preserving the intellectual property rights.

Another GUtech team was among the best nine teams: Alshifa al Hadi (Computer Science) and Ayman Elyatmi (Mechanical Engineering) were awarded for their innovative Darb.com. “It is an online C2C and B2C marketplace, creating a new interactive environment between customers and vendors. It is also an alternative to manual cash-payment as it provides a full e-commerce marketplace experience,” said Alshifa. Mohammed Yahya al Salmi, senior manager of Corporate Communications at Omantel said: “We are looking forward to seeing these projects in reality as start-ups that enrich the ICT sector in Oman and supporting the Sultanate’s efforts towards the digital transformation, broadband Internet and communications networks and hence, creating a positive change in the community.”

 

International Architecture Summer School in Berlin

A group of GUtech students and their professors participated in an international Urban Planning and Architecture Summer School in Berlin (Germany). The course was organized and held in collaboration between Prof. Alexander Kader of GUtech’s Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Iowa State University (USA) and the City College in New York (USA). During the four week Summer School the students were working in the Design Studio Alte Kantine in the Berlin district of Wedding. “It was a beautiful location and a great work space where we worked in groups, sharing our knowledge and our cultures,” said Petrit Pasha, GUtech lecturer. During the workshops, the students were introduced to different computer programmes such as Grasshopper, Diva and Sepheira which help to analyse the energy performance of sustainable building designs.

The students also conducted on-site excursions to different parts of Berlin and they visited the so-called City Models of Berlin, a public permanent exhibition showcasing the urban development of Berlin. Furthermore, the students traveled to other cities in Germany such as Hamburg where they visited the harbor district and they visited the famous School of Architecture the Bauhaus in the city of Dessau with the Master houses of famous modern architects like Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe. “The course was a great opportunity for us to learn more about the energy performance of buildings, the culture of Berlin and also meet with people from all around the world. We shared our knowledge, culture and created bridges, which will be integrated in our future work. I recommend this programme to anyone who is interested in learning and developing skills in energy performance, sustainable building design and exploring the bustling city of Berlin,” said GUtech student Salim Al Kalbani at the end of the Summer School.

 

Caption: The group of GUtech students and Prof. Alexander Kader at the City Models of Berlin exhibition

GUtech signs MoU with German Water Treatment Company

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with HARTMANN LLC, a German company, specialized in membrane technology for water treatment . “We are pleased to sign the agreement with Hartmann so that our Engineering students can learn how water treatment systems are functioning and how the systems are operated,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. The University and Hartmann LLC. agreed to collaborate on establishing a training and research facility at GUtech. “We will equip GUtech Engineering laboratories with Water Treatment Technology from Hartmann, in order to assist the students and enrich their knowledge,” said Dieter Hartmann, Managing Director of Hartmann Technology LLC that was founded in 1983 and has grown rapidly since then, employing a total of 67 employees. In addition, Hartmann will offer internships and training support for GUtech students in their main offices in Germany.

The additional purpose of the collaboration will be a close relationship for educating GUtech students in water treatment technology and to train Hartmann customers from the GCC region at the GUtech facility. The company has several customers in Abu Dhabi.

GUtech offers BEng programmes in Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. As part of the study-programme all students have to conduct internships.

(c) GUtech / Manuela Gutberlet

Students receive German language certificates from the Goethe Institut

A group of GUtech 15 students has successfully passed the German language certificate, Language Exam A1 of the Goethe Institut, the German Language and Culture Centre. Studying German is part of the curricula at GUtech. “The certificate is the first internationally recognized German language certificate that has been issued by the Goethe Institut,” said Andrea Cornelissen, German lecturer at GUtech and representative of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Oman. Students study the language for three semesters. However, the language of tuition at GUtech is English.

GUtech is planning to conduct the German exam on a regular basis. The 90 minutes exam evaluates the speaking, writing and listening skills of students. Some students had the chance to practice their language skills in Germany. “We travelled to Germany last summer to attend the German language course at RWTH Aachen University. We learnt a lot by communicating with other students during sightseeing trips or during the Omani Night that was organized by us on campus,” said Marwa Al Mahrooqi, 3rd year Process Engineering student and Abir Al Ansari, 3rd year Computer Science student. Both wish to persue their further studies in Germany. “I would like to reach a higher level of German and continue my studies or conduct an internship in Germany,” said Marwa. Although English is widely used in international companies and at universities, it is an asset to speak and communicate in German on a daily basis.

GUtech fosters exchange between Germany and Oman, especially through its German partner-university RWTH Aachen University. Each year a large number of GUtech students from various departments participate in language courses, laboratory courses or field-excursions to Germany that usually include RWTH Aachen University. 103,5 million people are German-native speakers in Europe. It is one of the most important languages worldwide and the most spoken language within the European Union. German is the official language in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

A Young Innovator talk for Generation Z held at the British School Muscat

MUSCAT During an inspiring, motivational talk held at the British School Muscat yesterday Assoc. Professor Basel Dayyani, Department of Computer Science at the Germany University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) encouraged the young school students to think as inventors, creating ideas from an early age onwards, while helping to solve everyday problems. Computer Science is not only about programming but about “how to think” about problems our world is facing, said Prof. Basel Dayyani, during an afternoon talk entitled “The Young Innovator”.

Inventions could be “anything that makes you more comfortable in everyday life. Anything that brings comfort and is easy to use,” he said. “Once you like doing something it becomes fun and you can achieve many things. For example, I love to code with artificial intelligence,” he said. Currently Prof. Basel is involved in many projects such as programming software for Machine Learning as well as for the financial and health sector, e.g. for cancer detection. Professor Basel stressed that technology has become the second nature of the Generation Z, those born after 1997. At the same time it is important to play games, to do sports and to read in order to enhance the production of neurones in our brains and therefore to enhance imagination. “When children play with toys it is not a waste of time.”

Prof Basel Dayyani graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder from the Center of Astrodynamics Research. He is a former NASA scientist. He has worked on mapping the gravity field of Earth at NASA. He also worked in Silicon Valley/ California (USA) and he has over 30 years of experience in the software industry in different engineering fields, working for IBM, Microsoft, Parametric Technology, Synopsys and Unisys. During the talk Prof. Basel showed a short video about the NASA Mars exploration that started in the 1980s; Prof. Basel was part of the initial team that started its research about Mars already around 30 years back.

Looking back on his own work and career path, he had some strong and clear messages for the young innovators in the classroom. To achieve certain goals, patience, hard work and failures are essential. “To train for the World Cup you have to train hard,” he said while adding that failures are important for the entire learning process. “You will fail many times, but the tenth time you will succeed – do not give up. You learn from your failures. Keep on going until you find the solution,” he said, encouraging the students to pursue their ideas.

Prof. Basel Dayyani is teaching Software Engineering and programming at GUtech. The BSc in Computer Sciences at GUtech is a four year programme with a major in Computer Science and a minor in Information Systems.

 

GUtech team prepares for the Shell Eco-marathon Asia

HALBAN A group of eight GUtech students from the departments of Engineering and Computer Science are currently building an eco-friendly car to participate in the annual Shell Eco-marathon Asia challenge, planned to be held in Singapore this March. For the third time GUtech will participate in this global competition. For the first time two female students participate, one of them is Arjawan Al Hajri, 3rd year Process Engineering student. She will drive the car: “I love driving cars. I think it will be a very good experience,” she said. The software programming of the car has been developed by another Omani female student, Al Shifa al Hadi. “The automatic control programming is an important feature of the car. The team studied the cars of their Asian competitors in the previous challenges and came up with innovative ideas, such as automatic control programming for the car. “The computer programme will increase the car’s performance. It will mainly focus on sensing and reporting car-related parameters to the driver,” said Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur, Head of the Department of Computer Science at GUtech.

Commenting on GUtech team’s preparations for Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2017, Muna Al Shukaili, General Manager of External Relations at Shell Development Oman stated: “We are very pleased to see that German University of Technology in Oman is set to compete in Shell Eco-marathon for the third time. I hope the competition will help develop students’ talents and make a contribution to sustainability in Oman. We are also very pleased to see that for the first time we have female students in the Omani teams participating in Shell Eco-marathon. I wish them all the best of luck as they arrive in Singapore in March for this challenge.” The chassis of the car is ready, it will take another month to build the body before the shipment. “The team worked hard in their free time and on the weekends. In June they started designing the car,” said Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis, Senior Lecturer of the Engineering Department at GUtech. He is supervising the entire team work. The team used lightweight materials such as aluminium alloys and carbon fibre composites. “The car is very light it should be very fuel efficient,” said Mohammed Salman, the team leader of the GUtech team. A number of companies are sponsoring the team: Oman Air, Oman Cables and Europoles Middle East.

Last year, after passing the technical checks and improving the different features the students drove a specific fuel consumption of 0.6 l per 100 km. Around 100 teams participated in the Shell Eco-marathon in previous years, but many failed the inspection tests and therefore were not accepted for the race.

The students hope that their ideas and inventions can contribute to building lighter and eco-friendlier cars in future. The students would like to motive other students to think in more sustainable ways. After the competition, they are planning to showcase the car to school students in Oman.

 

Students present their videos in German

Thirty-two groups of students from GUtech have presented their projects on “German Celebrations throughout the year” on Tuesday afternoon to the public. On the sidelines GUtech staff members and students were invited to taste Christmas cookies and cake. “The aim of the project is to work in a group and to use basic vocabulary to describe German festivals by applying it for example to a theatre play, a short movie, a newscast, a shadow-play or a comic. Most of the groups decided to produce a video of their projects at GUtech or in their home environment,” said Andrea Cornelissen, DAAD Representative and German lecturer at GUtech. Cornelissen and her colleagues of the German Department gave the students various suggestions, regarding religious holidays or more secular ones like the German National Day celebrated on the 3rd of October each year to commemorate the German Reunification.

Several groups created a film about the German National Day. The students did not have a lot of time to realize the movie. “We realized the project in between our assignments. To get some background information we interviewed GUtech interns who are from Germany. They told us about the history of the reunification,“ said Atheel Al Fouri, 4rd semester student in BEng Environmental Engineering. “For us German is not a difficult language, since it is close to English. I can understand more than I can speak,” she said. Her friend Thikra Al Harrassi, BEng Environmental Engineering enjoys studying German at GUtech. “It’s a beautiful language. We would like to practice more,” she said. Both students are looking forward to attend an Engineering laboratory course at GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen in Germany in the 7th semester of their study programme.

At GUtech German is taught as a second language, since English is the language of teaching. All students study German for 3 semesters within their Bachelor programmes. The goal is to acquire a basic level of communication in German, including conversations while traveling within the country. For everyday use, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland German is the official language and it is necessary for foreigners to know its basics.

 

German State Secretary and his delegation visited GUtech

HALBAN The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell received Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at Germany’s Ministry of Economy and Energy and his accompanying business delegation on campus. The delegation was accompanied by H.E. Hans-Christian Freiherr von Reibnitz, German Ambassador to the Sultanate. The Rector introduced the State Secretary to the university, its faculties, their research activities and future development plans. The delegation was on a two-day exploratory visit to the Sultanate. Members of delegation represented various industry sectors such as agriculture, engineering, construction, logistics, health services, business consultancy as well as lawyers.