Experiencing Tourism Studies at Sea

BARKA To promote intercultural communication and tourism studies in a ‘live tourism laboratory’, Professor Dr Nevenka Čavlek has initiated the International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea (ITHAS) in Croatia in 2005.

As part of the series of Tuesday Tourism Talks (TTT) held at GUtech, Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management, Dr Nevenka Čavlek gave a public talk entitled “Experiential Learning for tourism education; the case of International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea” on 15 December. Professor Dr Nevenka Čavlek is Head of the Postgraduate Studies in Tourism Management of the Faulty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb in Croatia. The Tourism Department is part of the UNWTO Education Council and Dr Nevenka is also Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Acta Turistica, published twice per year.

„In Croatia tourism accounts nearly 20 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and today all business students at the Faculty of Economics & Business have to study a compulsory tourism course,“ said Dr Nevenka about the importance of tourism in her home country. „Prior to my work in academia, I worked in tourism,“ she said while adding that the idea to initiate a special programme for students to get first-hand experience in tourism, conducted outside the lecture hall and outside the traditional vocational training practices grew. „The uniqueness is that the programme differs from common practices. Our main goal was to create an exciting opportunity to travel and to study at the same time,“ she said.

In 2005 Dr Nevenka initiated the first 7-day intensive study module at sea in Croatia, entitled „Island Tourism Management“. Since then Dr Nevenka has organized various trips and under various topics, e.g. on cruise tourism on the river Danube, but also in Croatia and other topics along the Adriatic coast (Montenegro, Albania). „During sail students have lectures lead by well-known academics of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. Last year we had 26 different nationalities on board. Between 80-130 students participate and are well selected in advance and according to their study achievements. The lecturers circulate and the students stay on board,“ she said. The programme combines real life experiences, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and they learn about the most important aspects by tourism by active experimentation. „At the end the students see tourism in a different light“ she said.

To find out more about the perception and expectations of the student participants. Dr. Nevenka together with Dr Charles Arcodia from the Griffith University in Australia has conducted research about the short and long-term expectations and experiences during that academy on sea; they applied two questionnaire surveys during and after the experiential learning trips. Their results show that the majority of students had a positive perception of the learning outcome after having participated in one of the academies. „We mix on purpose undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students and different nationalities, so that they all learn also from each other,“ she said. Professor Dr Heba Aziz confirmed: “The academy is a multicultural learning experience, So far we have had two groups a total of 18 students from the tourism department attending ITHAS and students rated this as one of the most enjoyable learning experiences they have had”.

Currently Universities in Finland, Slovenia, Germany and GUtech in Oman are partner universities of the annual tourism academy at sea. „GUtech students have been an asset to the programme“ said Dr Nevenka while explaining that they helped to overcome prejudices and create strong bonds. „At the end of the trip they have a different identity. They identify themselves by the group culture of the ship,“ she said. A number of tourism representatives attending the talk suggested to Dr. Nevenka to conduct the Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea here in Oman and in the region in the future.

 

A workshop to review the studies set up by GUtech in Buraimi Governorate

The Office of the Governor of AlBuraimi and municipal council organized a seminar during which they reviewed the results of a study conducted by the GUtech regarding urban planning and architecture in AlBuraimi governorate, in the presence of His Excellency the Governor, members of the Shura Council, members of the municipal council, concerned individuals from the governmental authorities and engineering consultancy offices.

The results of GUtech studies have been reviewed during the workshop and presented by the Head of Urban Planning and Architecture Department at GUtech in collaboration with the Municipal Council, with the help of Students under the supervision of the university professors from the Urban Planning and Architecture Department.

The study aimed to provide proposals and ideas on the concept of urban style and natural, urban and cultural elements in Al Buraimi Governnorate, and how to exploit the available urban development resources as well as the integration of the principles of innovation with several supplement aspects, including the exploitation of farms as tourism parks, and the importance of exploiting the valleys sides and invest and develop  them to be restaurants  and walkways as the case in the governorate of Muscat. As well as the main streets to harmonize with the existing buildings on both sides of the street and the emphasis on the need to keep up with the national government’s plan, which was prepared by the Higher Council for Planning with the local plan prepared by Al Buraimi governorate.

It is noteworthy that these proposals are students competing projects under the supervision of a group of university professors.

These studies have produced models and ideas of architecture that can be applied on if conditions were suitable, as well as to achieve the main objective to increase public awareness and community participation to achieve the national strategy for urban development, in addition to the identification of architectural methods and systems and urban planning in the governorate which accelerate the development of a schematic-based thinking on sustainability, innovation and the efficient use of available resources in the province.

During the seminar, questions and inquiries where answered by the head of and Urban Planning and architecture. Then the attendees visited the exhibition which included some charts and graphics of the center of Al Buraimi

Inauguration of a training initiative in Duqm in collaboration with GUtech

His Excellency Said bin Hamdoon Al Harthy, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Ports and Maritime Affairs has Inaugurated Duqm Training Initiative which aimed at training young Omanis for work in the various companies working in Duqm Special Economic Zone.

The initiative is the supported by Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority and a group of Omani oil companies operating in Duqm: Duqm Refinery Company and Duqm Petroleum Terminal Company, and implementation oversee by the Local Community Development Committee in the Authority with Takatuf Company in cooperation with GUtech.

A number of lecturers have been assigned to teach enrolled students in the Duqm Training Initiative which will continue for 6 months. Haitham bin Salim Al Shabibi, English Language Teacher, said that the initiative program began to give back outcomes through the attention of the beneficiaries students from the different educational programs, and that interaction from students is increasing day after day, facin difficulties at the beginning in accepting commitment to timing and understanding native English speaking teachers.

Al Shabibi added that the teachers faced challenges such as arrival of the students on time due to the distance between their residences and the center. But this problem was resolved through cooperation of the initiative team represented by Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority, Duqm Refinery Company and Duqm Petroleum Terminal Company by providing transportation and snacks for the students to promote the appropriate atmosphere for the tuition process.

Alein Bryan, an English Language, said that students benefit from the educational programs in a better way day by day, but it is going to take more time, which is normal because we have different teaching methods for all levels of education in GUtech, and we have the expertise to deal with the required levels, and in return, we offer students in Duqm, educational programs to promote their chances for engaging in labor market in the Sultanate in general, and in Duqm Special Economic Zone in particular. And although the class is divided for female and male students, but we monitor more interaction and competition between both gender, which will have a positive impact in the coming months. We also observed that some students have the tendency for education very clearly, and this is what we wish for, that these students would proceed with their education and training in the future, and we are confident that this program will achieve success and students will reap dividends.

Oman team impresses at Arab University futsal

BARKA: In the first Arab University Competition for Female Futsal (5-aside indoor football), four GUtech students joined the Oman University national team.
The competition was held in Amman, Jordan, from November 23 to 30. The team consisted of 12 students including GUtech (four students), Sohar University (4 students), Majan College (3 students) and Caledonian College (1 student). The participating countries were Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, UAE and Oman.
The Omani female students’ team won the important match against UAE with 1-0 thanks to the winner scored by GUtech striker, Basma al Rashdi, strongest player of the Oman national team.
The other GUtech team members are Hanan al Habsi, Zuwaina al Zakwani and Jokha al Zakwani.
The team finished fifth in the competition.
National team coach Haroon al Bartamani led the team training and conducted training sessions at GUtech, Bausher complex and even “open air” at the beach.
“I gained a lot of knowledge from the preparation with coach Haroon. The trip to Jordan was amazing and a lifetime experience, which motivates a lot to continue with futsal, because we hope more will come in Oman for the girls” said Basma al Rashdi, GUtech striker.
Hanan al Habsi, Oman goalkeeper, said: “I wish that women’s university sports receives more attention on a national level with more tournament opportunities to develop our skills. We have weekly training at GUtech, but few opportunities to take part in national level competitions.”
“Our Omani team had only two weeks of intensive preparation, due to some administrative problems. To compete with such high level female futsal teams in Jordan that was definitively too short.”
“Nevertheless, I was very proud and happy to witness how strong the students of different colleges in Oman created a professional team spirit in this short time,” said Gunhild Pfaff, assistant coach of the National Futsal Team and sports officer at GUtech.
“Even all students had to deal with midterm exams, assignments, quizzes, during the preparation time, they were all organised and terminated to manage both with success. With more preparation ahead, we could have performed much better on the pitch,” Gunhild Pfaff added.
An ‘open’ female futsal competition is planned for the first weekend of January 2016 at the Bausher Complex.

65 Graduates were celebrated during the 4th Graduation Ceremony

BARKA A total of 65 Omani and Non-Omani graduates were celebrated during an official ceremony held in the auditorium on campus at the German University of Technology in Barka on Sunday evening, 13rd December. The ceremony was attended by GUtech’s Board of Directors and Board of Governors, members of the Majlis Al Dowla and Majlis Al Shura and the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Sultanate, as well as other dignitaries. The students graduated from Bachelor of Science programmes in Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Applied Geosciences, Computer Sciences, Bachelor of Engineering in Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering and MSc in Petroleum Geoscience.

 

For the first time students graduated from the BEng in Mechanical Engineering and Process Engineering. The majority of GUtech graduates have already found positions in various companies, such as Petroleum Development Oman, Schlumberger, Oman Oil, PetroGas Rima, Dar Al Handasah, Bank Muscat, Muriya Tourism Development, Al Bustan Palace Hotel. Others are pursuing a MSc degree abroad, for example in Automotive Engineering or in Industrial Engineering at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, a Master’s in Engineering in the UK and a MSc in Petroleum Geosciences in the UK.

Professor Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech addressed the students: “You received the best education. You will be part of the elite in Oman,” he said while adding: “You are well prepared for a professional job. The first pillar of GUtech’s educational approach is that we educate young people to be independent, self-reliant and at the same time flexible to work in a multicultural environment.” In order to stay competitive in the long-run the Rector advised the students: “Do not stop learning, stay curious and you will always be at the forefront in your professional careers. Choose your job according to your skills and knowledge and not according to the salary. In the end success will bring you a higher salary,” stressed the Rector.

German University of Technology deploys Bluepath Indoor navigation using Beacon technology to improve student experience.

German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has an ambitious vision: to become the leading university of technology in the region and to define the highest standards in teaching and research. Already, it has established itself as the first private university in the Sultanate of Oman with international accreditation.
GUtech has recently signed the State of the Art Technology for  Mobile Indoor Positioning and Indoor Navigation platform with Bluepath Labs LTD for it Mobile Application. It will provide the students with the ability to use the Bluepath technology to navigate to the class rooms based on the class schedule and also provide the ability to search for books in the library and navigate to them in the various sectors and faculties. The next phase of the Mobile App will also have an Automatic Attendance System for the students within the University Campus and integrated realtime messaging.
Bluepath Labs LTD is a company focused on providing indoor positioning and navigation using iBeacon technology. Bluepath provides practical solutions for large indoor areas such as healthcare, hospitals, hotels, malls, transportation – to name a few.  Some of the Core features are, Accurate Indoor Positioning with a Turn by Turn Directions facility, Smart Proximity Notifications, Sharing locations with Friends & Family, Bookmarking position’s such as Car Park’s hence enabling the User for navigating back to their Car, enhancing Efficiency & Safety.

GUtech BSc and BEng Programmes received international Re-Accreditation

Muscat The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) is the first private university in the Sultanate to receive international re-accreditation for its Bachelor of Science programmes in Computer Science, Urban Planning and Architectural Design and Applied Geosciences and first accreditation for its Bachelor of Engineering degree programmes in Environmental Engineering, Process Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The news was announced by Prof. Dr-Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech on Tuesday. “We are very proud that ACQUIN has acknowledged the international quality of all our programmes. With a degree from GUtech our students have many options that ensure them the best possible start to their professional careers,” said Prof Modigell. Currently a large number of GUtech alumni students are pursuing their MSc degree at universities in Germany, UK or US and many more have found jobs in the public and private sector in Oman and in the region.

The announcement about GUtech’s re-accreditation came after the Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (ACQUIN) approved GUtech’ s BSc and BEng programmes without condition. ACQUIN is an international Germany- based non-profit agency committed to supporting the enhancement of quality standards for teaching and learning in higher education worldwide.  ACQUIN is a full member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education operating in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Middle and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Middle East. GUtech is also licensed by the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman and recognised by RWTH Aachen University, its partner-university in Germany. The re-accreditation of academic programmes was awarded after a rigorous procedure that involved several meetings with the ACQUIN peer group in summer this year. The group was made up of 8-10 experienced academics and students from different public universities in Germany as well as experts from the industry and two ACQUIN staff members.  Based on the self-evaluation reports which were produced by the Academic departments the groups of experts interviewed GUtech staff and students to finalize their assessment process.

The ACQUIN team was impressed with GUtech’s commitment to educate highly qualified and responsible-minded students according to German standards, but with a firm grounding in Omani heritage and culture. In the long run, GUtech aims to play a leading role in research, innovation and education. “Based on the solid ground of its Bachelor programme portfolio GUtech will introduce several Masters’ degree programmes in the fields of Engineering, Architecture, Business and Geosciences In the coming years, to strengthen the research activities of the university and to satisfy the needs of the Omani society. Moreover, we are  planning to award PhD degrees according to the German system,” said Dr. Jürgen Werner, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.  GUtech currently offers BSc programmes in Computer Science, Applied Geosciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, International Business and Service Management and Logistics and BEng programmes in Environmental Engineering, Process Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.

GUtech participates in I-Tech Innovation & Technology Exhibition

GUtech participates in I-Tech Innovation & Technology Exhibition from 1st until 3rd of Dec. 2015, in Oman International Exhibition Centre, under the patronage of His Highness Sayyid Taymor Bin Asaad Bin Tariq Al Saeed.

I-Tech is leading exhibition which offers the latest products and services for information and communication technology, the latest technological tools and machinery, consumer electronics and smart advanced technology in all sectors.

The participation of the German University in such exhibitions is to highlight the innovative and talented student in the University. Students from the Mechanical Engineering Department exhibited a special vehicle which they have designed. It is the same vehicle which got the fifth place in the Shell Eco-Marathon, which was held in the city of Manila, the Philippines, with the participation of many countries.

It is worth mentioning that a number of students from Mechanical Engineering Department at the German University are working on the design of another vehicle to participate in the seventh edition of the Shell Eco-Marathon, which will be held next March 2016 in Philippines.