GUtech conducted Professional Development Days for its employees

BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has conducted professional development workshops for its employees recently. “Knowledge is changing in a very fast pace. We have organized the professional development days for the third time, just before the start of the academic year. It is important for us to train and motivate our staff so that they learn themselves and motivate the students throughout the year,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

This year two groups of academics from GUtech’s partner-university, RWTH Aachen University conducted training courses in the basics of Blended Learning and on Teaching Methods. The workshop included different sessions on key challenges in teaching, conducted by a group of researchers from the Center of Learning and Knowledge Management (ZLW) at RWTH Aachen University.

Knowledge changes very fast and needs to be renewed continuously. “Ten years after school, there is no added value for a learner. Five years after graduating with a Bachelor or Master’s degree there is no value anymore,” said Prof. Dr. Heribert Nacken, the Rector’s delegate for Blended Learning and Exploratory Teaching Space at RWTH Aachen University. According to Prof. Nacken, those who teach at university should be aware of how we learn. In order to apply and improve the work of our brains with its neurotransmitters, knowledge usually needs to be practised and repeated. To increase the learning outcome for students various teaching techniques can be applied, according to the motto “Life is where there is a connection,” said Prof. Nacken. He suggested to use e-learning, a self-paced learning media to teach certain skills, e.g. in natural sciences, in engineering and even in language learning. “The first input always comes from a human being,” said Prof. Nacken. Referring to the Dual Code Theory a link between the verbal or oral and pictoral or visual perception create knowledge in the long-term memory of the brain. However “visual information is usually faster than aural information” he said. Explanations for illustrations are usually better understood in a spoken (oral) form than in a written presentation only.” Prof. Nacken also recommended to reduce the learning material for students and to apply various media while teaching. GUtech staff was introduced to new teaching techniques involving ‘Massive Open Online Courses’ or the ‘flipped classroom technique’ where the lecturer plays the role of a mentor instead of a presenter and the students themselves acquire their own knowledge from various sources.

The second part of the workshop conducted by a team from the Center of Learning and Knowledge Management at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech academic staff was asked to give sample presentations and their teaching styles was recorded and analysed by their fellow colleagues. They were also given advice how to improve their presentation style, based on the body language, the spoken words and the tone of the voice. At the end of the one week workshop an academic vision was projected for GUtech. Participants gave suggestions about their vision for the year 2015 – how the teaching, the student-lecture interaction and the overall study environment will look like. Due to the very positive feedback to the workshop, the university is planning to conduct a follow-up workshop next year.

New batch of students joined GUtech

BARKA A total of 450 students have started their studies at German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). The Orientation Days, an introduction to the new study environment where held at the GUtech in Halban on Wednesday and Thursday last week. Studying at a university is very different from school. The new batch of students will enter the General Foundation or the Academic Foundation Programme or the Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Engineering programmes this week. The Rectorate of GUtech including Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finances and Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs and Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of the University welcomed the students. “I encourage you to study hard in order to perform well and to be successful in your careers,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. The Rector advised the students to be in contact with their professors and lecturers and ask questions, and to be involved in extracurricular student activities such as sports. He also stressed on the multicultural study-environment at GUtech, where over 30 different nationalities have been studying and working together.

Lujaina Al Habsi, Rawan Al Maskari and Ruwaida Al Habsi from Muscat have started their studies at GUtech. They have friends or family members studying at GUtech. “In the past years, I was observing my cousin while drawing sketches for her studies in Urban Planning and Architectural Design at GUtech. Then I decided to join as well,” said Ruwaida who liked Biology at school. Her friends Lujaina and Rawan joined the business programmes at GUtech. “I like Mathematics and I like to meet and talk to people,” said Ruwaida who will join the BSc International Business and Service Management at GUtech. “I like to travel and I heard about Logistics. I thought it could be a good choice for me,” said Rawan. The three students are interested in participating in workshops and study-excursions abroad, for example to RWTH Aachen University. They believe that it is important for girls to study and to pursue a professional career. “In future, I would like to open my own business, maybe together with my friends,” said Ruwaida.

Mutaz al Awfi also joined GUtech in the Foundation Year. At school he liked Physics and Mathematics. From this week onwards Mutaz will study English, Mathematics and IT in the Foundation Year GUBridge as a preparation for his BEng studies in Mechanical Engineering. “I like to work with machines,” he said about his study choice while adding. “I have chosen GUtech because of the quality of the studies and I like the campus.” Mutaz had an orientation tour around campus along with other students. The GUtech Orientation Days continued with presentations about Student Affairs, academic and student life at GUtech.

The language of teaching at GUtech is English. German is taught as an additional foreign language for three to five semesters. GUtech is affiliated with one of the leading universities in Europe, RWTH Aachen University. For many years employers in Germany have been ranking RWTH Aachen University as one of the best universities in Germany, especially in Engineering, in Natural Sciences and in Computer Sciences.

GUtech offers a Foundation Programme and five Bachelor of Science programmes in Applied Geosciences, Computer Science, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, International Business and Service Management, Logistics as well as three Bachelor of Engineering programmes in Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Environmental. The study-programmes are internationally accredited by ACQUIN.

GUtech students celebrated an Omani Night at RWTH Aachen University

AACHEN / GERMANY Omani and international students from GUtech recently organized an Omani cultural night at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s partner-university in Germany. The Omani Night was part of the students’ study-excursion to Aachen, organized annually by GUtech and sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). During the trip the students learn the German language and familiarize with the RWTH Aachen University, the professors and their departments.

“Through emails and social media we invited the international student community. The group of Omani students gave a presentation about the geography and the history of Oman including its trading routs. They also explained the Omani food, the traditional dresses, the educational system and the natural hospitality of the Omani people. It was a marvellous event. All guests were very happy. We interacted with multicultural students on this night and we also invited our interns who already visited GUtech in last years,” said Imran Bhatti, GUtech lecturer in the GUBridge / Foundation Programme. The students also invited a group of BSC Logistics students of GUtech who were also on a study trip to Germany. “We are very thankful to the international office of RWTH Aachen, especially Fouzia Alizai and Hassan Aljalloud, who gave us their full support. I believe that the students of Aachen remember this event for a long period of time as a mile stone in their life which make a strong bonding between Oman and Germany friendship,” said Imran.

Each year a number of GUtech graduates decide to continue their MSc studies at RWTH Aachen University, e.g. in Urban Planning and Architecture, Computer Sciences, Engineering and in Geosciences. GUtech offers five BSc and three BEng programmes. The university was established in 2006 in Muscat. During the summer semester 2016 a total of 1262 students studied at GUtech.