Geological field-workshop on Jabel Akdhdar

Together with colleagues from Oman and Germany, the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech conducted a field workshop on Jabal Akhdar’s Saiq Plateau last weekend. The group of geoscientists were from FAU Germany, FU Berlin, GUtech, SQU and PDO. Several German geoscientists are currently conducting seminars and lectures at GUtech.

Pictured are (from left to right) Prof Axel Munnecke, Dr. Frank Mattern, Prof. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Prof. Michaela Bernecker, Lukas Reuss, Dr. Husam Al Rawahi and (in front) Katharina Scharf, Dr. Ivan Callegari, Prof. Anette Regelous and Ali Al Hajri.

Students participated in the prestigious Geosciences “Flügel Course”

BARKA Six students of the Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech participated in the International Course on Carbonate Microfacies 2017 at the Geocenter of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) recently. Four students who are all in their final year in Applied Geosciences: Amal Al Shahaibi, Amani Qasim, Ibtisam Al Kharusi and Wafa Al Ismaili received scholarships comprising the course fees and accommodation on campus. The criteria for the award of the scholarships included the students performance and their motivation in course-relevant subjects. The annual “Flügel Course” is held under the umbrella of the German Geological Society (DGGV). The course strongly supports students interested in working in the field of Carbonate Reservoir Geology and in the Limestone Industry.

The Carbonate Course at the Geocenter covers all classic and modern aspects of carbonate sedimentology. Lectures by professors from several German Universities are held in English. These lectures cover different topics of carbonate microfacies in addition to exercises with so-called thin sections and sediment samples. The main focus of the course is on recent developments in carbonate sedimentology.

The Geocenter of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg owns a world renowned, one-of-a-kind collection of carbonate thin-sections and sediment samples. The famous annual “Flügel Course” is named after its initiator, the late Prof. Dr. Erik Flügel, a renown palaeontologist who launched the course in 1976. Until today, 1500 geoscientists from the academia and the industry attended the course. Next month the first “Flügel Course” will be held at GUtech. The one-week course will be open to Applied Geosciences students studying at the university.

Geoscientists sign agreement on Water Research with Dutch University

BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has signed a Letter of Intent on conducting joint research projects in the field of water scarcity with Wageningen University in the Netherlands this week. The signing ceremony was joined by H.E. Barbara Joziasse, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Oman and a delegation of Dutch water experts. The joint agreement was initiated and signed by the Netherlands Oman Foundation of Amsterdam.

The main objective of the agreement is to research practical methods for harvesting rainwater while preventing flash floods in Oman. In future, the project may be extended to reforestation and further agriculture projects, which help mitigate the effects of climate change in the Sultanate of Oman. Wageningen University has been successfully working on various water scarcity projects in Kenya, Mali and Vietnam. “Working with Wageningen University provides us with state-of-the art practical and experimental experience. We can easily introduce the techniques applied in other countries here in Oman and therefore improve our water management capabilities. The overall goal is to slow the rainwater on its way to the sea and to give it some time to filter into the ground,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbrecher, Hydrogeologist at GUtech, Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO).

“We are thrilled to be part of this partnership. Even though it does not rain in Oman, when it rains it pours. With this project we would like to show that every raindrop counts. Every drop of rain that ends up in the sea and has not been harvested is a wasted drop,” said Dr. Philippe Ker Rault of the Environmental Research Team Water and Food at Wageningen University.

“This cooperation means that the Sultanate creates more capacity and knowledge to harvest rainwater more effectively. The research will add directly to the flash flood prevention and to higher levels of sub soil water reserve depletion. It is then possible to stop desertification and re-cultivate large areas with existing rainfall,” said Peter van Ees, Chairman of the Netherlands Oman Foundation. He added that corporations in Oman and the Netherlands will be given opportunities to financially endorse the project and use their support to their corporate social responsibility.

Kaizen Learning – An Innovative Teaching Technique Applied at GUtech

The Department of Mathematics and Sciences (MAS) at GUtech has introduced an innovative, student-focused learning technique, entitled Kaizen, usually used in the industry. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Heim, Head of the MAS Department and Dean of the Faculty of Science recently published along with colleagues from GUtech and RWTH Aachen Germany a paper entitled “Driving student-centered calculus: results of a comprehensive case study for Kaizen learning in the Sultanate of Oman”. The Kaizen method can be applied in large mathematics lectures for Engineering, Geosciences, Computer Sciences students. Prof Bernhard was also awarded with the GUtech Ibn Al Haytham Teaching Award 2016.

“Kaizen is a teaching philosophy that is based on short learning units with many feedback loops and continuous testing of the students’ knowledge,” said Prof. Bernhard who has been teaching at GUtech since 2009. “We introduced the teaching method around two years ago and we were glad to receive overwhelmingly positive feedback from our Omani and international students. As a result, the attendance in class has increased to more than 85% since the induction of Kaizen at GUtech,” said Prof. Bernhard while adding that classical forms of memorizing and teaching in front of the students are not applicable anymore. Nowadays students expect the use of multi-media tools, which is a big advantage to enhance the students self-motivation and self-studies. “To overcome the usually used memorizing techniques in our Engineering classes where we teach Mathematics for Engineering the student needs a progression from pure calculus to mathematics, which requires analytical and geometrical skills,” said Prof. Bernhard. To reach high success rates, the Kaizen technique focuses on the continuous human-human interaction between professor and student as well as between assistants and students. Moreover, clearly communicated expectations, avoidance of a short-term learning attitude, a strict no-calculator policy and a balanced combination of traditional teaching and e-learning techniques, through mobile applications or advanced tailored e-learning management software. The e-learning software provides weekly exercises for students. In addition, the students have continuous support by GUtech academic staff who act as mentors and help understand the various assignments. “Such a sustainable learning process through Kaizen guarantees that students are well prepared for their final exams,” said Prof. Bernhard. Moreover, the strict “no calculator policy” in the classroom ensures that students realize that mathematics is about structures, to obtain a result pattern. The balanced use of traditional teaching and e-learning, so called blended learning, e.g. through the use of short videos, it ensures a high student motivation and enfolds its full potential when integrated within the science or mathematics course.

The Kaizen teaching method was presented at different universities such as Sultan Qaboos University, RWTH Aachen University, Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich, Technical University Munich as well as at an international learning conference ‘Bett Middle East’ in Abu Dhabi. For further details about the Kaizen technique, please contact Prof. Bernhard:

In the context of exchanging ideas about teaching, the GUtech Department of MAS has been organizing regular teaching seminars at lunch time, the schedule can be requested from the department.