OES and Eduten Collaborate to Bring AI-Supported Gamification Mathematics to Oman

Oman Educational Services signs exclusivity agreement with Eduten to bring Finland’s no 1 AI-supported mathematics digital learning platform to Oman

Oman Education Services (OES, LLC) has signed an exclusivity agreement with Eduten, a Finnish company with more than 15 years of proven expertise in gamification-based mathematics learning, to bring Eduten Playground into the Finland Oman School (FOS), the GUbridge Foundation Programme of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and beyond.

The virtual signing ceremony took place yesterday, Wednesday 9 September, between Dr Hussain Al Salmi, the Chief Executive Officer of OES, and Henri Muurimaa, the Chief Executive Officer of Eduten joining from Turku, Finland; along with the virtual presence of Makke Leppänen, Eduten’s Head of Partnership joining from Helsinki, Ahmed Al Salmi, OES General Manager, and Terhi Merenski, FOS principal.

Eduten, a spin-off of the globally ranked top 1% University of Turku, is behind Eduten Playground for primary and secondary students. Eduten Playground is supported by artificial intelligence and offers a library of more than 200,000 high-quality pedagogical online mathematics practice tasks for students aged 6-15 years.

Commenting on the exclusivity agreement with Eduten, OES CEO, Al Salmi said: “Recognising the significant role of the digital education in boosting pupils’ learning and believing in the importance of equipping our students with the Fourth Industrial Revolution skills, our agreement with Eduten goes hand in hand with our vision to providing quality education to the people of Oman and to empowering our students, in FOS and GUtech, to learn mathematics through Eduten Playground, Finland’s no 1 motivational digital learning platform that encourages autonomous learning.” “Math performance in Oman has been a challenge and we believe that Eduten Playground, when deployed properly, can improve Omani students’ Math results.” He added.

The platform complements FOS approach of pedagogical differentiation and offers teachers opportunities for setting up highly individual learning pathways for students and generating detailed learning analytics for each student.
From his side, Eduten CEO, Henri Muurimaa, stated: “With this venture, Oman will be joining the growing list of countries benefiting from the extensive research and proven effectiveness in digital mathematics learning while simultaneously helping us to achieve our ultimate mission of offering students worldwide the opportunity to reach their academic potential.” “OES is a perfect partner for us and together with OES we are ready to expand in Oman for modernising the teaching methods and for transforming the learning journey for higher results among FOS students and many other schools in Oman.” He concluded.

Capitalising on the expertise of Eduten and leveraging FOS growing reputation, the agreement appoints OES as the exclusive distributor in Oman and paves the ground for undertaking research that will expand the digital platform to address other regional needs in Arabic and Arabic related subjects.

Oman Educational Services (OES) is a 100% Omani-owned limited liability company, established in 2006. In the past 14 years, OES has ventured into different projects with a core interest in education – The German University of Technology (GUtech) in 2007, History of Science Centre in 2017, and Finland Oman School in 2018 – allowing OES to be established as a leading educational ecosystem in Oman.

Eduten Ltd is a spin-off from University of Turku that provides Finland’s most popular digital learning platform Eduten Playground to educational institutions around the world. Eduten Playground has proved its worth as a scientifically validated mathematics platform since 2011 by more than 450,000 users in Finland 40+ other countries, including Hong Kong, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, United Arab Emirates, various countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and now Oman.

GUtech and PhazeRo bring in real-world artificial intelligence skills into the classroom and beyond

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) signed on Tuesday 8 September a cooperation agreement with PhazeRo at GUtech campus to offer artificial intelligence, AI, courses to equip GUtech students with much needed AI skills and to bridge the gap between AI theory and real-world AI applications through project-based learning with real industry challenges.

Dr Hussain Al Salmi, GUtech’s Acting Rector, and Mr Masood Al Rawahi, PhazeRo Executive Director, signed the agreement, in the presence of Dr Nabil Al Sahli, Dean of the Engineering and Computer Science faculty at GUtech.

PhazeRo is a specialist consultancy and future-oriented technology education group, building the region’s largest engineering team out of local software talent. PhazeRo handles digital consulting, software development, talent onboarding, and continuous improvement for corporate clients so they can get back to focusing on their core business.

Al Salmi announced that the signing of the agreement establishes a solid partnership ground with PhazeRo, as it will contribute to bring in real-world AI applications to the classroom. He added that GUtech spares no effort to provide students with the right practical skills they need to be ready for the job market. “collaborating with PhazeRo to infuse our curriculum with hands-on learning opportunities is an example,” he said, before adding that GUtech always seeks to bring in the industry into the learning process of students.

GUtech is finalising all requirements to launch the Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence programmes, he stated. “It is extremely important to bring in the practical aspects of AI into our Computer Science curriculum and beyond.”

Through the expertise of PhazeRo, GUtech students will get to explore the real-life applications of AI in different sectors. Al Rawahi “We believe that high-performing tech talent is at the heart of a thriving innovation ecosystem. Our mission is to accelerate the development of the next generation of software engineers and data scientists to realise the ambitious goals laid out in Vision 2040. To achieve this, deep integration between industry and academia is necessary. We are excited to co-create a programme, with the GUtech, that infuses our industry experience with a rigorous academic curriculum that is very practical in nature.”

In the pilot stage, PhazeRo will deliver introductory AI courses to third year Computer Science students in September 2020. Al Sahli explained that “With the AI boom, it was necessary for GUtech to find an industrial partner who can support our vision in forming local AI experts.”

He continued: “PhazeRo is a young and very promising Omani company which we think can connect GUtech to the AI market and support us in improving our academic programmes by offering the opportunity to our students to practice AI concepts in real-world applications. We will start this partnership as soon as this month with a course that PhazeRo will offer to our third year CS students. This course will focus on machine learning and will give students the opportunity to plan and execute real machine learning projects to solve real-world problems.”

The collaboration with PhazeRo will also benefit students who will be joining the recently approved GUtech’s Bachelor of Artificial Intelligence programme. Upon launching the programme, PhazeRo will be engaged to deliver specialised courses.

The collaboration also aims at extending AI courses and trainings to passionate professionals seeking to upskill their technical knowledge in machine learning and AI applications.

The signing ceremony was held at GUtech campus in the presence of Mr Talal Al Nabulsi, responsible for training at GUtech’s training unit (TSSC), and Ms Reem Al Taei, the Business Development Executive at PhazeRo.

Campus in Blue to Honour Frontline Professionals during the Covid-19 Pandemic

GUtech Lights its Buildings Blue in Honour of Health Professionals and Frontline Staff and Workers

GUtech Campus Glowing in Blue

GUtech campus glowing in blue to honour the efforts of all professionals keeping us safe and protected.

To honour health professionals and all frontline staff and workers who are confronting the Covid-19 virus in hospitals and health centres, GUtech lights up its buildings in blue each evening at dark for an indefinite period of time starting from tonight, 11 May 2020.

Illuminating buildings in blue lights, GUtech rectorate and community show appreciation and gratefulness for the dedication and sacrifice of all professionals and remind all of us to wash hands and keep social distancing.

“We are glowing our campus in blue which can be seen from far to send a message of hope to the community around us for a better tomorrow and to say thank you to health professionals and all others for their hard work.” The Acting Rector, Dr Hussain Al Salmi, stated in support of all those professionals who are keeping us protected during the pandemic.

(c) GUtech/ Text: Fatima El Madkouri; Photo provided by Infrastructure Department

Wasting internet bandwidth at home may prevent others from accessing valuable data

HALBAN The internet has become a vital source for teaching, learning, communication as well as research. The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has introduced online teaching in the last month. However, the internet consumption requires a responsible consuming behaviour of the entire community, similar to water consumption. Through the internet, we are all connected. “If you waste your internet bandwidth at home, you may prevent others who urgently need internet access from valuable data,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech).

He added that “the current pandemic COVID-19, has taught us that we should stop thinking selfishly, if we want to survive. If we do not provide the same healthcare and prevention measures to all, the virus will spread in the community. Similarly, if we take all the bandwidth of the internet for ourselves we will prevent others from even small data packets. Consequently, they will have difficulties to teach and learn online, do business, or communicate with others online.”

Prof. Nabil explained that internet users of the same internet address (ISP) usually have limited bandwidth within their neighborhoods. “Currently the internet is becoming a vital resource for our everyday-lives, a public utility, similar to water and electricity. Most of us will try not to waste water or electricity in order to avoid getting high bills,” said Prof. Nabil. In some countries tap water is free-of-charge or it is subsidized like here in the Gulf region. This increases the risk of wasting water. “Most people who know that water is a vital, scarce, natural resource, they will not waste it. In the same way, internet consumers who have unlimited Internet access at home should not let go their YouTube or Netflix streaming while they are off,” said Prof. Nabil Sahli while highlighting that charges can regulate the data consumption. “Those consumers who have limited internet connection and who pay for their downloaded and uploaded data, will usually use the internet with more moderation,” he said.

The Coronavirus pandemic is teaching us important lessons

“The internet should be seen as important as water and electricity. Companies should be prepared with online strategies”

The current epidemic with its impacts on the community shows the importance of the internet for communication, teaching, online learning and remote work. “Companies should be prepared in advance for such a crisis,” says Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). Under Prof. Nabil’s supervision, the university has implemented online teaching and learning.

Prof. Nabil highlights the importance of advanced planning and strategies on various levels: “Schools and even companies and governmental agencies should have a clear strategy for online work and online teaching as part of their Crisis Management Plans (CMP). Like we train staff and students on how to evacuate a building in case of fire, we are currently witnessing the need to train them how to work from home. Once this crisis ends, we should all have a clear plan on how to deal with similar situations in the future, ” he says while adding that “the internet should be seen as important as water and electricity. Each single house should have access to internet with a reasonable speed. Unless we achieve this, we cannot provide synchronous teaching, which means live sessions, to students as this would exclude some of them.”

As a consequence, the teaching will be mainly asynchronous, through posting videos and materials in the Learning Management System and asking students to work on assignments offline, which according to Prof. Nabil Sahli, does not replace the traditional way of teaching. A lot of self-discipline and motivation is required from each student. “We all learned that self-discipline is crucial for survival. During regular times, students are used to attend classes according to a well-defined timetable, listen to their teachers, and do their homework. When confined at home, what would make a student follow the posted material and recordings on time and submit the requested assignment if it is not his or her self-discipline and determination?” asks Prof. Nabil.

Caption: Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech.

(c) GUtech/ Photo & Text: Umaima Al Zadjali & Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli

Public Information Session on the MSc Computer Sciences

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) is pleased to invite the public to an Information Session on the MSc degrees in Computer Sciences with an option to study one semester at Hasselt University in Belgium. The session will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 January at 6 pm in GUtech’s Research Hall. GUtech and Hasselt University in Belgium are collaborating in the Master degree.

“Our collaboration with Hasselt University enables students in GUtech’s MSc in Computer Science to gain an international perspective. By spending one semester in Belgium, our MSc Computer Science students can opt to earn additional credits towards a Master’s degree in Transportation Sciences from Hasselt University. These additional credits will focus on traffic safety and technological approaches to handle current and future transportation challenges worldwide,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of Computer Sciences at GUtech.

GUtech invites the general public to the upcoming information session tomorrow to learn more about the MSc programme, the admission requirements and scholarship opportunities. During the session, Computers Sciences professors from GUtech and professors from the Transportation Science Department of Hasselt University will share more details about the MSc programme and answer questions. To attend the session, please register online: https://www.gutech.edu.om/cs-transportation-master-information-session/

Remote work: Computer Science Students work in various projects for the Finnish Company Trimedia

HALBAN Two Computer Science graduates have recently started their remote work at GUtech on web-based projects with the Finnish Online-Marketing company Trimedia in Jyvaskyla, located in the Mid-West of Finland. “Through our work, we gain some more work experiences and understanding of the local GCC, the Finnish and European market,” said Maram Mohammed, GUtech CS alumna.  Maram and Maha Al Busaidi have started their ‘remote internship’ beginning of December. They work on website and mobile applications and web development. GUtech has opened up a small office for the students to work remotely for the Finnish company Trimedia.

“Initially, the students had to apply with their CV, a motivational letter, and prepare a presentation that will demonstrate their technical knowledge and soft skills. Also, the students had to pass the first interview and the technical test in GUtech. Then, the student will be qualified for the second interview with our partner, Trimedia. Our Computer Science alumna have shown the exceptional abilities to analyse technical issues, to quickly understand the core of problems and they were able to develop solutions within short time. Also we need to mention that our students have impressed our partner with their work attitude and with meeting the highest quality standards. They have also shown their ability to work independently with great creativity and enthusiasm with very little supervision,” said Ali Al-Humairi, Computer Science Department at GUtech.

“We are pleased to involve GUtech alumna in our company. This is our first experience with remote work,” said Arto Saksola, CEO of Trimedia who is currently on a visit to GUtech. Oman Educational Services (OES), the mother company that owns GUtech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Trimedia Finland in October last year. The main objective of the cooperation is to support GUtech’s efforts to link the Department of Computer Sciences with international companies. “With our cooperation with Trimedia we would like to promote start-up businesses in Oman and in the region, while fostering inter-cultural exchange between Oman and Scandinavia. Finland is one of the European leaders in start-ups, especially in the field of computer programming and gaming. We wish that our students gain hands-on experiences and apply and multiply their knowledge here in Oman,” said Ahmed Al Salmi, CEO of OES. Mr Arto initiated the internship along with Ahmed Al Salmi, Ali Al-Humairi from GUtech and Juho Alpua from The Finland Oman School (FOS). In the next six months, the Computer Science graduates will work on different projects. “In Computer Sciences it is very common to work remotely. We have regular conversations online and we are always there to help the students whenever they have a question. So far, we are very pleased with the outcome of the first internship month,” said Arto Saksola.

The students also enjoy their work experience with the Finnish company. “It is not difficult for us being away from the company. We are part of GUtech. The tasks given to us have been a lot of fun and a very good experience,” said Maram. “Working remotely can be less stressful compared to working within a company,” said Maha who remembers her internship time at Oxy Oman, where she worked on rick scheduling for two months. For the Finnish company it is a new intercultural experience to welcome two Omani students within their team. “99% of the time, we are speaking Finnish at our office,” said Arto, who added that he and his colleagues have been impressed by the students’ language, communication and programming skills. “We are also planning to send the students to Finland in order to experience first-hand our work-environment,” said Arto. The students Maha and Maram are also planning to continue their studies with a MSc programme, at GUtech or abroad. Within GUtech the students are supervised by Ali Humairi from the CS Department.

GUtech Commemorates 7th Anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Visit

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) commemorated on Tuesday 24th December the 7th anniversary of the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to its campus.

The 24th of December marks the private visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to GUtech campus in Halban. The commemoration of the private visit of His Majesty is annually observed by GUtech community. Students and staff remember the day to reflect on the importance of the visit in GUtech’s history and on the vision of His Majesty the Sultan for Oman’s academic and research development.

In the late afternoon of December 24th, 2012, the founders of GUtech and members of the rectorate welcomed his majesty to GUtech campus and its facilities, few weeks only after its opening.

In visiting GUtech campus and meeting the founders and the rectorate, His Majesty confers upon it an unusual distinction. “We welcome His Majesty’s private visit to GUtech campus as a gracious expression of his trust in our university and a vital catalyser enticing us to work harder and faster for further progress” proudly declares Dr Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finance.

The significant and ever-lasting contributions His Majesty has made to Oman and to the lives of its people are universally known; not less impressive than the wise introduction of far-reaching reforms which has promoted the development of the education system, and the prosperity of the country in general.

As more as 3000 male and female students enrolled in the university in the last 12 years. More than 400 male and female students graduated from it while there are more than 2200 male and female students are currently pursuing their studies.

(c) GUtech/Text: Fatima El Madkouri

GUtech Students Visited RWTH Aachen University and Other Research Institutes in Germany

To learn more about Computer Sciences in Europe, a group of 14 students conducted a two-week excursion to different universities and research institutions in Germany. “This annual excursion is very important for our students as it helps them to get familiar with the German educational system and to strengthen our links with RWTH Aachen University. Students have the chance to visit state-of-the-art laboratories and may decide later on to conduct their master thesis in one of these labs,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Science at GUtech. The excursion was sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The students and their two professors visited GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen University where they had an introduction to the 5G Application Lab and the Virtual Reality Lab. The group also visited the Fab Lab at Siegen University, as well as different Computer Science laboratories at the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, the Fraunhofer Institute in Bonn and the University of Hasselt in Belgium. “For the students, it is important to learn about the ongoing research projects as well as study-programmes at different high-ranking universities and institutes in Germany. Some students may conduct their final BSc projects at one of the universities visited or pursue their Master studies in Germany. The students acquired more knowledge about studying in Germany and the different Master programmes on offer,” said Dr. Sharifa Al Khanjari, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science at GUtech.

Caption: GUtech students and their lecturers at RWTH Aachen University.

(c) GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Sharifa Al Khanjari

GUtech participates in the Oman Science Festival held in Muscat

GUtech’s Engineering and Computer Science Student Clubs are participating in the Oman Science Festival held at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Muscat this week. The exhibition is organised by the Ministry of Education and it is open to the general public until the end of the week. The Science Festival offers a platform for school students to participate in scientific experiments and hands-on workshops. Around 40 students from GUtech’s Hardware Club and the Applied Geosciences Club are conducting experiments and practical programming activities during the Science Festival. “At our stand, the Hardware Club showcases an automatic light system, building a robot from Lego EV3 and presenting the World of Electronics, some simple electrical experiments for school children,” said Ali Al Humairi, Lecturer in Computer Science and Engineering Faculty and Supervisor of the Hardware Club at GUtech.

As part of the Festival, stalls display various inventions and innovations. At the Shell booth, the GUtech Eco-marathon hydrogen car is on display. The GUtech team ‘Megalodon’ participated in the annual Shell-Eco-marathon Asia competition ‘Make the Future’ held at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia in May this year. In the past four years GUtech teams participated in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia, a competition held for student teams in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions.

“Our team Megalodon made its debut as the first student team from the Arabian Peninsula participating in the Shell-Eco-Marathon Asia Prototype Category with a Hydrogen Fuel Cell three-wheel vehicle,” said Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis from the Mechanical Engineering Department at GUtech and Supervisor of the Megalodon team. Over 100 teams from Asia and the Middle East demonstrated their self-built, energy-efficient, eco-friendly cars during the competition. The challenge is to use the least amount of energy for a long distance.

(c) Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet