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

Oman Educational Services Signs Exclusivity Agreement with Eduten to Bring Finland No 1 AI-Supported Mathematics Digital Learning Platform to Oman

HALBAN & TURKY 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 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.

Virtual Internships at RWTH Aachen University for GUtech Students

Virtual Internships at RWTH Aachen University for GUtech Students

Virtual internships are the norm this year as the global pandemic has affected countless plans including internships. Amid these unprecedented times, RWTH Aachen University and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) are forging new paths in cooperation to help students get real-life practice. Virtual internships under the supervision of experts from RWTH Aachen University allow students to continue learning and gain valuable experiences. “We are happy to find solutions in these difficult times” said Prof. Dr. Ute Habel, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at RWTH Aachen University. “This is a way to raise awareness about each other and to find new ways to collaborate digitally in these extraordinary times.”

While students are staying home over the summer break and employers in Oman have limited options of hosting student interns, they can use this time to continue learning. GUtech Bachelor students in Applied Geosciences, Computer Science International Business and Service Management, Logistics, and Mechanical Engineering are hosted as interns in various faculties at RWTH Aachen University. During their internships, students are working to find solutions for concrete scientific problems in their fields of study.

In addition to the valuable technical and scientific experience, students also gain intercultural skills. They are matched with “Online-Buddies” from RWTH Aachen University to support them during the experience and facilitate personal exchange on the student level.

 

 

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

Info session on DAAD Scholarships – Masters in Germany

The DAAD is offering a special scholarship for the MSc Sustainable Management – Water and Energy at RWTH Aachen University to current graduates and alumni from GUtech’s Environmental Engineering programme. If you would like to learn more, please join us the upcoming Info session on DAAD Scholarships for GUtech Graduates and Alumni – Masters in Germany on Monday, 4 May 1pm https://zoom.us/j/96242676788 We will be joined by Thomas Dondorf from RWTH Aachen University, who is coordinating the MSc Sustainable Management – Water and Energy scholarship programme, so get your questions ready.

Engineering students showcased their projects during the International Gas Conference

 

 

HALBAN Students from the Department of Engineering and the Department of Computer Sciences have participated with ten poster presentations in the International Gas Union Research Conference 2020 (IGRC2020) that was held at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre a few weeks ago. The three-day conference was one of the leading international gas events, held under the auspices of Dr. Mohamed Al Rumhi, Minister of Oil and Gas in Oman.

“It was a great chance for our students to showcase their group project ideas and then to connect with experts from all over the world. We were very pleased to participate with a number of students in this important international gas exhibition and conference. The students had the opportunity to discuss their projects with international leaders in the field of gas research. We would like to thank the organizers for all their support,” said Prof. Dr. Hind Bhargash, Professor in the Department of Environmental Engineering.

GUtech Engineering and Computer Sciences students were among a few, selected students presenting their projects. GUtech student projects presented during the IGRC2020 were a gas pipeline leak detector using sensors, a smart city planning project that included solar energy operated by Arduino software, as well a simple firefighting truck using Arduino and other sensors. A group of three Environmental Engineering students presented a poster on a greenhouse operated by a hydroponic system using Arduino software. Another group of Engineering students presented a poster on a so-called pen plotter, a special type of graphics printer that draws graphical images or text instead of a toner that can be used on any solid surfaces or paper.

The ICRC2020 conference discussed global energy challenges across the gas value-chain including sessions on de-carbonizing the industry as well as production optimization through the use of new technologies aiming towards a cleaner planet. Moreover, emerging technologies in gas utilization were discussed such as a hydrogen production and storage as well as CO2 utilization and storage.

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

Online teaching and learning at GUtech – professors and students share their views

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has recently introduced online teaching and learning for all their BSc, BEng and MSc programmes recently. The measures support the government’s efforts to prevent a further spreading of the coronavirus pandemic, while at the same time ensuring that GUtech students do not miss out their daily classes.

GUtech’s academic staff has adjusted quickly to the new online environment. “At GUtech, we have been doing our utmost to continue our classes online and to provide students with the same learning outcome as before,” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech while adding: “It requires an adjustment for students and professors to get used to this new format and to deal with the unexpected, such as issues with internet connectivity. We are in constant contact with the Student Advisory Council, who have done an exemplary job in working with the administration to find solutions to the challenges that some students face.” GUtech’s academic departments have adjusted in different ways while introducing Microsoft Teams for one-on-one consultations with their lecturers, e.g. during thesis preparations and the Moodle platform to collect teaching and learning material. The Applied Geoscience department has to deliver many practical activities. “One of our classrooms was transformed into a small film studio and a professor is instructing students how to solve problems and is filmed by another staff member. So, even practical exercises requiring equipment can be taught online, for example digital microscopy. To some extend the current crisis is a chance to improve our presentation skills and test new forms of knowledge transfer,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of Applied Geosciences Department at GUtech. Safa Al-Breiki is a 2nd year student in Applied Geosciences. She has been attending most of the online courses from home. She said that “the online teaching is good so far, but depends on the lecturers and how they are trying to facilitate the learning for us students. For me, some subjects are better studied online. If we have the recorded PowerPoint and we want to return back to what the lecturer said, we can just open the PowerPoint and listen again.”

“Online teaching is a great opportunity for instructors and students. We are getting more familiar with different technologies and different ways of delivering our knowledge. When I use pre-recorded lessons, I can modify my lectures and evaluate them. Overall, I have experienced high student engagement. Compared to my regular classes, they are asking more questions now. Students also share their concerns about assessments and grades,” said Dr Yathrib Ajaj, Senior Lecturer, Department of Mathematics and Sciences. For students in Process Engineering online courses have been a positive experience, though for some it can be difficult to find a quiet learning environment at their homes. “The first lecture was a bit hard for us to understand but after the second lecture things went better. Most of us deal with online classes the same way we deal with our normal classes – we prepare, we participate, and we study after each lecture. Dealing with practical parts, we have started solving tutorials online with the help of our lecturer and by using some apps that use online white board with a pen, so that it is very interactive for us.” said Rayyan Alajmi, 3rd year student in Process Engineering.

Despite the excellent learning outcome, some students are also facing challenges with unstable and limited internet connections. Safa and some of her study-colleagues have been struggling with weak internet connections. “The internet in my home and neighborhood is poor,” she said, adding that live classes are difficult to follow. “My friends are saying that they get disconnected during live online classes, and when they’re disconnected they miss some points.” Despite these challenges, Rab Nawas, Physics Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Sciences said that such live broadcast to larger groups and a reliable WIFI connectivity are challenges to overcome. “The attendance and participation in my courses are excellent. Pre-recorded lessons seem an excellent tool blended with online discussion and chat sessions. We have been working with blended learning and e-learning for several years. I think it is a must,” he said.

“It has been a challenging experience for all of us, but I think we have managed to find excellent ways to continue educating our students. Currently, we are conducting a lot of classes through online sessions,” said Prof. Dr. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Logistics and Tourism Department. He said that the number of participants in each class plays a decisive role regarding the didactics and the overall learning outcome. “We have decided to pre-record the lectures at least 24 hours before the classes and we are available online during the classes in order to respond to any questions. I think adapting to these new changes through online teaching is not an option, it is necessary during these times,” said Prof. Osman.

Caption: Recording of an online teaching course at the Department of Applied Geosciences

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

German-Omani Workshop on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy held

HALBAN To introduce students from all GUtech departments to the sustainable use of natural resources and energy, a one-day workshop in cooperation with Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus – Senftenberg (Germany) was conducted at the university last Thursday. It was the second workshop on environmental sustainability held at GUtech’s Department of Engineering. The workshop combined lectures, case-study presentations and group work. It was directly related to the academic curricula and all study-programmes at GUtech.

“The workshop provided students with in-depth knowledge on environmental planning, law, sustainability standards, certification and ecology in the context of sustainable development, coping with the effects of climate change through adaptation and mitigation. Such adaptation measures were discussed on a local, regional and global scale and from different stakeholder perspectives,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Department of Engineering. The workshop on Sustainable Use of Resources and Energy provided the students with a new vision of the environment we are living in, addressing the complexity and interrelation of population growth, environmental degradation and scarcity of our natural resources on Earth.

A first joint Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” was conducted in cooperation with professors from the Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus – Senftenberg last September. The Summer School focused on sustainable development and climate change including climate change response strategies, emerging issues on environmental law and environmental assessment with a focus on sustainable land and water management.

Caption: Students during the workshop

© GUtech: Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet/ Photo: Umaima Al Zadjali

 

Providing students with life-changing experiences

GUtech and Outward Bound Oman conducted a joint Life Skills Course

HALBAN To enhance the student’s individual life skills, the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and Outward Bound Oman (OBO) have conducted a theoretical and practical course for GUtech students during the winter semester. The main aim of the course was to develop to students’ personal and professional life skills, e.g. leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills through practical and theoretical and parts. The practical parts were held during an excursion to Wadi Al Abyad while the theory was taught at GUtech. In 2018, a Collaborative Agreement (CA) was signed between GUtech and OBO. “It was an amazing experience for our students to spend four days outside, sleeping in tents, going on demanding hikes and cooking for the entire group. It was a physical and mental challenge for them. But with the help of the highly qualified OBO Instructors, every single student succeeded. The combination of being pushed to the limits, participating in fun games, discussing the challenges of today’s youth, and being free from distractions has provided our students with a life-changing experience. OBO plays a key role in providing young people with the skills needed to take the lead for their own lives, their career and their future,” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech. The Engineering and Computer Sciences Departments offer a special course to all GUtech students preparing them for their employment.

Mark Evans, Executive Director of Outward Bound Oman said that ‘working with the students from GUtech is always an enriching experience for the team at Outward Bound Oman. As we strive to support His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq’s government in preparing the national talent for Vision 2040, working with young people with such rich potential is inspiring. One of the key outcomes from the recent World Economic Forum was that agility of thought is one of the key skills for the future, something that our courses demand of all participants; GUtech students possess that agility in abundance.’

“We believe that such course is very important in order to achieve their goals and to be successful in the future,” said Ali Al Humairi, senior lecturer and course coordinator of the Life Skills course. In the first part of the course, GUtech staff delivered the theory, whilst the OBO team organized the relevant field-based elements outside the university, during the excursion. Throughout the seminar, key-life skills such as responsibility, engagement in learning and work, creative thinking and problem solving, innovative thinking, leadership, time management, study attitude towards mistakes, planning, communication and teamwork skills were discussed. “The course helps students to enhance their future employment, as well as to equip them with vital project management skills,” said Ali Al-Humairi. “The experience with OBO was one of a kind. It is really good for our students to have time to develop and experience something outside there comfort zone. I loved the open discussion with the students which will defiantly impact on future plans and the way they will handle things personally and professionally. In my opinion, the activities expanded the mindset of all participants through the ways they connected the different activities with our everyday lives. It was really amazing,” said Umai al Balushi, supervisor of the group and employee at the IT Department at GUtech.

 

 

Siemens Mechatronic training laboratory opens

HALBAN The first Siemens Mechatronics Laboratory in Oman was inaugurated at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) on Wednesday 29 January. GUtech has dedicated a lab facility within its campus, equipped by Siemens. The laboratory will serve as a training center for students and professionals to complete two levels in the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program (SMSCP).

“Siemens is dedicated to promoting human capital development and local capacity building to help in fulfilling Oman’s economic development plans and implementing Industry 4.0 solutions,” said Claudia Vergueiro Massei, CEO of Siemens in Oman while adding: “We are pleased to collaborate with GUtech to bring Mechatronic training to Omani youth, offering students the opportunity to pursue this globally recognized certification that will ultimately help them contribute to Oman’s development goals.”

Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical, electrical and computer software technologies as well as control and systems theory into a single system used in production and manufacturing. In practical terms, Mechatronics raises the bar for Industry 4.0 by offering a holistic, hands-on approach to automation that can improve efficiency, productivity and quality and ultimately decrease time to market. Industries that benefit greatly from a Mechatronics system include aerospace, materials processing, machine building, automotive, transportation, building technologies and mining.

To train students interested in advancing their skills in automation and manufacturing, two academic professors from GUtech have received the Instructor SMSCP Certification Course (Level 1 and 2) at the Siemens Sitrain Training Center in Nürnberg, Germany, in 2018. GUtech and Siemens began in 2017 their collaboration on the academic program that will provide advanced learning and certification opportunities for engineering students and professionals in the Sultanate. The Mechatronics Certification courses, designed to be integrated into the university’s existing curriculum, will be offered to GUtech students in two levels. Each level of the certification is based on a job profile, which is developed by Siemens in collaboration with other industry and public sector partners.

“We are celebrating a moment of academia-industry collaboration that aims to train school leavers, students, graduates and to upskill the industrial workforce in a state of art equipped lab. The awarded certificate, which is according to an industry-driven job profile, is recognized worldwide. As part of our commitment in supporting the community, we have decided to give a scholarship discount of 30-50% to the students. We want to contribute in capacity-building, preparing the local community for the transition towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department at GUtech.

The laboratory at GUtech includes all the equipment needed to complete the first two levels of Siemens’ internationally recognized certification program. Students who complete the first level will be gain the Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Assistant, with skills that would help them carry out their work at plant assembly sites, workshops or in connections with service operations which utilize complex mechatronic systems. Level 2 holders will be Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Associate, and they can manage, investigate, repair and troubleshoot mechatronic systems, with the aim of operational efficiency and cost and process control. They would usually carry out their work at production facilities, workshops, or in service sites that use complex mechatronic systems.

Siemens is the only global industrial company to offer this program in cooperation with partner colleges and universities throughout the Middle East, Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. Under the agreement, GUtech will be the first university in Oman to offer the training and join an international network of advanced technology partners in education and industry working with Siemens to deliver these certifications.