GUtech welcomes new students via virtual orientation sessions

GUtech campus is typically abuzz this time of the year, but new students are experiencing the university life differently this time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department of Student Affairs has re-created the orientation experience virtually via MS TEAMS for the academic year 2020/202 to provide proper induction and ensure a smooth academic journey at the college. The virtual orientation programme had included virtual components showcasing the different services the University provides, allowing over 370 online participants to get acquainted with the services available on campus.

After welcoming the participants to the virtual orientation sessions, GUtech Acting Rector, Dr Hussain Al Salmi, provided a recap on the precautionary measures the University is observing for the health and safety of students and staff and highlighted the availability of all necessary information on the University website, social media platforms, besides the introductory email sent earlier to all students explaining the plans devised by the University to navigate the current situation.

Head of Student Affairs department, Nawal Jawad led the virtual orientation by providing an overview of the services offered by the different departments. “We want to make sure that every student knows we are here for them.” Jawad assured participants. Students got then the opportunity to an extended questions and answers session addressing all their concerns.

Addressing the concerns of new students over the teaching formats, Al Salmi explained: “in September we are required to conduct teaching online only. Starting from October, three teaching formats will be applied from face-to-face, and virtual teaching to online classes which don’t require real-time session meetings.” “Exams will be conducted both online and on campus.” He added.

The virtual orientation allowed participants who are enrolled to embark on the foundation programme to learn about its structure and its different levels and to pose a range of questions, from changing the programme of study, academic advising, student advisory council, and student clubs, to accommodation and eateries options on campus.

 

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.

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 team wins Intercollegiate Maths Contest

HALBAN The GUtech Maths Team has won the first prize in the Intercollegiate Maths Contest held at the National University in Muscat yesterday. “We are proud of the students’ achievement and would like to thank everybody who contributed. Special thanks to Mr RK, Dr. Yathrib Ajaj and Mr. Ahmed Al Salmi,” said Prof. Bernhard Heim Dean of the Faculty of Science, who coached the winning team. More than 20 teams applied for the competition and ten teams qualified for the final contest, including teams from Nizwa, Sohar and Muscat. The winning GUtech Maths team consists of students from different academic departments including GUbridge: Shadhan Alrashdi, Loay Al Lawati, Ahmed Abdulla, Fatma El Sheibany, Shifa Al Hussaini.

The main objectives of the competition was to create a unique, competitive platform that promotes interest in Mathematics among students and to seek out and identify highly qualified students in the field of Mathematics. It focused on general knowledge in numerical aptitude, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics. The competition was conducted by the College of Engineering of the National University. “We would like to thank the Head of the Mathematics and Science Department Prof. Syed Mohd Rizwan and the Dean of the College of Engineering, Prof. Ahmed Hassan Al Balushi for their hospitality and the excellent organization of the competition for the youth in Oman. We are looking forward to further joint maths activities at GUtech,” said Prof Bernhard Heim while adding that the Faculty of Science at GUtech conducted a Science Symposium with the Oman Mathematical Society last year which has triggered a lot of interest in the academic community.”

 

 

The Dean’s List Award Ceremony – 55 students awarded

HALBAN The Dean’s List Award Ceremony was held in the large GUtech amphitheatre to celebrate the achievements of 55 GUtech students and to commemorate the 6th anniversary of His Majesty’s visit to the university. “We only recently introduced the Dean’s List as a way to recognize outstanding academic achievements. The Dean’s List is a very enviable accomplishment that is only given to our top students” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs.

The criteria for the award were an outstanding academic achievement, the top 10% of the students, a minimum GPA of 3.5, registered for a minimum of 25 credit points, no incomplete or failing grades, no disciplinary written warning letters and an IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. Dr. Armin congratulated the students along with the Head of each academic Department. “You should be proud of the award. You worked hard, attended many lectures, and in addition spent many hours studying on your own or in groups. And it paid off. Your efforts were worth it. However, efforts alone are not sufficient to get on the Dean’s List. You also need to have the intellectual abilities that are needed for this distinction. You need to have the skills to work through complexities, solve problems, find solutions and communicate them well. Today you are being recognized for this combination of your efforts and your skills,” said Dr. Armin. Moreover, the Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs stressed that the university commemorates the 6th anniversary of the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said to GUtech. On the 24th of December His Majesty honoured the university with a special private visit. “We are proud of His Majesty’s recognition of our achievements. It shows how His Majesty values us as individuals, our university, our educational ethos, and the benefits that we as an institution bring to the country of Oman. Ultimately, it is through you, our students that GUtech contributes to Oman. You get a superb education here at GUtech. In a few years when you join the workforce, you will be the ones who add value to the Omani economy. And this is what makes me proud of being part of GUtech. It allows me to not only educate individuals for the sake of getting a degree, but I can help develop the future leaders of Oman. This is a real privilege,” said Dr. Armin Eberlein. Many GUtech students and friends attended the ceremony. Finally one GUtech student mentioned that this award ceremony serves as a motivational event for other students to study hard in order to be part of the list next year.

(c) GUtech: Text Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: Fatma Al Balushi

The following GUtech students were awarded for their outstanding achievements:

Majd Al Kayyal
Murooj Mohammed Al Busaidi
Mohammed Salim Al Haddabi
Jawaher Said Al Ghadani
Maram Mudather Mohamed
Maha Surur Al Busaidi
Halayel Ahmed Al Saadi
Aisha Salim Al Balushi
Arwa Saud Al Zadjali
Firdaus Nabil Al Barwani
Reem Said Al Mushikhi
Mohamed Saleh Al Alawi
Shadhan Hamood Al Rashdi
Sara Haroon Al Bartamani
Loay Imad Al Lawati
Husam Yaqoob Al Siyabi
Khamis Hassan
Fatma Fuad El Sheibany
Zoudat Mohamed Al Aufi
Ahmed Juma Abdulla
Khuzama Salim Al Shezawi
Badria Humuod Al Mauly
AL Ghaith Ali Al Ghaithi
Anwar Rashid AL Hajri
Fatema Nour Al Din Al Farsi
Belqees Ali Al Hinaai
Riyan Yahya Al Wahshi
Sara Tariq Al Bulushi
Maisa Mohammed Al Hinai
Lora Awadh Al Alawi
Maryam Abdul Razzaq Al Raisi
Haitham Anwar Al Rawas
Taif Mohamed Al Kindi
Eilaf Khalid Al Busaidi
Marah Khalfan Al Aufi
Abir Talib Al Kharusi
Ghazalah Nabi Baksh Al Balushi
Shurooq Mohammed Al Busaidi
Nama Yousuf Al Bulushi
Manaf Mohamed Al Raisi
Alaa Mohsin Al Ajmi
Fatema Jamal Al Busaidi
Sanad Sulaiman Al Rawahi
Mallak Yousuf Al Senani
Shaima Hilal Al Jahwari
Fatma Mohammed Al Farsi
Noorin Adil Al Busaidi
Fatma Ali Al Barwani
Ammar Abdulhameed Al Kiyumi
Sara Hamood Al Naamani
Melika Naderi
Juhaina Abdullah Al Salmi
Qatr Al Nada Abdul Rahman Al Hinai
Samahram Is’haq Al Hashli
Melina Naderi

 

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: Bernhard.heim@gutech.edu.om

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.

GUtech team prepares for the Shell Eco-marathon Asia

HALBAN A group of eight GUtech students from the departments of Engineering and Computer Science are currently building an eco-friendly car to participate in the annual Shell Eco-marathon Asia challenge, planned to be held in Singapore this March. For the third time GUtech will participate in this global competition. For the first time two female students participate, one of them is Arjawan Al Hajri, 3rd year Process Engineering student. She will drive the car: “I love driving cars. I think it will be a very good experience,” she said. The software programming of the car has been developed by another Omani female student, Al Shifa al Hadi. “The automatic control programming is an important feature of the car. The team studied the cars of their Asian competitors in the previous challenges and came up with innovative ideas, such as automatic control programming for the car. “The computer programme will increase the car’s performance. It will mainly focus on sensing and reporting car-related parameters to the driver,” said Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur, Head of the Department of Computer Science at GUtech.

Commenting on GUtech team’s preparations for Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2017, Muna Al Shukaili, General Manager of External Relations at Shell Development Oman stated: “We are very pleased to see that German University of Technology in Oman is set to compete in Shell Eco-marathon for the third time. I hope the competition will help develop students’ talents and make a contribution to sustainability in Oman. We are also very pleased to see that for the first time we have female students in the Omani teams participating in Shell Eco-marathon. I wish them all the best of luck as they arrive in Singapore in March for this challenge.” The chassis of the car is ready, it will take another month to build the body before the shipment. “The team worked hard in their free time and on the weekends. In June they started designing the car,” said Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis, Senior Lecturer of the Engineering Department at GUtech. He is supervising the entire team work. The team used lightweight materials such as aluminium alloys and carbon fibre composites. “The car is very light it should be very fuel efficient,” said Mohammed Salman, the team leader of the GUtech team. A number of companies are sponsoring the team: Oman Air, Oman Cables and Europoles Middle East.

Last year, after passing the technical checks and improving the different features the students drove a specific fuel consumption of 0.6 l per 100 km. Around 100 teams participated in the Shell Eco-marathon in previous years, but many failed the inspection tests and therefore were not accepted for the race.

The students hope that their ideas and inventions can contribute to building lighter and eco-friendlier cars in future. The students would like to motive other students to think in more sustainable ways. After the competition, they are planning to showcase the car to school students in Oman.

 

Ibn Al Haytham Teaching Award 2016 for Prof Bernhard Heim

On the 14th of December 2016 the Rector Prof. Dr-ing. Modigell awarded Prof. Dr. Heim with the 1st ibn Al Haytham teaching award of GUtech’s Faculty of Science.

The German University of Technology went through a series of major changes recently affecting its student numbers and lecture structures. Due to the increase in class size the classic interactive teaching method did not work satisfactory anymore. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Heim took that challenge and in an ideal way he restructured his courses to accommodate the requirements top level teaching faces. This new teaching style become known as Kaizen Teaching and is well documented in two publications.

In his lectures since then he did not only include pedagogic student centric elements (application of Kolb’s learning cycle, cybernetic testing and student activation) but made perfect use of modern electronic devices like the learning platforms video clips, electronic shot tests during lectures and tutorials, and clicker systems, like the Aachen App. These activities soon found their way to the local and international news and were explicitly mentioned in the RWTH Aachen press bulletins.

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Heim has to an excellent degree proven his capacity as an academic teacher and multiplier of student targeted best practice teaching techniques in ways every university can be proud of.