• About E-Journal

    UAE Journal of Educational Technology and eLearning is an annual publication for the educators of the Middle-East and Gulf region. The objective of the journal is to provide a platform for UAE educators to share their experiences, strategies and research findings in the areas of Educational Technology and eLearning. The sixth edition of the journal is scheduled for November 2015.

Recent Articles

For the Love of Rubrics

Using Blackboard Learn 9.1 to Guide and Grade in Higher Education

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Rubrics are invaluable tools which can ensure quality assessment and evaluation of student achievement. This article provides a brief overview of the use of rubrics in higher education; explores the use of rubrics as both instructional and assessment instruments; discusses benefits for instructors and students; and acknowledges some limitations of rubrics. Overall recommendations for using rubrics as and for learning are presented, along with tips for using the electronic rubrics tool in Blackboard Learn 9.1.

Using the iPad to Create a Paperless Cloud-based Learning Environment

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This paper explores a few implementation strategies for teachers at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the UAE who are planning for the use of Apple iPads in their classrooms in September 2012 in the Foundations Program. It focuses on how to use the iPad to facilitate an effective cloud-based document management system, thus providing high availability of learning resources during the academic life of the student. It also proposes how to integrate a few core apps to create an effective workflow and provide a paperless alternative to common paper-based tasks in the classroom.

Fabrication Labs as Serious Playgrounds for Meaningful Learning

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Playful approaches to work have been suggested for speeding innovation and productivity in organizations (Meisiek & Hatch, 2008). Integrating conceptual frameworks of science and technology through a Play with Purpose paradigm has shown success in primary to adult learning environments (Hargis, 2001). A concurrent development in education is to encourage students to apply stages of design thinking (Brown, 2008) and share evidence of their learning as creators, including as builders and media developers (Kennedy, Boyer, Cavanaugh & Dawson, 2010). Design thinking practices closely mirror the characteristics of a constructivist learning environment (Jonassen, 1999). These trends converge in the fabrication lab (Fab Lab) as a studio for serious and playful design and construction by learners in disciplines including engineering, business, education, and media. Fab Labs offer numerous benefits in higher education including as an interactive studio for practicing professional skills and creating new approaches to problems of the domain not possible elsewhere. This paper explores the foundation for this convergence and proposes an interdisciplinary Fab Lab that supports learning outcomes in a range of professional degree programs.

Virtual Worlds

Promise and Pitfalls

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Even as virtual worlds recover from their ride on the ‘hype cycle’, they have become more accessible to the average computer user than ever before. Developments in technologies that support these worlds have enhanced their value for supporting communication, collaboration and experiential learning. However, the educational promise of these worlds continues to be balanced by their limitations. Creating an identity and learning the physical and cultural rules of a virtual world requires an investment of time, money and a certain amount of trust that participation is worth the effort. Most critically, the more open the world, the more likely it is to expose participants to inappropriate content and interactions. On the other hand, virtual worlds are a precursor of the more immersive online environments forecast for the near future; engaging with them now will give educators a head start on supporting the next generation of learners.

Evernote Helps Students Study Smarter, Not Harder

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With Evernote, modern college students have the chance to take notes, do homework, complete classwork, and even save class handouts in their digital notebooks without having to use a pen, paper, heavy files or copybooks. Teachers will no longer hear excuses like “I forgot my homework at home”, “My computer crashed”, “I didn’t have Internet connection at home” or even the famous line, “I didn’t know”. With Evernote, no such excuses exist; students do not miss a beat with Evernote. Evernote is great for all subject areas; students can share their class notebook with their teacher, so that the teacher can access their work 24/7. At the same time, the teacher will never have to take notebooks away from students for grading purposes. Teachers can also share a digital notebook with students, including audio files, videos, snapshots of notes taken from the whiteboard, handouts, and even class announcements.

Assessment Tools for Group Projects in Higher Education

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This paper will focus on a specific online project management tool – Teambox – and its use as an assessment tool for student group/project work; it also deals with the subject of individual student contribution and accountability. It includes the types and importance of group work and the challenges it poses on assessment by teachers. This paper also focuses on the free online project management application used for team productivity; the feature’s built in it, and its application for student group work/projects. This tool can also work as a deterrent to the phenomenon of free riders that take advantage of others’ effort in the group project and also encourage team participation.

Blending Open and Closed Learning Management Systems in a Liberal Studies Programme

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Online learning at tertiary institutions has traditionally been delivered using learning management systems (LMS) such as WebCT, Blackboard and Moodle. However, despite these LMS having some advantages such as allowing faculty to manage students’ online learning and to quickly publish course content, there are also some disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that traditional LMS-based courses are closed in nature, being both time bound and walled off. One solution to this problem is to use web-based blogs to deliver online courses, but this solution also has some associated problems such as privacy issues, intellectual property concerns and assessment challenges. A way to address the above problems is to combine open, web-based components and closed, traditional LMS-based components in a blended LMS. One such blended LMS, used in the Liberal Studies programme at the Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates, is featured in this paper. The paper describes in detail how the blended LMS has been created by using a locally-hosted, WordPress multi-site blog to deliver the open, web-based component and a traditional LMS, Blackboard 9, to deliver the closed component. The benefits of this system are discussed, as well as the problems encountered during the design and implementation stages.

Theory, Practice, and Implementation of Blogs for Teaching and Learning Business in a Middle East EFL Environment

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The use of blogs—a computer-mediated communication—is explored for implications in teaching and learning business in an Arab World English as foreign language (EFL) environment. Review of current practice and research from a variety of contexts revealed a theoretical connection to systems theory, technology acceptance model, collaborative learning theory, and the ideas, connections and extensions classification model. Exploration through research produces an analysis of current teaching practice in an EFL and business teaching environment, including why blogs are useful in education and provides examples of how teachers have implemented blogs. A detailed method describing the technical implementation of a blog for a Year 3 Bachelor of e-Business class in the United Arab Emirates, is given as an example.

Keywords
Online learning, Blogs, United Arab Emirates higher education, Technology-enhanced learning, Formative assessment, Peer-to-peer learning

Voki for Collaborative Learning in Blackboard Vista

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The advent of Web 2.0 brings in endless possibilities to enhance collaborative learning in the classroom. In this paper a website that holds much promise for classroom application, voki.com, was analyzed and is recommended for teachers to use in a Learning Management System (LMS). In our opinion, adopting Voki in an LMS will enhance students’ learning experiences, as the teacher becomes an enabler and learning facilitator, thus enriching the learning experience for the student. A few examples are presented to show how we used Voki in our LMS, Blackboard Vista, at Dubai Women’s College, to enhance student learning of targeted content vocabulary.

Virtual International Experiences

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In an attempt to increase our students’ global awareness, Dubai Women’s College has implemented a program of Virtual International Experiences in a variety of forms. Since our first year students are not eligible for participation in real travel to another country, four models of Virtual International Experiences were developed, implemented and evaluated using: Second Life; Elluminate; e-classroom; and JAM’s and video conferences. These offered opportunities for the Arab women students to converse with, share ideas and critical reflections with students from other countries. Students discussed a range of global issues, in particular the Global Financial Crisis and its impact on Dubai. This study gives an overview, rationale for the models, and a review of evaluations from a student and teacher perspective.