English Language Center News

As per the activities of the Preparatory Studies Centre (PSC), a two-rounded English contest was held on Wednesday, November 13, 2023. After a preliminary phase, three teams took part in a 50-question final round on stage; as a result, Abdulazeez ِ Al Shanfri, Al Waleed Al Omairi and Al Barraa Ba Alwi won the first prize. The trophies were awarded to the participating teams by the chief guests, Dr Muna Muqaibal, Head of the PSC), and Dr Ibrahim Al Munla, Associate Professor in the English Unit. The contest was created and administered by Dr Marwan Alyafaee with a panel consisting of Dr Alison MacKenzie, Ms Mujahitha Abdul Samad, Mr Shakir Al Hassan, Mr Arash Shirzad and Mr Mohammed Ba Qawi.

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The Mathematics and Computing Skills Unit from the Preparatory Studies Center at UTAS-Salalah organized and hosted its first event for AY 2023-2024 on 7 November 2023 in the Multipurpose Hall.

The title of event was How to be Productive," which coincides with the celebration of Oman's National Day. It aimed to raise awareness and to motivate students to be productive in society as they are dubbed the “inexhaustible wealth of nations and the hands that build."

It was basically an open forum where students had the chance to discuss, share, and exchange ideas, knowledge, opinions and thoughts. During the forum, the importance of productivity and efficiency of doing task were also stressed.

Dr. Shaima Al-Shanfari and Dr. Fatima Al-Shanfari conducted the event. Mr. Said Al-Kathiri, the Head of Math & Computing Skills Unit, expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the organizers and he hopes that his team will conduct more events in the upcoming months.

 

كيف تكون إنسانا منتجا

 

نظمت وحدة الرياضيات ومهارات الحاسب الآلي بمركز الدراسات التحضيرية بجامعة التقنية والعلوم التطبيقية بفرع صلاله أولى فعالياتها لهذا العام الأكاديمي ٢٠٢٣/٢٠٢٤، وذلك في يوم الثلاثاء الموافق للسابع من نوفمبر ٢٠٢٣ في قاعة متعددة الأغراض بمقر الجامعة.

تزامن عنوان الفعالية ((كيف تكون انسانا منتجا)) مع احتفالات البلاد باليوم الوطني الثالث والخمسون المجيد، والتي بدورها هدفت إلى رفع مستوى الوعي للطلبة وتحفيزهم على الإنتاجية حيث إنهم يعدون ثروة متجددة وركيزة تقوم عليها الأمم في بناء مجتمعها.

كانت الفعالية في الأساس عبارة عن منتدى مفتوح أتيح من خلاله فرصة للطلبة للمناقشة والمشاركة في تبادل الأفكار، والمعرفة، وتقديم الآراء.

أُشير خلال النقاشات في المنتدى إلى أهمية الإنتاجية وكفاءة أداء المهام.

قام بإدارة الفعالية كلا من الدكتورة شيماء الشنفري والدكتورة فاطمة الشنفري. وبدوره عبّر الفاضل سعيد الكثيري رئيس وحدة الرياضيات ومهارات الحاسب الآلي عن خالص امتنانه لمنظمي الفعالية، مع تطلعه لقيام فريقه بالمزيد من الفعاليات في الفترة القادمة.

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The Preparatory Studies Center (PSC) at UTAS-Salalah conducted an induction program for new students on Wednesday, 11th of October 2023, in the Self-Access Center. Level 1 students attended the first session from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, while new students from other Levels and Specializations joined the second session from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM.

Mrs. We'am Al Jilani, the Chairperson of Induction Committee, welcomed the new students and introduced Dr. Muna Hussain Muqaibal as the new Head of the Center. The HoC-PSC discussed the UTAS vision, mission, values, graduate attributes and dissemination of AVC's instructions. She likewise motivated students regarding their studies in the university and the future.

After that, Mrs. Al Jilani took over the session to explain some crucial points, such as the structure of the foundation program, class schedule, assessment plan, continuous assessment, grades, language admission criterion, learning resources at the PSC, importance of using students' email, university policies, postponement and exit exam. Then, Dr. Shaima Al Shanfari with two senior students (Nehal Adil Said Ahar & Rayyan Muktar Shahir Bait Saleem) covered general information about Math and IT, courses, assessments, entry and exit standards, and they allowed a space for discussion with the students. Finally, Ms. Amna Al Marhoon, the Head of Students Counselling, explained the general rules and some other important matters regarding students' behaviour on campus.

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“Leading in technological and applied education contributing to the development of a sustainable and knowledge-based society.” 

Guided by the UTAS vision, the English Language Center at UTAS-Salalah prides itself for having achieved numerous milestones this Academic Year 2022-2023.

The 2nd ELC Day on May 25, 2023 marked the celebration of the Center’s achievements in various aspects. The annual event was an homage to the ELC administration, staff, and students, whose hard work and dedication have helped exceed the UTAS vision. 

The celebration started with a pictorial of staff and students in the main ELC building. The cutting of the ribbon followed in the Multi-purpose by the Guest of Honour Dr. Alamir Nasser Al-Alawi, the Dean of UTAS-Salalah, CAS.

Highlighting the event was the presentation of the ELC achievements by Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, the Head of the ELC. These included initiatives on going green and sustainable, seminars and workshops in research and professional development, remedial and tutorial sessions, student competitions and activities, benchmarking with other higher education institutions, community outreach programs, educational field trips, ELC publications, TRC and internal funded research, GFP supervisory visit, and many more.

The Cultural Show wowed the audience as select ELC staff representing 16 countries ramped on stage with their traditional clothes. The ELC as the most diversified department at UTAS-Salalah wanted to build bridges to trust, respect, and understanding across cultures.

Another highlight of the program was the recognition of staff and students who contributed to the achievements of the ELC, more specifically in exceeding the university vision. The awarding of certificates was done by the Guest of Honour, assisted by the HoC-ELC.

To add color to the celebration, games and contests were played by staff and students.  One of which was the Ikebana, the Japanese art of floral arrangement, which uses carefully selected blossoms, greenery, and other flora to convey a specific feeling or emotion to an observer. Participants to this contest put their best feet forward in making flowers come alive.

The celebration ended with a potluck lunch, where the ELC staff brought and shared their own local dishes to their colleagues, students, and janitors. It was a way of thanking all the stakeholders for sharing their precious time with the ELC academic community. 

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A seminar titled “Action Research: Interrogation, Decentring, and Deconstruction” shed light on the effectiveness of action research in multiple environments.

Mr. Vusumuzi Moyo, an ELC Lecturer and the presenter, shared the appropriate methods on how to use action research in an academic setting. He explained the various types of action research, its difference from scientific research, and the possible applications of both types of research.

The Head of the English Language Center thanked the presenter and organizer of the research seminar. Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki reiterated the importance of conducting action research that will benefit the ELC at UTAS-Salalah.

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The importance of gamification in EFL classroom in the 21 st century was addressed in a seminar organized by the ELC Research & Consultancy committee.

Dr. Hridhya Menon, an ELC lecturer & the presenter, dwelt on the research aspects of interesting games that can be effectively used while teaching English to second language learners. She underscored that learning through gamification (games) could rejuvenate the skill sets, thus helping students develop their speech, communication, and presentation skills, which are vital for anyone.

The ELC Research & Consultancy Committee at UTAS Salalah hosted a webinar on identifying research gaps, which was attended by staff via Ms Teams.

Dr. Iyyappan Sundareswaran, an ELC Lecturer and the presenter, explained the benefits of recognizing those gaps and he proposed on developing a sustained study to overcome the challenges associated with research gaps. At the end of the session, he suggested a few online useful tools for researchers.

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Mr. Salim Al Mashani, the HoS- English Language Programs, presented a webinar titled “Research and ELT: Incorporating L1 Aspects into L2” via MS Teams.

He stressed on the importance of using the first language or the mother tongue in a second language classroom context and the benefits and drawbacks of first language usage in ESL classrooms.

As per his recommendations, the first language can be used in the Level 1 and Level 2 classrooms with the positive intention of clarifying the doubts of the learners.

“Competence in the first language vocabulary is also advisable if a non-native teacher is teaching in Level 1 of the English as second language programs,” he emphasized.

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To learn about Oman's rich history and cultural heritage, as well as the significance of sustainability in preserving archaeological sites, the ECO Club of the English Language Center at UTAS-Salalah organized an educational trip to Al Baleed Archaeological Park in Salalah for the top five students from Levels 1-4 during the first semester of the current academic year.

Upon arrival at the museum, students were given a guided tour by Mr. Mohammad Al Mahri, a museum expert. He provided detailed explanations about the exhibits, their historical significance, and how ancient artifacts are preserved and displayed for public viewing.

According to Mr. Al-Mahri, the museum houses a collection of artifacts from the pre- Islamic era to the present time, such as ancient pottery, coins, jewelry, and tools. There is a separate section for showcasing old manuscripts, as well as various places from all over Oman, that is of great value to tourism and history.

Additionally, the museum features a section dedicated to the history of the frankincense trade, which has been a key source of income for Oman since the ancient times and continues to be so till today. Moreover, there is a dedicated section showcasing the history of boat and ship design, that highlights Oman's trade relations with various countries.

The science exhibit on meteors was considered to be the most informative and educational by students, as were able to physically touch and feel the meteors. There was also a buggy tour to the archaeological site, which, students think, was cool and fun. They were thankful to the Eco club for providing them a unique experience, supplementing their classroom learning, and ensuring their safety.

The success of educational trip was attributed to the support of the ELC management headed by Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki and to the Al Baleed Archaeological Park administration.

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Dr. Nayef Jomaa, an ELC lecturer at UTAS Salalah, presented a seminar titled “Patterns of Corrective Feedback” at the Self Access Center on the 3 rd May, 2023.

A variety of feedback techniques was discussed by the presenter to the staff. Then, the discussion centered on how and when teachers should give feedback to students more effectively, by considering the latter’s self-confidence. According to the speaker, a longitudinal study enables teachers to measure students’ progress based on the feedback given. He also suggested some types of feedback techniques where teachers provide students with linguistic accuracy in less direct ways, which are especially effective for Arabic students.

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