The Staff Professional Development (SPD) committee of the English Language Center at UTAS-Salalah provided a number of opportunities for the academic staff to reach their full potential professionally and personally by having organized four webinars and one in-person workshop during the first semester of Academic Year 2021-2022.
The first SPD webinar focused on the challenges faced by the ELT teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was presented by Mrs. Manal Alabsy, an ELC lecturer, to around 40 participants on October 12, 2021.
The second webinar was delivered by Dr.Reynolds, a guest speaker from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, last November 8, 2021. The webinar shed light on the techniques in increasing students’ engagement with their learning, such as foregrounding “metalanguage” about learning in the class, asking students to complete “exit tickets” after each class, and incorporating tasks that require reflection.
The third SPD program was an in-person workshop on team building. It was conducted by Mr. Edward Stallard, an ELC lecturer, in the Self-Access Center on November 30, 2021. It was an interactive workshop about the essential skills in creating a team. Participants were asked to build towers, which were judged according to their height, aesthetics, and strength.
“Corpus Linguistics” was the fourth webinar. Dr. Niall Curry from Coventry University in the UK talked about what is corpus linguistics and how can it help with English language teaching and learning. About 50 participants joined the said webinar on December 1, 2021.
The last webinar was presented by Mr. Salim Al-Mashani, the HoS-English Language Program, on December 13, 2021. He talked about the essence of leadership, types of leadership, and attributes of leaders. He highlighted the important roles of leaders in the higher education sector.
The ELC administration, headed by Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, commended the SPD committee, which is chaired by Ms. Muna Kashoob, for its continuous efforts in organizing webinars, workshop, and other training programs for the ELC staff.
Preparations for the 4th annual ELT symposium are underway. The event will be participated by academics and researchers across the Sultanate of Oman on March 17, 2022.
Since the global outbreak of Covid-19, the English Language Center has been conducting its induction program online for new students of the General Foundation Program. Last October 5, 2021, however, the ELC managed to convene around 320 students in the Multi-purpose Hall to familiarize them with academic procedures, learning platforms and resources, policies, as well as the culture and norms at UTAS-Salalah.
Mr. Saeed Salim Al-Mashiki, the Head of ELC, delivered the welcome message. He gave a bird’s-eye view of the ELC structure and the comprehensive training program offered by the ELC prior to students’ admission to the Post-Foundation Program. He stressed the role of the Center in honing students’ language skills that are vital for specialized programs.
In addition, Ms. Samha Al Mashali, the Level 1 Coordinator, explained the GFP-English Course Assessment, Delivery Plan, class schedule, and learning resources. She also discussed the curriculum and rules in GFP Math and IT.
The third speaker Ms. Amal Alwadi, a member of the Induction Committee, presented the University Vision, Mission, Goals, and Graduate Attributes. Also, she demonstrated how to use the Moodle/ E-learning platform, the CIMS, and the University email to access information and announcements.
Finally, Mr. Khalid Al-Ghafri a member of the Grievance Committee, enlightened the students about University policies on student discipline, student appeal, student feedback, student grievances, and plagiarism.
The success of the induction program was attributed to the attendees’ adherence to safety measures against Coronavirus and to the University Administration for preparing the hall.
In adherence to the decision of the Supreme Committee to strictly observe physical distancing in the workplace, the English Language Center (ELC) held its first ever virtual award ceremony on the 29th of June 2021 via MS Teams.
During his message, Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, expressed his gratitude to the entire ELC staff for their contributions to the Center amid the global pandemic. The Head of the ELC mentioned that both the academic and support staff play a crucial role in the success delivery of remote learning because of their spirit of teamwork, patience, and cooperation.
The Patron of the ceremony was Dr. Mohammed Rashid Almamari, the Dean of UTAS-Salalah College of Technology. He commended the ELC administration for initiating such an event and the ELC staff for their hard work and dedication.
The awardees in different categories are as follows:
ELT National Virtual Symposium
Ms. Huda Al Huraibi – Organizer
Ms. Muna Kashoob – Organizer
Ms. Kamla Koofan – Organizer
Ms. Samha Al Mashali – Member
Ms. Nawal Al Jameel – Member
Ms. Amal Alawadi – Member
Mr. Shoaib Al Balushi – Member
Mr. Khalid Al Ghafri – Member
Mr. Randy Magdaluyo – Member
Dr. Rais Attamimi – Member
Mr. Edward Stallard – Member
Mr. Antony Jawahar – Member
Ms. Laveena Lazar – Member
Mr. Bernard Ugalde – IT Support
Ms. Melissa Juanillo – IT Support
Mr. Melanio Calangian – ETC Support
Mr. Abdelaziz Gali Hamid – ETC Support
Mr. Amir Hajjaj – ETC Support
Ms. Hakima Mohammed – ETC Support
Mr. Junn Eric Timoteo – ETC Support
ELC Webinar Speakers
Dr. Muna Muqaibal – Staff Professional Development
Dr. V.M. Sundar – Staff Professional Development
Dr. Aju Thomas – Research and Consultancy
Mr. Edward Stallard – Research and Consultancy
Dr. Manizhe Alami – Research and Consultancy
International Webinar Speakers
Dr. Lorna Beduya – Staff Professional Development
Ms. Gaby Lawson – Staff Professional Development
Dr. Claire Orpilla – Editor in Chief
Mr. John Richard O’Neil – Associate Editor
Mr. Jon Chittick – Copy Editor
Mr. Anurag Thota – Feature Editor
Mr. Melanio Calangian – Cover Editor
Ms. Huda Al Huraibi – Contributing Editor
Ms. Sharooq Reehan – Contributor
Dr. Muna Muqaibal – Contributor
Ms. Rachel Joseph – Contributor
Ms. Hridhya Menon – Contributor
Mr. Osman Mohammed – Contributor
Ms. Marion Wilton – Contributor
Dr. Wifred Blessing – Contributor (IT Department)
Dr. Mohammed Nazeer – Contributor (Business Studies Department)
Sharifa Al Kathiri – Contributor (Engineering Department)
Majed Al Ghassani – Contributor (English Language Center)
ELC Staff who are Leaving
Ms. Marily Gayeta
Ms. Radhika Kumar
Ms. John Richard O’Neil
Mr. Zaid Owda
ELC Management Support
Ms. Muna Al Maashani – Timetable Coordinator
Dr. Rana Aslam – Post-Foundation Coordinator
Ms. Rekha Siby – Level 4 Coordinator
Mr. Aminah Sutphen – Level 3 Coordinator
Mr. Musallam Al Mahri – Level 2 Coordinator
Ms. Samha Al Mashali – Level 1 Coordinator
Ms. Salina Mascrelhas – QA Expert
Mr. Shoaib Al Balushi – Registrar & Data Analyst
Ms. Yusra Said – Assistant Registrar
Mr. Farrukh Irshad – GFP Exam Coordinator
Dr. Iyyappan S. – PFP Exam Representative
Mr. Kamal Moaaz – Resource Requirement Coordinator
Dr. Claire Orpilla – Department Coordinator
Meanwhile, the master of ceremonies during the event was Mr. Salim Al-Maashani, the HoS-English Language Programs, while Ms. Khayar Alamri, the HoS-Curriculum and Teaching Methods, closed the event by expressing her profound gratitude and felicitations to all staff for a job well done despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Various features of MS Teams which help facilitate online classes more interactive and engaging were explored through a virtual workshop conducted by the ELC E-Learning Coordinator on May 19, 2021.
Mr. Antony Jawahar provided hands-on training on different features of MS Teams such as Announcements, Polls, Insights, Integrating Moodle, Class Materials, and Class Notebook. More than 70 participants from the ELC and other departments of UTAS-Salalah attended the virtual workshop, and all their queries were addressed.
Before the workshop started, Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, HoC-ELC, appreciated the staff for their efforts and encouraged them to effectively use the said online platform. Ms. Aminah Sutphen, Level 3 Coordinator and member of E-Learning Committee, moderated the workshop.
Around 45 ELC staff participated a webinar on “Ideas for Teaching Academic Reading Skills” last Tuesday, May 11, 2021, which was organized by the Staff Professional Development (SPD) committee.
The webinar was presented by Ms. Gabriella Lawson, a teacher, presenter and teacher developer at Monash College, Melbourne, Australia. She shed light on teaching various reading strategies and skills. She also shared useful websites, materials, and ideas on how to help students learn vocabulary and summary skills.
At the end of the webinar, the SPD committee chair Ms. Muna Kashoob thanked the speaker, the HoC-ELC, and the participants for making the webinar possible and successful.
Around 40 ELC staff joined a webinar on “Best Online Teaching Practices and Useful Applications” last Sunday, May 2, 2021, which was organized by the Staff Professional Development (SPD) committee.
The webinar was presented by Dr. Lorna Beduya, a former English Language Lecturer at UTAS-Salalah and now working at Hiroshima Bunkyo University, Japan. She gave a brief introduction about her teaching experiences in her current workplace. Then, she recommended useful applications and platforms which facilitate online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. She likewise shared some tips on how to use technology in online teaching.
At the end of the webinar, Ms. Muna Kashoob, SPD committee chair, stated that actively pursuing professional development among the ELC staff helps ensure that their knowledge and skills stay relevant and up-to-date. She thanked the administration of Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki for the support extended to the committee. She also disclosed that her team is planning to conduct another webinar on May 11, 2021.
A webinar on “Research from the Online Classroom and its Different Aspects” was conducted for the ELC staff on the 29th of April, 2021 by Mr. Edward Stallard, ELC Lecturer.
He explained the different ways to get the most out of Microsoft Teams and he also introduced certain applications that may make online class much interactive. Around 45 attendees contributed their ideas in making online teaching a fruitful task during the interactive session. All the queries related to the topic were addressed by the speaker.
Meanwhile, Mr. Saeed Al Mashiki, HoC-ELC, encouraged the staff to engage in research by focusing on the different aspects of online teaching. He thanked Dr. Aju Thomas and other members of Research and Consultancy Committee for organizing the said webinar.
The Research and Consultancy (R&C) committee of the English Language Center (ELC) spearheaded an informative webinar on Research Writing Proposals and The Research Council (TRC) Grant Schemes and Funding Criteria.
Dr. Aju Thomas, the R&C committee chairperson, organized and delivered a webinar, explaining in detail how to write research proposals and how to submit such proposals for TRC funding to around 40 participants last February 23, 2021.
The TRC under the umbrella of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, envisions Oman to become a regional hub for innovation, and a leader in producing new ideas, products and services. The new administration of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences (UTAS)–Salalah is raising the threshold and encourages staff in all departments to take these opportunities in research writing.
“We need to focus more on the research prospects in English Language Teaching (ELT),” Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, the Head of ELC, emphasized when he addressed the participants. He also urged them to work on different research areas related to ELT and motivated them to apply for TRC grants.
Dr. Mohammed Rashid Al Mamari, the new Dean of UTAS-Salalah joined the said webinar.
The English Language Center (ELC) honoured six lecturers and eight security guards in recognition of their valuable contributions to the Center in particular and to the University of Technology and Applied Sciences (UTAS) - Salalah in general.
Held on February 23, 2021 in the Self-Access Center, the awards ceremony aimed at boosting higher staff morale apart from work productivity and efficiency. Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, the Head of ELC, believed that it is vital to make the staff valued in the organization and offer them a sense of growth.
The first set of awardees were staff who served in the ELC Council as Head of the Section, Quality Assurance Coordinator, Level Coordinators, Afternoon Shift In-Charge, and Assistant Registrar:
V. Murali Krsihna
Another batch of awardees were UTAS-Salalah security guards who helped in the smooth and safe conduct of the General Foundation Program in-person final exams during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Amal Al Huli
Naseem Al Noode
Meanwhile, the event was graced by the Dean - Dr. Mohammed Al Mamari, the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs – Dr. Nasser Al Kolbani, and the Assistant Dean for Administrative and Financial Affairs – Mr. Ammar Al Shanfari.
Safety precautionary measures were strictly observed during the awards ceremony.
The Research & Consultancy Committee of the English Language Center organized a webinar on Research Skills Enhancement and its different aspects on the 26th of January, 2021.
Step-by-step procedures on how to write an academic paper were explained in detail by Dr. Manizheh Alami, ELC Lecturer. She also presented the relevance of classroom action research in the webinar. Around 40 participants attended the webinar, and all the queries related to the topic were addressed.
Mr. Saeed Al Mashiki, HOC, ELC stressed in his introductory remarks the need to focus more on the different research aspects related to English Language Teaching. He also encouraged all the participants to engage in research which may strengthen the research-teaching nexus.
Dr. Aju Thomas, R & C Committee Chairperson, thanked all the staff who participated actively in the webinar.
To keep teachers abreast with the changing trends and directions in the teaching and learning processes, the Staff Professional Development (SPD) committee of the English Language Center has organized a webinar series.
Ms. Muna Kashoob, Chair of the SPD committee, believes that actively pursuing professional development helps ensure that teachers’ knowledge and skills stay relevant and up-to-date. She is thankful to the administration of Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki for the support extended to the said committee.
The first webinar was presented by Dr. Muna Muqaibal on Tuesday, 19th January 2021. The webinar focused on how to use the Quizlet application in teaching vocabulary. After giving a brief introduction about the application, Dr. Muqaibal explained in detail all the steps necessary to use and create lessons via Quizlet.
On Wednesday, 20th January 2021, another webinar was conducted with Mr. Antony Jawahar as speaker. The ELC E-Learning Coordinator refreshed the participants E-Learning know-how, including how to use the MS Teams platform to conduct quizzes and to teach effectively amid the current worldwide pandemic
The next series of SPD webinars will be conducted in the first week of February 2021.
The ELC Health and Safety (H&S) and Risk Management (RM) Committees once again rose up to the challenge in helping prepare for the in-person GFP Final Exams for semester 1 conducted from December 20, 2020 to January 6, 2021.
The following steps were taken, adhering to the guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Health and the Supreme Committee, in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic:
The security near the entrance of the college, at the ELC building, and the outsourced labs was augmented.
Additional custodians were brought in to sanitize the exam halls between each exam session.
Staff from the Student Affairs controlled the flow of students from the student parking lot to the exam locations.
A temperature scanner was installed at the entrance of the ELC building.
Auto dispensing sanitizing machines were mounted at the entrance of the ELC building.
Spray hand sanitizers were provided in all the classrooms and labs.
Masks, gloves, and paper tissue boxes for staff and students were provided in all the classrooms and labs.
The chairs in the classrooms were arranged so as to maintain social distancing.
Each floor had an in-charge staff member to regulate the flow of students and to ensure that students did not congregate in the corridors.
Students who had any symptoms of cold, cough, shortness of breath were not allowed to take the exam.
Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, Head of the ELC, commended the said committees, the SCT Administration, the ELC Afternoon Shift In-Charge, the ELC staff, and the ELC custodial workers for their help during this period.
The English Language Center (ELC) has geared up for the safe and smooth administration of the General Foundation Program (GFP) in-person final examinations, which commenced on December 20, 2020.
The ELC Management through the leadership of Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki conducted a series of meetings to address the safety and exam procedures for administering the GFP exams in English, Math, and IT during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Temperature scanners with stands, sanitizers with sensors and sprays, masks, gloves, and tissue papers were requested to be used during the exam period. Additional security guards and technicians were asked, as well, to help facilitate the exams.
Classrooms and other resources were sanitized before and after conducting each exam as a precautionary measure against the Coronavirus. The ELC Management was commended by the staff and students for its great efforts to safeguard their well-being.
According to the Head of ELC, the successful conduct of the face-to-face exams was attributed to the collaborative efforts of the University and ELC Administration, the Educational Technology Center, ELC staff, and workers.
The E-Learning Committee of the English Language Centre conducted a webinar on October 20, 2020, to explore the various assessment tools of the E-Learning portal that can be leveraged to assess the performance of the students.
Mr. Antony Jawahar, ELC E-Learning Coordinator and webinar presenter, reiterated that assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning experience. He gave a live demo on how to use the assessment tools, such as Turnitin, assignment, and quiz. More than 60 participants attended the webinar, and all their queries were addressed.
Mr. Saeed Al-Mashiki, HoC, in his introductory remarks appreciated the staff for their efforts and encouraged them to effectively use the online platform. Meanwhile, Mr. Murali Krishna, HoS-Curriculum, stressed the importance of online assessments in the current scenario.
The webinar was moderated by Ms. Helen Jemima, Level 2 Coordinator and member of the E-Learning Committee. She thanked all the staff for actively participating in the session.