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First Intercollegiate "Knowledge Bowl" held in Dhofar Oman this week

Pictured below is the victorious team in the intercollegiate competition, which is known as a Knowledge Bowl and was held in the Language Resource Center at Salalah College of Technology on Tuesday afternoon. The winning team was from Dhofar University and consisted of Sumaira Idrees Toor, Lobna Awadh Ali Al Awadi, Bayan Mohammed Khalil, & Ala Aref Ahmad Wazwaz.

winning team

"Knowledge Bowl" is a name for several types of interdisciplinary quiz bowl-like competitions held around the world. On 21 of March 2017, 6 teams from two local colleges here in Salalah, Oman faced off in the region's first intercollegiate level knowledge bowl or "General Knowledge Quiz Contest".


This event was held on the campus of Salalah College of Technology's ELC Building starting at noon that Tuesday. Noor Kashoob opened the event by welcoming all 6 teams on behalf of the Head of the ELC, Saeed Mashiki, who was called away to an important College Council meeting.


Each of the two college campus's sent 3 teams to this competition. Through the final round, scores of the teams remained competitively close and almost any of the total of six teams might have become champion for the Knowledge Bowl that day.


In all, Dhofar University was represented by 12 students from the College of Arts and Applied Sciences. These students were all English majors. Meanwhile, 10 students participated from Salalah College of Technology, and they represented both the college's Business Department and students taking intensive English courses at SCT.

Each of the six teams in the Knowledge Quiz Contest was represented by 3 or 4 student participants for each of the 6 teams. Each team was assigned colored name tags, so that the judges could readily recognize which team was being called on by the moderators and which team had answered the questions correctly.

In all, there were 4 rounds of competition. The following topics were involved: Oman history, world history, famous persons & famous places in the world, English grammar & vocabulary, nationalities & flags, geography, distances, sizes, and weights. The famous persons focused on for this event included inventors, mathematicians, and scientists.

Kevin Stoda, Wendella Francis, and Felicious Grace--all lecturers in the English department--organized the event as coordinators of the ELC's English Language Forum. (The English Language Forum is the committee that handles many extra-curricular activities and excursions for Salalah College of Technology students.)

The visiting sponsors or organizers from DU's College of Applied Arts and Sciences for this day's event were Vijay Singh Thakur, Ehsan Elahi, and Susan Crosbie. Prior to the event, teams at both colleges were given a list of websites on the 8 topics to be reviewed in advance for this impending Quiz Bowl.

The judges and scorekeepers for this event were Jon Chittick, Amy Cheadle and Marc Carmichael-Brown (all from the English Language Center). Marc noted of the day's events, "The interaction and engagement of the students made the quiz a very positive experience."

"The contest was planned thoughtfully, well-organized and interesting." Amy Cheadle summarized her opinion of the day's events, "The students were very enthusiastic and everyone had a good time."

Jon Chittick added, "As a whole, the competition seemed very energetic. There were many students with energy who were demonstrating a remarkable level of confidence."

The winning team received trophies for each member and a certificate for each of the 4 victors. All the SCT and DU students in the event received certificates-of-participation as well as mementos-of-the-day which were specially designed for this event.

It is hoped that many more events like this one can be held in the future at SCT. For example, the English Language Forum and ELC at SCT have already approached DU and Salalah's neighboring College of Applied Arts to participate in 'student debates' this coming May 2017.

Finally, competitions, like this knowledge-quiz-contest or "Knowledge Bowl", often "offer exciting opportunities for students to develop and exercise their scholastic abilities. Recognition, publicity, and appreciation for students and schools committed to educational excellence are also important benefits of these events."


The ELC In- house Induction Program for New Intake Students; Semester 2

The English Language Center conducted its In-house Induction Program in the SAC for its new intake students on 11th January, 2017. The program included a Power Point Presentation about the college rules and Bylaws, ELC Vision, Mission and Administration. Also, Levels, new assessment, and Curricula were clearly explained. The students were also informed about the ELC services such as the Self Access Center, Learning Support Center, Math Help Center, Writing Center, Speaking Club and the English Forum. According to the GFP aim which is to involve students in the learning process to promote high quality of student-centred education, a L2 student Talal Madian Al Yafai, was invited to take part in the student induction. It was an attempt to motivate the new intake students by showing a live example of a good student. The student helped L1 Co-Ordinator with the student competition which was to choose a number and answer the question. Students were given some tips about how to study and improve their English. At the end of the Induction Program, students were given a questionnaire to give their feedback on the program.

The Presenters were:

  1. Khayar AL Amri (Level One Coordinator)
  2. Talal Madian Abdullah Al Yafai ( Level 2 student)

More Teachers Comments from the SCT and DU Contests on 29th of November

Last week, I published a story on the first intercampus event or contests between Dhofar University (DU) and Salalah College of Technology (SCT) held at the end of November on the DU campus. That article was entitled: Fun Contests and Events at Dhofar University with SCT Students in November.

I completed that article by focusing on what one of our SCT instructors had hadto say on the event and the days activities at DU. Namely, Irina Kazumyan, who assisted with some of the events at DU, stated concerning what she had observed: “Well-organized with various activities. The jeopardy [team contest] was especially good. A really motivating event not only for students, but for teachers as well. Proves that teaching and learning can be fun. Probably for the future, more students should be there [at such a competition] not only for participation, but for support of their team. Also could be motivating.”

Since that time, I have received a variety of comments by other SCT and DU staff involved in that day’s competitions.

These staff members on both campuses evaluated the event and what they thought about having more activities in the future. For example, my DU English Club counterpart, Sucharita Gopalan stated of the competion, "It was very heartening to see the students show their skills in the English language. The event was designed to give the participants an opportunity to use the language outside the classroom setting. And more importantly, it was meant to be enjoyable, not competitive. We look forward to an improvised event in the future."

I agree. The main goals of the events on the 29th of November at DU included having fun and discovering how college campuses in Dhofar might work together more in the future.

Another DU Foundations Program organizer of that day’s events was Nathaniel Lotze, who commented, "It was a lot of fun. It was encouraging to see students who were willing to put themselves out there and use their English in a public setting. I thought it was really brave of them. And the point really was to just have fun, and I think that’s what was had. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better competition next time."

Sharooq Bait Reehan, an volunteer assistant judge from SCT at the Competitions, noted of the friendly competition between SCT and DU students: "It was a great opportunity for the students to challenge each other. The competition inspired them to do their best. This kind of competitions help them to learn to work with others and to develop the performance under pressure. "

Faical Ben Khalifa (HoD of Foundations Program at Dhofar University) also noted in his closing speech to the awards ceremony that soon he hoped that the very next time our foundation programs could meet that we all would like to include the math departments and math clubs in the next intercampus event. Moreover, he stated, both SCT and DU Foundations Programs would also like to have the Salalah College of Applied Sciences join us in similar competitions or multi-campus events in 2017 or 2018.

Finally, I have special congratulations for all of the Foundations students at SCT and DU: "You all did a great job in the Jeopardy competition, the writing competitions and the speaking competitions."

I should add:" I was especially proud of one SCT student's attitude and efforts. Talal Al-Yafai of Level 1 competed in four events at the competitions--often competing against mostly Level 2 and Level 3 students. Whenever there was a lapse in activities, Talal always gave his utmost and encouraged fun and involvement of all. He set a great example with his wonderful attitude. Talal really exemplified the spirit of fun and competitive spirit, which DU and SCT would like to encourage in all students at future events like this. Talal may not have gotten first place in any of the competitions but his enthusiastic effort was admirable and something we'd all like to see replicated by other students of ours."

The HoD of the Foundations Program at SCT, Saeed al-Masheikhi, has indicated that as early as next term he would like to see a similar set of competitions involving neighboring colleges take place in theELC building here at the Salalah College of Technology.


National Day Activities at LRC

On Monday, the 21st of November, I came across many hardworking students from SCT preparing for today’s events inside the ELC building.

SCT students from the English Department (under the aegis of our English Language Forum), the Business Club, the IT Club and the Engineering Club were allpreparing for today’s National Day event in the Learning Center downstairs in the ELC Building.

Each of the 4 SCT clubs or groups was preparing speeches, displays and contests, which compared and contrasted changes of the past 46 years in Oman, since Sutlan Qaboos took over from his father in 1970.

The following day , on the 22nd of November National Day Events were finally celebrated in the Learning Resource Center of the ELC Building.

Below are some photos from both the preparations and the events celebrating the 46th National Day here in Oman.


Fun Contests and Events at Dhofar University with SCT Students in November

On the 29th of November, there was held a day of contests between Salalah College of Technology and Dhofar University. Those participating were level 1, level 2, and level 3 students. The events started at around 10am on the DU campus in a large hall and finished in the same location just before 1:30.

After a welcoming by Faical Ben Khalifa (HoD of foundations at Dhofar University) and foundations’ Deputy director Megan M. Putney, Kevin Stoda of the English Language Forum encouraged the students from both the SCT and DU students played a popular game called Jeopardy. Sucharita Gopalan of the English Club at DU and the English Language Forum at SCT had been planning for this event since May of this year.

The first event was a team competition called jeopardy. DU had two teams as did SCT entered in this event. The two DU teams tied for the win with 190 points, but the SCT teams were close behind with 180 points and 150 points in the jeopardy-formatted competition involving topics like geography-, grammar- and general knowledge in a single competition.

In this photo, the second place SCT Jeopardy team is seated. Participants in the photo are Talal Al-Yafai, Ahmed al-Maashani, Adel al-Shahri, and Mohammed Ali Hubais. (Not pictured here are Mazen Hubais, Bayan Sulaiman and Sarah al-Najjar.)

Jeopardy teams were given a chance of picking from 5 main topics and and at the same time choosing the value or difficulty level of their question when doing so. For example, a team could choose a 50 point question–--or a 10-, 20-, 30- or 40 point question in any of the categories.

In the final jeopardy round, however, a team could choose to wager all their previously won points on a single answer if the team chose to do so.

Following the Jeopardy competition between the four student teams, DU invited all of the participants and the 7 staff members from SCT to imbibe in snacks and drinks while the next events were prepared.

A little after 11:30 two other competitions began. In one side room, SCT and DU students participated in a Writing Competition. Meanwhile, the Speaking Contest proceeded in the main hall. Among those SCT students who participated in the Writing competitions were: Bayan al-Sulaiman, Sarah al-Najjar, Talal al-Yafai, Ahmed al-Maashani, and Adel al-Shahri.

At level 2 speaking, SCT had two speakers participating: Talal Al-Yafai and Sadeqa Awaidh. Later, Talal also competed at Level 3 with a different speech.

At level 2, the following variety of topics were permitted in both the writing and in the speaking competitions: (1) technology–its positive and negative effects, (2) business–discuss a company and its history, (3) weather–favorite type and time, (4) sports–favorite and how to play, and (5) festivals or special occasions.

SCT students enjoyed the events, and it has been noted that next time an event like this is held, we’d all like to see even more SCT students participate.

In conclusion, this multiple-competition event of the 29th of November between DU and SCT was a success.

Faical , the head of the foundations program at DU, also notes that next time both the DU and the SCT foundation programs hope to include the math departments and math clubs in such an intercampus event. Both SCT and DU would also like to have the Salalah College of Applied Sciences join us in similar competitions or multi-campus events in 2017 and 2018.

During the awards ceremony, Faical announced what was already well-known: The days events, contests, and activities had been fun.

One SCT staffer, Irina Kazumyan, who assisted with the events at DU summarized the day’s events as follows: “Well-organized with various activities. The jeopardy was especially good. A really motivating event not only for students, but for teachers as well. Proves that teaching and learning can be fun. Probably for the future, more students should be there [at such a competition] not only for participation, but for support of their team. Also could be motivating.”


A story Project for Level One Students

Learning Support Center handled a story project on 27th of November at 10:00 am in Self Access Center and around 30 students attended the session. This workshop was conducted with the objective of improving listening and speaking skills for Level One students. At the end of the story session, five oral questions were given to measure the level of comprehension. The winners were given prizes. Finally a survey was distributed to test their level of satisfactions.



ELC launched a web service for Foundation students to help them in improving their writing skills. The web page can be accessed from SCT website www.sct.edu.om.

Training for ELC Level 3 and Level 4 Foundation lecturers was organized by Ms. Atsloom Al Maashani the writing center coordinator and presented by Mr. Junn Eric Timoteo system administrator held last October 13th - 17th, 2016 at ELC Lab 4 & 5 .The training was attended by 16 teachers in level three and 14 teachers in level 4.

Teachers can access the web page by signing in using their college user name and password.

Once teachers log in, they will see two different dashboards: One for the tutor and the other for the Writing Center coordinator/committee.

In Tutor’s dashboard, a teacher can see his schedule and can make a referral. In referral page, a teacher can find his/her group list. Once a teacher selects the name of referral student, the next page shows the details of the student selected.

Once the teacher confirms the details of the student by saving the selection, he/she should select the weaknesses of the referral student. Once the details are saved, automatically a confirmation message is sent to student as well as the teacher.

The second dashboard contains the names of referrals, making booking and the list of users and schedules. In this dashboard, a teacher will be able to book or cancel the names of referred students. Once a teacher refers a student, the name of the student appears in the dashboard and the teacher has to select the date, time and tutor for the referred student. Once a teacher successfully completes the procedure, a confirmation of booking SMS will be sent to the student and the group tutor.

The teacher can see the confirmed schedule on the dashboard.

The writing center coordinator can view the list and the schedule of referred students and mark the students present or absent for the referred session. The writing center tutors can click on the PRESENT button and after logging in he/she can add comment or feedback.

The Training was successful and soon will be implemented this semester.


Level Four Orientation

On 11th of October, 2016 from 2:00 to 4:00pm level four students were directed to SAC to attend awareness session about new curriculum and exams. The presenters were Musallam Kashoob the afternoon in charge and Michael Coleman, Level 4 Coordinator. The students were informed about the changes in level four exam patterns and they were given clear guidelines on how to prepare and get ready for the new exam pattern.


Counseling Sessions for Post Foundation Entry Test

From 10th - 12th of October, 2016 ELC Conducted Counseling Sessions for Post Foundation Entry Test. All foundation teachers were scheduled to be available in the SAC from 11:15 to 12:15 and 1:00 to 2:00 for three days. The sessions were aimed at assisting post foundation students in familiarizing the pattern of the exam and some guidance in Writing. There were some handouts made available for students (Students Guidelines, essays structure and two Samples of writing (Argumentative and discussion essay).

Numbers of students attended the sessions, there were 88 students, and above one hundred have enquires and picked up handouts only. At the end of the sessions the questionnaires were distributed to students as well teachers.

Previously,, ELC provided two booklets to college main library for students to borrow and practice old exams. SMS was sent to all college students containing a link to ELC webpage on the SCT website where we uploaded 2 full old exams, exam outlines and writing essay structure with writing sample answers and listening audios.


ELC conducts phase 1 of GFPA program

With much enthusiasm and high hope, the English Language Center (ELC) successfully conducted the first phase of a series of the General Foundation Program Audit Awareness (GFPA) program.

The first GFPA session was held on September 27, 2016 at the Self-Access Center, ELC, while the second and third sessions were conducted on October 2 & 5, respectively, at the same venue.

Approximately 28 staff attended on each day of the GFPA sessions. According to them, it was very informative and useful.

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