Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University maps out future of education through innovative initiatives

image-1In the presence of H.E. General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police, General Security in Dubai, and Chairman of the University’s Board of Governors of the University, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) revealed a group of initiatives that will be presented during UAE Innovation Week 2016 running from November 20 to 26, per the instructions of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, HBMSU Chancellor, has announced that the ‘Gamification,’ ‘Personal Virtual Assistant,’ and ‘The Local Programmer’ will be introduced as important additions to the University’s efforts to rewrite the future of learning by using creative methods consistent with UAE Vision 2021’s goal of building a competitive economy led by Emirati citizens characterized by knowledge and innovation. The initiatives were presented during a meeting held in the HBMSU campus in the presence of senior officials and academic and administrative personnel who confirmed their commitment to supporting creative and innovative approaches for advancing excellence in learning and teaching, scientific research, and the transfer of knowledge.

 The “Gamification” is a highly important proactive initiative for turning learning into an enjoyable journey by making it more ‘interesting,’ challenging’ and ‘exclusive.’ HBMSU is the first university in the world to apply game theory to the learning process. The quality initiative will be implemented on-campus by the second semester of early 2017. It aims to develop normal evaluation methods according to a methodology based on points collection concept through simulation teaching by gaming concepts to motivate learners to earn points that can be added to their academic average as well as earn some material incentives for them.

The importance of this initiative lies in its being an innovative framework for making learning more interesting without compromising the objectives of the academic and educational process or reducing the level of assessment. The ‘Gamification’ aims to engage and motivate learners to add points to their Grade Point Average through various activities such as visiting the library and volunteer work, among others that will qualify them for privileges, badges, rewards and enter the list of the outstanding ones. The new initiative makes HBMSU one of the leading pioneers of higher education in the world, as it paves the way for harnessing gaming concepts to further advance learning with the three fundamental objectives of improving the academic performance of learners, enhancing the research environment, and encouraging social cooperation among them.

The Personal Virtual Assistant, on the other hand, is one of the most highly anticipated initiatives in the upcoming UAE Innovation Week 2016 as it fosters interactive and ‘smart’ technical dialogue by giving students the opportunity to connect with a virtual assistant round-the-clock to transform learning into a fun, flexible and effective process. Once logged into the ‘Smart Campus,’ the student will be welcomed by a Personal Virtual Assistant which is already familiar with the user’s academic profile which contains information ranging from educational programs taken, study plans and payables to the names and contact details of supervising faculty members in order to provide the necessary assistance backed by voice and written recognition technologies.

The PVA communicates with the learner, performs specific procedures and provides adequate answers to questions raised in accordance with a knowledge cumulative base supported by four smart tools, namely Chatbot, Artificial Intelligence, Voice Recognition, and Text-to-Voice.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMSU, presented HBMSU’s roadmap for the future which aims to maintain the university’s leading global position.

The third initiative, ‘The Local Programmer,’ is the result of cooperative work between the Emirates Association for Talent and Microsoft. It is a remarkably interesting methodology for developing a generation of citizens who are capable of programming and who master modern technology through the use of Microsoft software and the Cloud Campus platform of the Hamdan bin Mohammed Smart Social Learning Initiative. It aims to promote innovation, curiosity and cooperation among secondary school students with regards to the optimum use of evolving technology.

H.E. General Tamim explained that HBMSU is committed to working in support of the belief of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that it is either ‘innovation or extinction’ and that moving forward necessitates the establishment of innovation as an essential pillar for shaping the future of education and learning in line with 21st -Century needs.

“Our upcoming participation in Innovation Week 2016 comes in line with our commitment to national responsibilities supporting the UAE’s efforts to transform the path to development as one that is based on science, knowledge and innovation so as to achieve sustainable growth and prosperity in accordance with the guidance of our wise leadership. We are confident that the new smart initiatives are important additions to ongoing efforts to reshape teaching methods so that they focus more on creativity, innovation and smart technology. This will enable the preparation of a qualified generation that can carry on the march to excellence, leadership, and future progress,” said H.E. General Tamim.

From his side, Dr. Mansoor Al Awar said that the smart initiatives scheduled to be launched during this year’s UAE Innovation Week were inspired by the objectives of the ‘National Innovation Strategy’ and support the indicators of the National Agenda for UAE Vision 2021 involving the development of a high-level educational system that meets developmental requirements and helps achieve the country’s aspiration to become one of the most developed countries in the world by 2021.

“The innovative initiatives were not made in the spur of the moment but are rather the result of a full year of extensive research and study to come up with unique programs that advance HBMSU’s efforts to enrich knowledge, stimulate scientific research, and instill a culture of creativity, innovation and excellence within the educational and academic field in line with the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMSU,” Al Awar pointed out.

“Traditional education is no longer making that much of a significant impact in the development process. We therefore have the responsibility to develop a better educational system based on the latest technological innovations and in a form which produces pioneering graduates and talented generations embodying the wise leadership’s ambitions for the future. We have taken it upon ourselves to develop four innovative smart initiatives along with seven others that are still under study in an effort to rewrite the future of ‘smart’ university education in order to serve the objectives of both UAE Vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021,” Al Awar added.

“During our participation at Innovation Week 2016 we will also launch the business-oriented ‘Center for Future Studies’ under our Business and Quality Management College through a series of interactive workshops. The Center complements the ‘UAE Strategy for the Future’ initiative launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aimed at establishing the Arab World’s global leadership in science, culture and civilization. Through it we look forward to creating international educational and academic tools that achieve the wise leadership’s vision for exploring and forming the future, coming from Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University’s expertise as a model of global education and a pioneer cultural project, “Dr. Al Awar concluded”.