ABU DHABI: The Higher Colleges of Technology has become the first higher education institution in the UAE to offer its faculty the “Digital Teaching and Learning Series” (eTeacher) program, certified by Blackboard Inc.

The eTeacher program is a certified professional development initiative that will deliver world-class training and certification for HCT faculty and associated support staff in the use of digital learning technologies, promoting a high standard of excellence, quality, and consistency in the student experience.

This certificate aims to prepare academic staff with the right skills and competencies to effectively utilize technology in their teaching and learning activities, in line with the HCT 4.0 strategic plan. The eTeacher Certificate initiative came to fruition after an agreement, relating to support of digital transformation in the HCT, was signed between the HCT and Blackboard Inc.

Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, President and CEO of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said HCT has established several partnerships to achieve digital transformation in its campuses, in close alignment with the HCT 4.0 strategic plan, under which the HCT will equip its graduates with professional skills. As a result, they will be empowered to create their own employment opportunities and to establish their own businesses, especially IT related projects.

The HCT seeks to recruit faculty members who possess academic experience, as well as extensive work experience, in order to enhance applied education and ensure continuous professional development, he added.

The adoption of digital teaching and learning certification was announced Dr. Al Shamsi at the HCT annual forum, held in August 2018, to mark the start of the 2018-19 academic year. He noted that the certification program’s first cohort has already enrolled since mid-October, whereby candidates are required to fulfill specific criteria to be eligible for this program.

The preparation of teachers to achieve effective adoption of learning technologies is part of a comprehensive HCT plan for preparing its students for the future who are knowledgeable about technological updates, Dr. Al Shamsi said.

Dr. Jihad Mohaidat, HCT Vice President for Educational Technology, stated that the eTeacher certificate will enable faculty to incorporate technology in teaching and ultimately develop the digital learning experience to boost student success.

He added that the eTeacher program consists of three approved levels. Participants can enter the program at three different levels and can secure recognition for their existing skills through successful completion of the relevant certification exams. Faculty who successfully complete all three courses are awarded the designation of certified expert.

Dr. Mohaidat said that 15 teachers are currently participating in the first cohort, having fulfilled the admission criteria, which require candidates to have at least four years’ teaching experience, and to have completed at least one year tenure at HCT. These are in addition to effective engagement in HCT professional development programs and activities, especially those related to incorporating technology in teaching.

Each of the three levels of the eTeacher program offers 40 hours of instruction and 110 hours of independent learning. During the first phase, each participant will complete the three courses, which will qualify them to train their peers at HCT.


About the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)

Founded in 1988, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) is the UAE’s largest applied higher educational institution, gaining a well-respected reputation for innovative education practices and job-focused experiential learning. Approximately 23,000 students attend 16 modern, technology-oriented men's and women's campuses throughout the UAE. HCT offers over 70 academic programs in Applied Media, Business, Computer Information Science, Education, Engineering Technology & Science and Health Sciences.

These programs are all designed in consultation with business and industry leaders, and incorporate principles of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to ensure HCT students’ skills are up-to-date and to the highest standards. The HCT courses are a hybrid blend of innovative, technology-driven academic studies and work-relevant programs, ensuring that HCT graduates have the necessary 21st century skills to make positive and lasting contributions to society in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The HCT 4.0 strategic plan, which is strongly aligned to the goals of the National Employment Strategy 2031, was launched in March 2019 with the theme of Employability and Beyond, and consists of three pillars - “Technical Leaders”, “No Emirati Left Behind” and “Graduate Companies”. HCT 4.0 will equip UAE’s National workforce with future skills required in the labor market, so as to meet national goals. It will also empower graduates and employees to be familiar with technological updates and enhance their skills, so as to keep pace with accelerating job changes dictated by the 4th Industrial Revolution and the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence skills.

HCT is a vital contributor to the national agendas, including providing education opportunities to every male and female Emirati and also being announced as a free zone, under the UAE’s Fifty Year Charter”, which stipulates that UAE public and private universities will be announced as free zones that allow students to carry out business and creative activities. In addition, the HCT is prominent in its role as a federal institution by promoting applied research opportunities to faculty and students. The HCT has also embraced a global perspective on applied education by establishing the Global Applied Education Network (GAEN), which sees it partner with global educational institutions.

Media Contacts:

HCT – Paul Lancaster plancaster@hct.ac.ae  or +97156 5011167

HCT – Abrar Mikkawi amikkawi@hct.ac.ae  or +971565011147

© Press Release 2019

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