My Job at HCT
Organization: The Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai Men’s College
Web Site: www.hct.ac.ae; dbm.hct.ac.ae
The Title: Manager of the Department of Information and Educational Technology.
Duration: From June 2000 till September 2003.
Reason of Termination: Offer from Keyano College.
Number of Employees: I had 13 employees on my team: 4 network engineers, 4 user Support Specialists, 2 software development and 3 educational technologists. In additional to coordinators from different departments and adjunct staff members.
Approved Budget: In the academic year 2003-2004, I was managing a budget of AED 22M, equivalent to CA$ 9M, for purchasing, upgrading and implementing new ICT and Audio visual infrastructure for the learning purposes of a new campus.
Goals of the Job: The goals of the department were to cultivate a technology-enhanced learning environment to prepare lifelong learners who can succeed in the knowledge society. Full job description could be supplied upon request.
Structure of the Department: To meet the objectives set for the department, I restructured it into 4 interwoven units:
The ICT Unit: The ICT team was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the ICT infrastructure. We designed, operated and implemented a state of the art infrastructure that is a world’s lead in educational technology. Since its inception, the following were the achievements of the unit:
- Worked with leading international technology providers like IBM, HP, CISCO, Nortel, Citrix, Novell and Microsoft to design and deploy the latest information and communication technologies suitable to prepare our students to be successful citizens of the knowledge age.
- The network infrastructure we operated was composed of the following technologies: Nortel based network with flexible and robust security system that blocks intrusion at the level of the edge switches; a 4Terabytes storage system employing NAS/SAN technology to cater for students’ storage needs; video on demand system to support educational needs for the classroom audio-visual material; centrally managed audio-visual equipment used in classrooms like 135 multimedia projectors and audio systems; a sophisticated audio-visual editing system that allows linear and non-linear editing for educational purposes; three video-conferencing facilities for distributed instruction; 3 multi-purpose multi-media halls for conferences and group activities; Nortel based voice over IP Telephony system.
- Institutionalized a network management system based on IBM Tivoli.
User Support Unit (USU): The USU team was responsible for supporting the users of the college to ensure our IC technology is working to their advantage. The user support team received extensive training and professional development to focus on the learning process. They were actively involved in the teaching and the learning activities to keep their focus on the educational value of their job. The achievements of the unit are:
- Developed and implemented a computerized, knowledge and human-based user support system for all ITC and Audio-visual user needs.
- Created a learning-oriented support team that addresses user requests with focus on the mandate of educational requirements of teachers and students.
- Created the “shadowing program” where course assessment is linked to student activities in the unit. In this way, student learning contributed to the effectiveness of our operation.
- Created a preventive maintenance plan to minimize the downtime of the technology by proactively predicting and preventing failure.
- Worked with IBM on institutionalizing autonomic computing that creates self-healing, self-monitoring and self-managing computing environment.
Application Development Unit (ADU): The ADU team is responsible for the development and maintenance of software applications required in the learning process. The achievements of the units are:
- Led the development and implementation of educational systems like integrated educational portals, course management systems and student progress tracking systems.
- Developed and implemented performance and appraisal systems.
- Developed and implemented student academic tracking systems capitalizing on the existing legacy systems.
- Acted as “hired guns” used by teachers to create suitable eLearning material.
- Created and managed ePortoflio system to track student academic achievement during their studies in the college.
Educational Technology Unit (EdTec): The EdTech team was responsible for supporting the teachers’ needs to effectively utilize technology in their classrooms teaching and learning activities. The achievements of the unit are:
- Developed programs, policies and training schemes to help teachers exploit technology in the learning process.
- Facilitated eLearning projects and initiatives among staff to pilot new technologies in education.
- Worked with the academic teams to develop appropriate teaching and learning strategies suitable for the eLearning environment.
- Organized seminars and conferences in the field of eLearning like the UAE IT Challenge Conference, UAE Laptop Teachers Forum, IBM Fly-in Conference, e-Education without Boundaries, and many locally organized discussion groups and seminars.
Main Achievements in my HCT job:
- Restructured the department, in a non threatening approach, into 4 interwoven units where teams from different entities work inter-departmentally.
- I created a "Break the Boundaries" environment within my college where individuals and entities from outside my department worked with my team on common objectives without violating reporting structure.
- Created a "learning drive" within my team where learning became the focus of our operation. All technical support and implementation was geared towards our students' learning.
- Developed and institutionalized different professional development initiatives (like ICDL and CORE) to create an environment of self development through sharing personal experience.
- Created a "Buddy System" where every member of my team is leading one area of our function where other members report in that area (including myself.) In this way, every member was empowered in one area while serving in all other areas. This increased the efficiency of our operation.
- Working with 4 network engineers, 3 ITC specialists, 3 Audio Visual technicians and 3 Educational technologists, I was potentially able to create an entity with potentially 21 team players through implementing a “Break the Boundaries” operation. “Break the Boundaries” is an initiative where different departments in the college work together on common goals without disrupting reportage structure, thus increasing efficiencies and cross-functional collaboration.
- Working with my talented team, we designed and created the “learning infrastructure” of the future by designing an ICT setup suitable for the teaching and learning in the knowledge age.
- I created the Certificate of Recognizing Experience (CORE) program to help our professionals develop themselves by sharing their talents and experience.
- Working with other teams in the college, we led the college into becoming a lifelong learning organization through the Leap initiative which helped smooth the cultural change associated with this paradigm shift.
- Worked with international educational organizations on collaboration in the field of eLearning like M.I.T, University of North Carolina, Acadia University and other institutions.
- Collaborated with local organizations like the Ministry of Education, e-Government Initiative Teams, Economical Development Department and local universities on identifying educational needs of the nation.
- Designed, developed, implemented and led many training initiatives to help teachers shift to the new eLearning paradigms like introduction of ICDL, a collaborative eLearning Certificate, Instructional Skills Workshops, etc…
- Shared our success initiatives with other educational institutions affected by us like colleges, schools and universities within the U.A.E.