UNO hosts technology workshop in Oman

Photo courtesy UNO Communications

Jose Rodriguez

UNO’s International Professional Development (IPD) program held a series of “teaching with technology” workshops at Dhofar University in Salalah, Oman during late September and October.

IPD is one of two intensive English programs, along with the ILUNO Intensive English program, from International Programs. The IPD is basically English for professionals and can take form in two ways: an intensive eight-week training program or customized programs.

The eight-week training program takes place at UNO and has professionals all over the world that come. According to Director of Intensive Language ILUNO and IPD Sarah Osborn, Ph.D., “(They) take classes in different kinds of English like presentations, writing, business and reading. They work on leadership, management and global communication skills.”

While the regular training program takes place at UNO, the customized programs can take place at the university or outside of it at places like Dhofar University.

“We work with different universities or businesses in other countries and provide training for their employees,” Osborn said. “So, this time it was teacher training for professors and teaching assistants in Oman, and we created a course for them and then do it in their country.”

IPD represented UNO and UNMC by sending Director of International Programs Bruce Grogan and ESL Specialist ILUNO Asta Reiff. While Grogan focused on meeting with university partners to talk about ways to collaborate, Reiff did a couple workshops called “teaching with technology.”

The workshops were tailored to faculty and peer tutors. Grogan and Reiff also had a reception with upcoming students of the ILUNO extensive English program, who are coming next January.

“The main goal of the workshops was basically to look at technology and how we can integrate technology in our teaching purposefully and to make teaching interactive,” Reiff said.

One of the main topics her workshops covered was incorporating online resources into teaching. Matching things like TED talks and online videos to the lessons’ purposes were some points of discussion.

“In the U.S., faculty stress a lot of interactive learning and teaching processes. In other countries, that’s not happening yet,” Reiff said. “There are a lot of lectures where students simply just sit in the lecture and listen for two hours to what the professor is saying.” Reiff was excited to be able to teach a subject so new and foreign, yet still connect with those in the audience.

Technology could increase interactivity, but the process of integrating technology into classrooms could take years, Reiff said. Her workshops show instructors how to incorporate technology into their lectures, step by step. They are working with them to figure out what they need and want to put together proposals for future collaborations.

“We hope this is a really nice first step of many steps,” she concluded.