The LEQA (Learning From Entrepreneurs Through Questions And Answers) Forum is one of HCT’s many initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship for the future generation of the UAE. LEQA is a business network initiative and is launched and organized by HCT’s Faculty of Business, to link successful entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the UAE, from a range of backgrounds, with HCT students in interactive Q & A sessions, which see the sharing of many success stories. Read more at:
The Higher Colleges of Technology launched its pioneering Global Applied Education Network (GAEN) in October 2018, which saw HCT as the founding body sign an agreement with eight of the world’s leading applied higher education institutions from Australia, UK, Ireland, Canada, USA and Mexico.
As the ﬁrst global applied, professional and hybrid higher education network in the region, GAEN will align HCT’s strategic priorities with that of its international partners, to create a core of high-ranking, multi-disciplinary institutions that will share educational best and foster collaborative endeavors in applied research and related topics, on a global level.
GAEN was a key element of the HCT’s five-year, HCT 2.0 Strategic Plan (2017-2021), particularly the goals of academic excellence, innovative learning, student success and graduate employability. GAEN supports the UAE, Arabian Gulf and MENA region economies by applying proven and globally effective expertise to boost the employability of HCT graduates. In addition, GAEN will promote cultural exchanges, expand partnerships with national and international entities and support the UAE’s drive towards a knowledge-based economy.
By enabling its students to learn from the best practices, techniques and ideas that have been adopted by leading institutions and businesses across the world, GAEN is supporting HCT graduates as they begin their career paths. GAEN’s role is also to adopt a universal skill development framework that incorporates the best practices of its members.
To become a member of GAEN, an institution must provide peer-applied education with a core focus on science, technology and innovation. It must also have high graduate employability rates, of 80 per cent or more, with a strategic focus on industry partnerships. Candidate institutions are selected on the basis of featuring in the top 200-300 rankings of worldwide universities, or the top 10 national rankings, while also operating multiple campuses, either nationally or internationally.
The research and innovation capabilities of GAEN institutions will be strengthened and enhanced through increased cooperation with leading higher educational institutions worldwide, as well as forging businesses and industry partnerships in the field of applied research.
The HCT InnCuVation Spaces (in Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah campuses), inaugurated in March 2019, are high-tech innovation and entrepreneurial incubators supporting students and faculty in undertaking innovative and entrepreneurial ventures. The name “InnCuVation Space” itself expresses the breadth of activities that take place in such centers - Innovation, Incubation, and Venturing.
These three Spaces are high-tech innovation and entrepreneurial incubators, supporting students and faculty in undertaking innovative and entrepreneurial ventures. They are also in alignment with the HCT 4.0 strategy of “Graduating Companies”, which in turn is aligned to the 50 Year Charter, promulgated by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE, and Ruler of Dubai. The HCT strategy of Graduating Companies encourages students to pursue their innovative projects and concepts through a defined process to commercialization, thus encouraging students to become entrepreneurs.
The “Digital Campus” initiative (later called “Digi Campus”) was launched as part of the HCT 2.0/4.0 Strategy, beginning in 2018. The aim was to respond to developments of the 4th Industrial revolution, and develop and implement an innovative, transformative digital higher education model. The global disruption ignited by the COVID-19 pandemic galvanized the HCT to completely shift from in-person to online classes and service delivery for students to an online platform. In the period from March 1-20 2020, the whole institution (20,000 students, 2000 faculty, 1000 staff, 16 campuses) was mobilized to ensure seamless transition to the digital platforms.
This initiative, centered on digital campuses and “anywhere, anytime” learning, was fully implemented across all 16 HCT campuses, as a digital or distance learning model, after a successful 2-day pilot of the digital campus, in March 2020. A key focus of the initiative was ensuring all HCT students could seamlessly continue with their academic studies. Another focus was ensuring that HCT’s faculty members could undertake required Professional Development (PD) training, which was initiated as part of the Digi Campus system.
As a result, from March 2020, HCT’s smart learning platform was operational for the student body of 23,000 male and female students, offering a wide range of e-courses and services in an “Anywhere Anytime” learning environment.
The HCT’s Digi Campus platform provided the following online and interactive services:
• Smart Learning Planning Guide & Manual
• Student e-Competitions
• E-sports, Health, Nutrition & Fitness
• E-Life Skills & Counselling
• E- Volunteering
• E-Reading Spaces
• Online Happiness
• Students’ e-Clubs
• HCT Students Got Talent
• The Determined Ones Support
• Alumni Services
• Employability Hub:
o E-Work Placement workshops
o E-Interview skills
o E-CV writing
o E-Personal branding
o E-Job search techniques
o Kawader online job portal for HCT graduates
launched as part of the HCT 2.0/4.0 Strategy, beginning in 2018.
Proud of HCT Graduates is an initiative created for HCT’s social media platforms, which highlights various members of the HCT Alumni body, by way of a pictorial display of their current employment details. This enables Alumni members, HCT current students and the broader community to see the great employment achievements of HCT Alumni. It also enables Alumni members to reconnect with their former student colleagues, who have progressed into various industry sectors of the UAE’s diverse economy.
HCT’s” Live from Our Students” social media-based initiative aims to portray a real-life, daily image of HCT student life, through the perspective or “lens” of students. It highlights students’ skills and engagement inside and outside the HCT community, and also develops students’ skills as media reporters, participating in building a positive image of their lives at HCT and in their local communities. HCT students are encouraged to post their stories on HCT’s official Instagram platform.
Operating under the banner of “You have been entrusted to us”, SONEC is a confidential, student-help service, based on the popular WhatsApp platform, introduced during the fall semester of the 2019-2020 Academic Year.
SONEC enables HCT students to contact a dedicated service, staffed by trained counsellors, for any emergency or issues relating to their personal safety. The SONEC WhatsApp number is 0565014444.
The SANAD (Support and Advance Nationals to Achieve and Distinguish) initiative, which was launched in the academic year 2017-2018, was one of the key Emiratization initiatives targeting fresh HCT graduates to enable them to acquire vital workplace experience and to find job opportunities in the labor market, with particular priority for jobs in the Higher Colleges of Technology.
The Higher Colleges of Technology is 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. This promotes a high standard of excellence, quality and consistency in HCT’s students’ learning experiences.
The Academic Success Program also helps Foundations Program students move smoothly from secondary education to higher education, providing them an ideal educational environment that motivates them to succeed. In addition, the Academic Success Centers also attract outstanding current students, offering them training courses and workshops that enhance their abilities and future skills. In turn, the centers offer them opportunities to tutor and mentor their peers through Peer Tutoring.
SHOREK is an initiative empowering HCT students to share their experiences and ideas, ask questions, and engage with the HCT management team in a Town Hall style open and interactive forum setting.
Shorek comprises periodic meetings for students across the HCT campuses to discuss their needs and suggestions with HCT management members, which are aimed at motivating them and enriching their learning experience.
As an adjunct to SHOREK, HCT introduced a novel series of informal gatherings, known as “Coffee With …”. These are friendly, small-group meetings between the HCT leadership members and HCT staff, where staff provided their feedback on issues and identified their needs, while receiving updates on HCT policies and initiatives. An example of the meetings is “Coffee with Abdullatif” which is an open coffee with President and CEO of HCT.
The C3 Academy (C-Cubed) is a new learning initiative from HCT, which aims to establish a “Made in HCT” Learning Center, whereby it utilizes internal resources effectively through collaboration with HCT faculty and staff members registering to create and deliver in-house training for non-academic staff. This learning initiative supports and promotes:
• Competency Building
• Career Growth
• Culture of Continuous Learning
HCT faculty and staff, who have the relevant qualifications, can register to be able to teach a range of subjects and skill-sets to their HCT colleagues. This initiative is aligned to two major pillars of the UAE 2021 National Agenda - unlocking UAE National’s potential and developing their capabilities; and encouraging and recognizing volunteerism in UAE society. HCT faculty and staff who are registered as trainers can qualify for instructional allowance compensation, as well as receive credits for volunteering hours.
HCT Memories is an initiative created for HCT’s social media platforms. It builds on the legacy of HCT’s operation over more than 30 years and helps to instill a culture and ownership among the HCT community, including alumni members, by reflecting on memories, reflections, images and events of note, which resonate with the HCT members.
ATAA’ “Giving” is the new HCT Employee Volunteering System, which was launched in August 2020. As part of ATAA’, HCT employees can submit volunteering work hours completed within HCT in the wider community, via an automated portal service. ATAA’ provides HCT employees with the following volunteering-oriented opportunities:
• To give back and help others
• To get involved in HCT and your community
• To gain credits, awards and recognition
ATAA’ is aligned to, contributes to and supports, the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda to create a Cohesive Society & Preserve Identity.
This initiative promotes a culture of volunteering, and a sense of belonging, within the HCT community, empowering all employee to give back and be active in the wider UAE community.
Happiness and Positivity are important goals of the UAE’s National Agenda and are enshrined in the UAE’s Happiness Agenda. They are also embedded as a Strategic Goal for the Higher Colleges of Technology.
As part of that Strategic Goal, a Council for Happiness, which includes representatives from HCT’s campuses, departments and directorates, manages the happiness and positivity initiatives throughout the HCT system. This Council aims to implement a variety of initiatives to secure the happiness of HCT staff and students in their everyday life.
The Council are making decisions that contribute to creating a happy and positive work environment within the Higher Colleges of Technology. In order to boost daily happiness, the HCT launched several activities and initiatives, such as “One Hour of Exercise”, which allocates to employees three hours weekly for exercise; “flexible working hours” and “Basmat Saada” to organize daily events, activities and competitions for staff. Happiness events are also held every Thursday on most campuses.
In addition, the HCT was the first higher education institution in the UAE to provide the Fazaa card to all its students and staff. Plans are also underway to provide this card to HCT alumni. The Fazaa card is available digitally.
All 16 campuses have dedicated Happiness Centers, ensuring that all visitors to the campuses, as well as students and employees, are attended to in a welcoming, positive manner and that their inquiries or requests are met quickly, efficiently and effectively.
All of these ongoing initiatives make HCT a happy, positive and productive working and learning environment.
The Help Videos is an HCT initiative, which are a series of informative videos created by HCT students for HCT students, that answer the FAQs that students have relating to their time at the HCT campuses.
The FAQs relate to many aspects of student life, including programs and courses, access to services on campus, registrations, access to credentials and student information and graduation.
The objectives of this initiative is:
- Decrease the number of inquiries raised daily by students on HCT’s social media platforms, which could be answered quickly and easily with a series of informative responses
- Answer the students question clearly through short videos
- Videos are created by HCT students and targeting the HCT students, which gives the students a sense of engagement
- Increase the number of HCT’s YouTube subscribers
- Use a visual medium that is appealing to students and informative to convey messages
Using the theme, “Students Asked … We Answered”, a playlist of short and informative videos is regularly updated on HCT YouTube channel, under the name of HELP.
In its current teaching and learning practices HCT has fully embraced the well-documented premise that students can learn concepts and course material rapidly through the introduction of games, or gamification, as a learning tool.
Hence, HCT has introduced a number of online gamification tools to assist faculty in disseminating course material, students in absorbing and grasping often complex concepts. HCT leverages these interactive and intuitive tools that assist teachers in creating engaging and fun learning activities that can be easily imported HCT’s learning management system, being Blackboard Learn.
As a result, HCT is transforming students’ learning experiences, through a range of fun, different games and learning activities from teaching content. Teachers and students can quickly and easily create flash cards, self-assessments, and learning games, all from within HCT’s BBL learning management system.
In some examples, such as StudyMate Campus and Raptivity, gamified lessons are specifically used for recall learning and for quick formative quizzing to reinforce concepts being taught. In addition, the hugely popular and widely used Kahoot!, a web-based student response system, assists HCT faculty in bringing gamification to their in-class and post-class activities, often by way of quizzes. These interactive gamified teaching and learning methods offer user-friendly interfaces and are often accessible both online and through device applications.