HCT Students Reap Benefits of Temperate Weather with New Outdoor Classes Initiative
Students at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) are benefitting from the cooler weather in more ways, after the institution launched its “Outdoor Classes” initiative, by providing 50 classes in the open, green spaces of HCT’s 16 campuses.
The novel initiative was borne from HCT students themselves, coming as a response to students’ proposals to benefit from the UAE’s improved weather conditions, during fall and winter, and to work beyond the physical classrooms.
As the first of its kind in UAE higher education institutions, the initiative will increase student happiness, engagement and satisfaction, resulting in the HCT adjusting and adapting class arrangements according to changes in weather conditions.
Students will have an opportunity to study in outdoor classes while on campus, where they can attend lectures, workshops or any applied activities. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the HCT campuses have ensured that students’ health and security, with the necessary precautionary measures. In addition, the campuses will continue to deliver a hybrid education model for the benefit of all students.
His Excellency Hussain Bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, praised HCT’s initiative on his official Twitter and Instagram accounts. His Excellency said the outdoor classes was a creative initiative to turn vast outdoor spaces into open-air classes, which allow students to release their tension in a non-routine learning environment, thus breaking conventional barriers. He noted that students’ enjoyment of a motivating and healthy learning environment will give them an optimistic outlook and open minds.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President & CEO, said the “Outdoor Classes” is a student initiative that promotes happiness and a high quality campus life at HCT, while facilitating the ability to implement inspiring ideas that can provide a better learning environment for students. “This initiative will also make learning fun and engaging in good weather conditions,” he said.
Dr. Al Shamsi noted that about 50 open air classes have already been conducted across HCT’s 16 campuses, allowing for a maximum capacity of 1,385 students, having regard to social distancing and other health and safety requirements.
All classes have WIFI connections and audio-visual technology is implemented to facilitate lectures, presentations, workshops and assessments. The proximity of these classes to the parking lots was ensured to provide easy access for students, while eliminating the need to enter campus buildings.
Dr. Al Shamsi said HCT has implemented this student initiative, while ensuring students’ health and safety, as studies have shown that the spread of the Coronavirus is mitigated in open, outdoor spaces. This is particularly the case where all precautionary health and safety measures are adhered to, such as social distancing.
In addition to the outdoor classes, Dr. Al Shamsi said some HCT departments have held outdoor meetings, in order to enhance a positive work environment and increase productivity.
Salem Al Suweidi, President of the HCT Student Council, said that he and the Student Council members were very pleased with the Outdoor Classes initiative, implemented with the support of the HCT management.
Student Aysha Al Naqbi, a third-year Mechanical Engineering student at Fujairah Women’s, said that breaking the daily routine with the outdoor classes makes students happy, especially in times of COVID-19. In addition, she said students will enjoy the hybrid learning more in a healthy and secure outdoor environment.