Driving Discussions on Education Across the Middle East


Before the start of Ramadan, we went through some very busy weeks in the Middle East, taking to the road and partnering with universities and organisations across the region to highlight the latest technology and trends in education technology. Armed with our passion, we participated at four key events delivering presentations, participating in panel discussions, and even received awards for our commitment and contributions to the region.

First in line was the IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON) 2019, organised and hosted by the American University in Dubai. I was proud to be invited to participate in one of their panels and discuss the value of the SaaS delivery model in higher education and Blackboard’s latest advances in this area. I also tackled questions on the history of the LMS, its future, and the spectrum of possibilities it presents. The discussion impressed upon the audience the key benefits of moving to SaaS, such as anywhere-anytime support, continuous updates, quicker delivery of features and much more.

Then there was the Second International Conference on Foundation Programs presented by the English Language Centre at the University of Bahrain and focussed on ‘Shaping the Future of ELT’ through innovation and technology. I delivered a keynote presentation at the conference on ‘eLearning 4.0, Strategic Planning: Staying on The Fast Track’, and was pleased to receive positive feedback from many of the attendees. 

It was a dynamic, interactive session on the evolution of learning from standardised content and testing to the contemporary model of competency-based, personalised learning. I also had the chance to outline the benefits of the Ultra experience — a transformation in Learn’s user interface and workflows to render it more intuitive and more responsive. 

We then participated at the 4th World Conference on Blended Learning hosted by Zayed University. Joel Armando, Program Manager of Blackboard’s Professional Development Program in Digital Teaching and Learning ‘eTeacher’, ran a workshop on the fundamentals of designing e-learning courses during the conference.  Joel and Emad Alomari, our Customer Success Advocate, received awards for Blackboard’s support to Zayed University.

The last event in the line-up was the South Asia Higher Education Symposium, where I delivered a presentation on the ‘Student of Tomorrow: Supporting Learners in a Rapidly Changing World’ to an audience of 49 vice chancellors, senior higher education administrators and ministry officials from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. My talk centred on topics such as the different trends in eLearning, various teaching and learning styles, and the importance of mobile learning. 

As a leading EdTech company, we want to be the best partner for our clients, not just by delivering the best products and services, but also by actively participating in discussions, contributing with ideas and suggesting innovative ways to tackle the most pressing needs in education.