I recently had the opportunity to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and it proved to be an experience unlike any other. We visited two city centers - Dubai and Abu Dhabi, met with eXplorance clients from the region, and hosted 24 institutions at our Bluenotes EMEA User Conference at Zayed University.
While there were clear cultural differences across the regions, the warmth that educators in the Middle East exuded seemed to be omnipresent. They hold deep beliefs that will surely impact the next generation of students and drive growth in their countries and communities. This is especially evident in the UAE as their economy and educational systems are booming with opportunity.
Many discussions were centered on the student experience and ensuring that technology focuses on their continued success. The EMEA User Conference was attended by delegates from institutions across the world (Canada, China, France, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and USA) who all shared their experiences with Blue® and its analytical power. Reporting was a hot topic as all institutions wanted to deeper analyze responses based on SIS demographic data like GPA , year of study, etc. or enable features like early grade access.
In one of the discussion panels at our user conference I posed the following question: “Creating positive change is arduous and at times thankless work. What keeps you motivated to continue driving strategies for continuous improvement?”
The responses from Simon Fraser University, Zayed University, and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology were all similar. They agreed that sometimes the promoter of change must be the most diligent to ensure that procedural changes fuel continuous improvement loops. They also highlighted that the motivation was seeing the positive impact to students and fellow instructors and seeing the momentum of feedback wins grow.
eXplorance’s mission is to help institutions increase engagement and make the shift to an improvement based feedback culture. We aim to make gathering assessments easy and interpreting the data straight forward yet expansive and customizable. Student feedback must not exclusively be an operative measure for promotion or accreditation. Assessments should also be used for initiatives that will improve the teaching and learning experience.
The largest point of reflection from this trip is that there is a global desire to achieve and improve education. Specifically, that academics everywhere want to engage and interact with their students and offer interpretable data to help drive informed decisions.
A huge thank you to our hosts and clients in the Middle East who shared their insights, time, energy, and passions at the Bluenotes EMEA User Conference. eXplorance looks forward to growing our relationship in the future.
We will certainly be back.
VP Business Development, eXplorance