Al-Quds Open University held the 2nd Annual Information and Communications Technology Day

Under the patronage of Wataniya Mobile, Al-Quds Open University held the 2nd annual Information and Communications Technology Day (ICT Day) in the Red Crescent’s hall, Al-Beireh.
The university announced launching a number of its technological projects like: live streaming of the university activities and lectures through internet, and new internationally accredited training and testing services offered by the Information and Communications Technology Center (ICTC), in addition to launching Academic Portal Phase II project and Administrative Portal Phase I project.

After welcoming the audience, Prof. Dr. Younis Amro, the President of QOU said that the idea of establishing the university was to spread knowledge and to activate its role in resisting occupation. He pointed out the importance of IT and communications in development, and called for organizational networking to maintain the basis of modernity, development and efficiency.
Prof. Amro also stressed the importance of the conference which was held in an attempt to keep up with the technological changes in the world, despite all the pain and suffering Palestinians are facing, and Israeli crimes committed against Gaza strip and the West Bank. He emphasized the importance of this sector and investment of new companies in the Palestinian market which is seeking development and advancement, pointing out that this will be for the benefit of citizens and the quality of services offered for them. He expressed his gratitude to Wataniya Mobile for their support for the event.

The Minister of Communications and IT, Kamal Hassouneh said: ” Communications and IT sector is dynamic, and that needs development for human skills and qualifying young cadre to keep up with the changes occurring in it. This needs lots of effort made to develop methods, tools and broadening the field of research in addition to encouraging creativeness and creativity. He called for more affective participation and cooperation between the academic sector and both the Ministry of Communication and Higher Education to set up a national strategy for scientific research as an essential step towards development.” Hassouneh pointed out the launching of Palestinian Initiative for Education in co-operation between the Ministry of Communications and IT and the Ministry of Higher Education. He also referred to the efforts made by the ministry to organize the communications sector and opening new market for free competition in a healthy and transparent competitive environment. He said that the ministry has the intention to make new important organizational regulations.

The minister also brought the attention of the audience to the Israeli violations of all agreements which has a negative impact on our Palestinian economy and resources in frequency related issues and importing tools and equipment needed, in addition to the illegal hacking for Israeli mobile operators.

The Minister of Transportations, Dr. Mashhour Abu Daka talked about the benefits of IT in facilitating offering the ministry’s services. He invited all universities to work with it to achieve scientific excellence. He also spoke about the ministry’s policies and achievements in this field and explained that each employee has a computer, and that the internal network of the ministry is connected with the traffic department that are also connected with the police departments. The program is being developed in cooperation with the Birzeit University.

Alan Richardson, the General Manager of Wataniya Mobile said: “Wataniya Mobile, the new GSM network operator in Palestine, is proud today to have the opportunity to cooperate with Al-Quds Open University on holding the second annual ICT Day”. He pointed out that communications and IT sector contributes to its improvement, liberalization and developing regulations which will secure a more dynamic market, and that the Palestinian will gain the benefits of competition through better services and lower prices.

Richardson had also clarified that the company’s investment which was made in the ICT sector shows its importance and potential for the Palestinian economy. He also mentioned that the bid placed by the mother company, Watanya International (whose majority owned by Qatari Telecommunication Company) of $355 million for second operator certificate reflects the confidence of international investors in the potential of ICT in Palestine.

“As we continue to build our company and our team, in preparation for our launch later in this year, we remain committed not only to playing our role in opening new era of competition in Palestine, but also to do all that we can to be a constructive member of the ICT sector so that the potential impact of its development can be fully realized” added Richardson.
Maxime Sansour, the Public Relations Director at Wataniya Mobile mentioned in an interview that the event supported by the company is considered a social responsibility for them, and is a part of achieving its aims. He added that choosing this university wasn’t haphazard and it was after a study made by the company about all the higher education institutions that are concerned with IT. Al-Quds Open University whose students are about 62,000, is considered one of the top local universities in the field.

Mr. Subhi al-Kayed, Assistant of the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Higher Education, stressed the importance of unifying all efforts to establish the IT society.
He praised the work done by the Ministry of Higher Education to improve the quality of education and to transform its methods from traditional to modern by integrating IT, computerizing administrative work and training 24,000 of its teachers on using computers in addition to working on computerizing 1,200 school libraries.

Eng. Imad Al-Hodali, the Assistant of the President for ICT and Multmedia Affairs and the ICTC Director thanked and praised Prof. Younis Amro for his constant support of the university and continuous efforts to improving it, especially the ICTC. He also expressed his admiration and appreciation to the work done by the team of ICTC and Multimedia Production Unit, and their loyalty to the university.

Eng Al-Hodali thanked Wataniya Mobile which sponsored the event, BCI for providing the Wireless connection between the ICTC and the Red Crescent’s building which enabled them to live streaming for the event on line.

First Session

Dr. Takis Polittis/ Thessaly University – Greece spoke about digital education community; how to design a course program in a teachers’ learning community context, the possibility of conceiving a concrete and appropriate course model and the ability to assess the effectiveness of such a course-model in a complex learning situation.

He emphasized that model was put into practice during a open learning educational program, concerning further education of in-service primary education teachers in south-eastern Greece. The program was named School Teachers Learning Community and it hosted many different web-based supported courses.

“Within this broad e-learning community students were educated, via the internet, on aspects mainly concerning uses of information and communication technologies (ICT) in their teaching practices. “Dr. Politis added. “Course assessment issues were dealt with and evaluation of positive results was accomplished through the measurement of the degree of satisfaction of certain criteria that were considered decisive.” He said.

Second Session

In the second session Mr. Mohammad Hamarsheh on Behalf of Eng. Imad Al-Hodali the ICTC Director spoke about the University’s accomplishments in the field of ICT and said “Information, communication and supporting educational multimedia. “We will demonstrate the university’s accomplishments in the field of information technology and communications in the last ten years including the establishment of the ICTC center as one of the most important centers in implementing the university’s philosophy and goals”
Eng. Al-Hodali also demonstrated the development of the university’s network and the other computerized programs and technical services. He covered the major improvements in the field of e-learning, in addition to its effects on the university students. The show also included a short film about the accomplishments of the Technical Production Center in developing educational computerized multimedia, which has an important role in improving the level of education and students. That was in addition to screening a documentary about ICT specialization in the university.

Technology and Applied Sciences Program had participated in the 2nd Annual ICT Day. Mr. Sami Zawahra, Acting Dean of Technology and Applied Sciences gave a brief introduction about the program and then a short film about the Information Technology Department in the university was screened. Later on, distinguished graduation projects were presented by ICT students. The first was under the title of “The Remote-control of House Electrical Equipment” by Samah Abdul-Jaleel from Tulkarem Education Region, and the second project was titled “Locating of Objects by using Infrared Waves” by Muna Fadil Al-Abed from Bait Sahour Study Center.

Mr. Mahmoud Al-Hawamdeh, Training Supervisor, demonstrated the training services and international exams that Al-Quds Open University offers. He mentioned that QOU is the first Palestinian university to have the accreditation from Oracle IT Academy, Microsoft IT Academy, and Sun Academic Initiative, and is an exclusive Certiport Training and Testing Center, authorized Prometric Testing Center, and authorized ETS TOEFL testing center.

Third Session

The third Session was under the title of “E-Learning at Al-Quds Open University”, Eng. Saada Shalabi, Head of Networking and Technical Support Department demonstrated the El-Learning Infrastructure at QOU (Performance, Obstacles and Future plan). E-learning at QOU – Field Study was presented by Suba Jarrar/ E-Learning Unit. She pointed out that the purpose of the study was to find scientific bases through local experience to establish e-learning system assuring that this study is a preliminary step researching. Jarrar clarified that the study aims to take a wide angle view about the usage of technology in the educational process at QOU. The study was the first of its kind and it will be used to identify what the scholars think of the e-learning experience.

Mr. Ola Rayyan presented the most recent developments made on the QOU Portal (Academic Portal Phase II , including the development of online registration, Alumni Portal and Staff Portal), in addition to the Curriculum Management System , Educational Region Administration and Academic Supervisors Services.

Mr. Yaseen Jaber, Programmer and E-Learning System Analyzer, talked about the computer network. He pointed out how effective it has become in education and in the exchange of knowledge. But the fields of usage have becoming more limited due to the restrictions on sharing and managing resources. This demonstration focuses on the effectiveness of integration between E-learning systems and Grid Technology which supports sharing and better and more organized use of the resources available in a diverse environment.