On March 29th, 2017, and under the patronage of the Prime Minister, Professor Rami Hamdallah, the E-Learning Centre at An-Najah National University launched the activities of the 2nd International Conference for Learning and Teaching in the Digital World at the Prince Turkey Ben Abdul Aziz Theatre in the New Campus.
The conference was over two days from March 29th-30th, 2017 and was sponsored by the Arab Islamic Bank, the main sponsor, PalTel Group Foundation, Rawabi, AMRA IT, the AIMDEAST, IRIS Solutions and ETS Global.
In the opening speech, Dr. Saida Affouneh, Chairperson of the Conference and Director of the E-Learning Centre at An-Najah talked about the recent technological developments employed in higher education and referred to the virtual and real worlds people live in nowadays.
She also stressed the importance of doing more research on smart learning and said that the conference, titled: “Think Smart before You Start”, focuses on the advantages of employing technology in the educational process.
In turn, Prof. Maher Natsheh, Acting President of An-Najah said that the university aspires to be a smart university by 2020.
He added: “The University hires e-learning to create an interactive academic environment as it developed almost 300 e-courses for its students”. He also announced launching the second Massive Open Online Course (MOOC course), Society and Genetics, and referred to the fist MOOC course, Discover Palestine.
Prof. Allam Mousa, the Minister of Communication and Information Technology commended the efforts made to hold this conference and mentioned that the Ministry aspires to improve the cooperation with the local sectors including institutions of higher education. He added that the Ministry also has signed a number of local and international agreements with regard to smart learning.
Mr. Ghassan Jaber, Deputy Director of the Arab Islamic Bank General Director mentioned that the bank aims at improving education and healthcare and works on demolishing poverty. He added that the bank has several cooperation agreements with An-Najah to support needy students.
In his speech, Mr. Bashar Al-Masri, Chairman of Massar International Company talked about Rawabi project which offers good job opportunities to the Palestinian youth pointing out that the city’s infrastructure depends on different electronic technologies. He also invited the educational sector to collaborate with the private sector to create more job opportunities and upgrade the Palestinian economy.
Dr. Sabri Saydam, Palestinian Minister of Education and Higher Education and representative of the Prime Minister talked about the Palestinian model in smart and e-learning and thanked An-Najah and the conference sponsors for their efforts.
The opening session also included a presentation by the key note speaker Prof. John Knight titled: “SMART Learning: its origins, evolution and future.
In the first day, the conference included two sessions and three workshops during which the speakers presented their research papers on various topics related to smart and e-learning.
In the second day, the conference included two sessions and two workshops on different topics.