Reflections on the project presentations

by Bill Guariento

Some thoughts on yesterday’s presentations.

Firstly, and above all, I feel relieved and very happy indeed that they went so well.  All of the speakers showed real progress from the half-way stages two weeks ago, when so much still needed to be done, and all of the Glasgow students can be very proud of the way they overcame their fear of speaking….in a foreign language….through the ‘noise’ created by the internet link-up….in front of some distinguished audience members.  At the same time, I feel so grateful to the students from IUG.  The presentations re-inforced the feeling I already have that any future collaboration needs to be much better-balanced.  Leaving aside the patience of the IUG students, I was struck by the real quality of their interventions, in terms of their English, their tact, and their content-knowledge.  If we can think of a way to develop a truly two-way interaction for next summer, we could do great things together.

Getting started!

Getting started!

The internet link worked pretty well.  The first 30 minutes suffered from some noise, and we lost the link at the very end, but for over three hours we had some very effective communication.  I feel that, by the afternoon session, our students had basically forgotten that they were addressing an audience in a different country / time-zone.  With a little more trialling of the link-up, we can ensure this is the case from the very beginning of any future telecollaborations between IUG and UoG.  I know that Anna was quite frustrated by the connection issues in the first half-hour (she is used to being in a position to ‘fix’ any internet problems, but the link-up was, for once, beyond her influence).  But our students were never fazed by the situation and (as we heard Nazmi saying, in Arabic, when we lost the visuals at the end)…..’If you don’t have a problem, you can’t have a solution!’

EAST_Tweet 1

EAST_Tweet 2

EAST Tweet 3

It was great, and I can’t wait for the end-of-course party.

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10 thoughts on “Reflections on the project presentations

  1. Really it was a great session despite the internet problems.
    UoG students preview their presentation very well and we here in IUG were interested with their solutions for Gaza strip problems.
    Many thanks for all

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    • Thanks Maha for your comment – I’m glad too that we persevered and let the technology the second chance. In the second half of the day, the video link worked much better and this was reflected in the performance of the presenters and the audience; IUG students asked some really good questions!

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  2. A very interesting session. Congratulations to the students from the University of Glasgow for their well-researched presentations and to the students at the Islamic University of Gaza for their helpful comments and feedback.
    Well done everyone!

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  3. I really enjoyed being able to observe some of the presentations on Monday afternoon. There was a great sense of occasion and a feeling that something positive and important was taking place. Although I wasn’t involved in the teaching process, I got the impression that GU students had been on a journey both in terms of their projects but also in their communications with IUG students and their widening knowledge of life in Gaza. I hope that some of the GU and IUG students will find the time to keep in touch with each other. EAST is a great project and long may it continue.

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    • Thanks Justin for sharing your thoughts with us. You’re definitely right in saying that our students, well some of them at least, have been on a journey. It would be interesting to unpack the details of that journey. Hopefully the end-of-course survey will allow us to learn more and luckily a few of the students agreed to participate in follow-up interviews so we are sure to find out more detail. Many thanks for your support Justin in the last weeks!

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  4. Initially I was planning to listen to a couple of presentations (due to the unfamiliar technical jargon I was expecting) but I found myself really attracted and interested until I realised that the morning session was over. I think GU students transcended the language challenge and were completely immersed in their tasks. They were genuinely offering a variety of solutions (not thinking about the marks) for the problems of electricity shortage, water, air pollution and so on.
    The Palestinians from IUGaza were a little bit intimidated at the start but we had very good interactions and responses later by female students while the male students seemed too shy to express themselves in English (I am only speaking about the morning session). I was very impressed by the level of the students.
    Well done to the tutors.

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    • Thank you Abdel for your comment – it’s really interesting to read about your impression on the students being completely engrossed in the task. It was a big day for them, many hadn’t given a presentation to such a big audience before, we experienced hiccups with the technology, the presentations were assessed (and they were part of high-stakes assessment) – still that didn’t come across in their performance. I was impressed with our students a lot.
      You made an interesting comment re: the IUG students’ motivations to ask questions (I wonder what they would say about the reasons for some of them being more vocal than others) – it would have been great to see more involvement from their side and that was more visible in the afternoon session.

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  5. Such a great idea for a collaboration between Gaza and Glasgow, well done to all involved. I came along as an interested observer and could see the amount of thought and care that had gone into the whole process. From my point of view the technical problems felt insignificant in this context.
    Hats off to the students giving the presentations as it may have felt quite intimidating for them. I thought their use of English – especially the way they described how they were going to do their presentations – was good. I loved it when there was feedback and questions from the students in Gaza, and would have really liked to have seen more about the way the students from both universities had worked together on their projects.
    Maybe next time it’ll be possible for the students in Gaza to also work on some solutions for engineering problems in Glasgow; and then for Gaza and Glasgow to take it in turns to do presentations?
    It was excellent to see so many female students involved too.

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    • Thanks Liz for coming to see the presentations and then taking the time to write a comment here on the blog. I agree that it would be great to get the IUG students more involved and we are looking into ways of facilitating it in the future. In fact our students have come up with some brilliant ideas of how the collaboration could be more reciprocal and we’re hoping some of the suggestions will be put to use next summer.
      Abdel above has commented on the female students from IUG being more active and it is indeed excellent to see how they come to voice in contexts that perhaps are conventionally perceived as more male-oriented, ie engineering and computing fields.

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