Students’ voices – Sirin’s reflection on the participation in the Constructive Feedback Course and the EAST Project

I am Sirin Elbohisi and I am an industrial engineer. I have worked as a manager in Ministry of Public Works and Housing since 2008. I have a master’s degree in project construction management. I finished a course in academic English organized by Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) and University of Glasgow (UoG). The course was called EAST2 program and it consisted of two major parts. The first part prepared us to give constructive feedback and the second part gave us a chance to monitor groups of students and support them in writing an academic essay. That course was different from any other course I had undertaken in the past since it was online. During the course we used several methods of contacting like Skype sessions, Facebook groups and messenger chat. I really had very good and interesting experience on that amazing course.

My skills of constructive feedback enhanced and now I trust more in my academic abilities. At the beginning of the course I felt afraid that I would not continue but after the first meeting I felt it is an interesting way to learn and to improve my professionalism and personality. After finishing the course, I noticed several benefits – for example my teamwork skills improved. Before the course I used to offer limited thanks for others’ effort and directly criticize the viewpoints or reports but now I am using more polite and appreciative words and my colleagues feel happy with that.

During the program I monitored groups of UoG students and helped them to write an academic essay and it was the first time for me to do that online. At the beginning we faced challenges in arranging our time to contact each other but we overcame this problem by using more than one method of communicating. When we were busy we used messenger chat only but when we had time to speak we agreed on a specific time to use Skype or Facebook group chat. Also I needed to make a big effort to interpret the problem statement for UoG students since they lived far away and they did not ever visit Gaza but by giving them sufficient resources we overcame this problem. This experience upgrades my abilities and now I can help effectively in monitoring students who work on academic essays in my field of specialism.

Meaning of feedback

Working as an online team has been the most beneficial aspect of the course as I had little experience in that before and now I feel I can do it effectively. The EAST program encouraged me to continue in my education since it improves my skills in contacting with other universities online. So in the future I hope that I could continue in improving my English language skills, acquiring a PHD qualification in project management and I am beginning to think on working online or even teaching online. Generally, I am very glad to have had this experience and want to thank everyone who helped to conduct the course in such a professional way.

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