HCT Wins Blackboard’s 2020 Global Catalyst Award Training & Development

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The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) has been honored for its initiatives at the forefront of faculty training and professional development, after being named a winner of the 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Training & Professional Development.

The Blackboard Catalyst Award for Training & Professional Development recognizes institutions which use Blackboard programs to support and enhance their faculty and staff training and professional development. This can include creative learning opportunities, to on-the-job training in the newest technologies, and demonstrates an organization-wide dedication to innovative development programs.

Through this award, HCT has been recognized globally for the value and impact of its training and development programs, designed to equip faculty with the optimal technical tools and skills to deliver personalized teaching and learning experiences of the highest quality. HCT was also recognized for actively promoting the institution-wide adoption of innovative teaching and learning strategies that leverage state-of-the-art education technologies, which have the potential to increase rates of student success.

Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President and CEO, expressed his pleasure with HCT’s new international achievement, which is testament to HCT’s distinguished digital education system under such exceptional global circumstances. This reflects the UAE’s notable success in turning challenges into achievements at all levels, as well as the HCT’s readiness for the future and prioritization of education.

He added that during the past few years HCT built a solid digital infrastructure through its partnership with Blackboard, in order to provide Uber-like education which allows the provision of education as a service to students from anywhere at any time. The HCT’s focus is on integrating cutting-edge technology for the advancement of faculty and students alike. HCT was the first educational institution in the UAE to provide e-Teacher certification, in collaboration with Blackboard, to certify its entire faculty body in teaching with technology. This facilitated the rapid and effective shift to distance learning.

Dr. AlShamsi mentioned that this is HCT’s third Blackboard Catalyst Award, awarded at the international level.  HCT won its first Blackboard Catalyst Award in 2014 for ‘Innovation’.  In 2019, HCT won the Leading Change Award in the global Blackboard Catalyst Awards.  He praised the concerted efforts of the Educational Technology team in boosting the HCT’s digital infrastructure, as well as all the work teams who are supporting institutional digital transformation at all levels.

Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer and President, Global Markets at Blackboard, said: “We’re pleased to honor this year’s Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to improving the educational experience for all learners through EdTech and sharing these insights with the broader community. We’re proud to partner with institutions who are innovating to advance student success.”

Dr. Jihad Mohaidat VP for Educational Technology, explained that the HCT was named a winner of the 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Training & Professional Development as a result of offering training and professional development programs since 2017. The HCT has provided 6,956 professional development courses utilizing cutting-edge educational technologies effectively over the past three years, which helped faculty to enhance the quality of their performance, which includes programs development and evaluation, design of learning activities, and incorporating education technologies in the curriculum, in addition to applied research and innovation.

He added that winning the award can also be attributed to HCT’s position as the first educational institution in the UAE to provide the e-Teacher certification, in collaboration with Blackboard International. To date, the HCT has provided 6,000 PD credit hours for the first batch consisting of 11 faculty members and three trainers nominated by HCT to become Blackboard experts under the e-Teacher certification initiative. The HCT faculty completed 55,000 PD hours during the distance learning and remote work experience. The HCT further equipped its faculty with the necessary skills to design and evaluate online courses, which gave them confidence to ensure a successful distance teaching and learning experience, through the utilization of Blackboard’s suite of products for the best interest of students.

He concluded that professional development courses are provided in line with the UK professional standards.

HCT will be officially announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2020, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held virtually from July 21-22.