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5 academic innovations you can experience when studying in the United Arab Emirates

By Stephanie L

Updated October 6, 2021 Updated October 6, 2021

Sponsored by United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)

We are living in a fast-moving world where innovation is at the forefront of massive changes in almost every sector and industry, including education.

One university which is making strides as a pioneer in academic innovation is the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain, which ranked first in the United Arab Emirates and fifth overall in the region in the QS Arab Region University Rankings 2021.

TopUniversities spoke with the United Arab Emirates University to find out more about some of the exciting innovations that are set to change the world of higher education.

Fab labs and experiential learning workshops

Fab labs and experiential learning workshops are causing ripples in the education sector and students are loving them.

Content taught via textbooks and lectures can now be articulated through fab labs and experiential learning workshops, allowing students to get a better understanding of the link between theory and practice while bringing insights to life through creative thinking, problem solving and effective decision making.

The university’s Science and Innovation Centre boasts its very own Innovation Hub, created in partnership with Google, Al Bayt Mitwahid, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, Edinburgh International Science Festival, and United Arab Emirates University.

It runs regular workshops and lessons focused on Android app development, machine learning courses, and ‘Maker Space’ courses, which allow students to gain first-hand experiences of such technologies.

An entrepreneurship ecosystem

Innovation hubs are another unique innovation that are springing up in universities around the world, including the United Arab Emirates. Innovation hubs aim to generate new-found collaborations between technology-based start-ups with high growth potential and large companies.

Authentic project and team-based learning like this offers students a safe space where they can enhance their business competence, bring their leadership abilities alive and get valuable feedback from their peers and coaches.

The United Arab Emirates University encourages an entrepreneurial culture and places a great emphasis on providing students with the tools and space to develop creativity, show leadership skills, take responsibility and drive their ambitions.

What’s more, aspiring business and entrepreneurial professionals can enrol in the university’s College of Business & Economics’ minor in entrepreneurship programme. During the programme, students gain a comprehensive understanding of key concepts when it comes to launching a new venture and identifying business opportunities. 

Online and hybrid learning

Digital technologies are instrumental in today’s education experience – and not just when it comes to state-of-the-art resources and facilities.

Online learning and hybrid learning (or blended learning) are innovative as they offer greater flexibility to better meet the needs of students – something which full-time, on-campus degree programmes cannot.

One example of this innovative learning model is massive open online courses (also known as MOOCs) which are free online courses offered by an ever-growing selection of institutions. They are a great way for students to get a taste of education at some of the world’s top universities – whether you’re preparing for or supplementing a traditional degree, or just wanting to learn for the sake of learning. You can do all of this for free without, leaving your home or even going through an application process.

In 2019, the United Arab Emirates University introduced its first English-taught MOOC to help students prepare for their EmSAT scores. During the course, students expand their basic grammatical knowledge, develop their English vocabulary as well as their critical thinking skills.

Smart digital facilities and resources

Standards of higher education are getting higher and higher – particularly as the world is still navigating its way through the coronavirus pandemic. There is an imperative need for institutions to think outside the box when it comes to being able to offer an education that students deserve.

From its smart digital factory to the UAEU Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), the United Arab Emirates University prides itself on the development of its new and evolving smart digital learning facilities and resources that supplement and enhance students’ learning.

This article was originally published in August 2021 . It was last updated in October 2021

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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