Day in the Life: Ayman al Qudah, university lecturer
Ayman AlQudah is a lecturer of E-learning and Distance Learning at the University of Dammam. (Bayt)
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Ayman AlQudah is a lecturer of E-learning and Distance Learning at the University of Dammam. In addition to being a lecturer, he is in charge of research and development. Ayman started working in Saudi Arabia in October 2013.
After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering from the Hashemite University, Jordan, in 2008, Ayman joined the E-learning and Distance Learning Center at the Hashemite University, as an E-learning Systems Administrator and Developer. He then joined the University of Jordan’s Computer Center in 2009.
In 2012, Ayman decided to pursue higher education and received his Master’s degree in Information Technology from the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom.
Ayman is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), he believes in harnessing the power of Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to change the world. He started his MOOC journey by teaching his first online course in Web Programming. The course kicked off with 3,000 students and ended up at around 17,000 registered students.
Alqudah has three published research papers related to E-learning, Open Source Software and Virtual Learning. In this interview with Bayt.com, Ayman tells us more about his work, the challenges he faces as a lecturer, and his advice to young professionals thinking of pursuing a career in academia.
1. When do you usually start work?
Ayman: Actually, I’m a morning person. I wake up early to give myself the chance to schedule my whole day while drinking my morning coffee. Benjamin Franklin once said: “The early morning has gold in its mouth.” and he was right! Mornings are the ideal time for thinking about yourself and your dreams. I think about the aspects I want to achieve more, both on a personal and professional level. Sometimes watching an inspiring video or reading an inspiring quote could go a huge way in increasing your energy levels and making you believe that the best is yet to come!
2. What is your role all about and what are your key responsibilities?
Ayman: Being a lecturer comes with a set of responsibilities that are in reality the backbone of teaching; i.e. preparing for lectures, following up with students, answering their questions, discussing several topics, and finally, directing students to develop their work. Along with being a lecturer, I’m also responsible for research and development related to education.
3. What problems do you typically face at work?
Ayman: As a lecturer and academic who oversees research and development, I always try to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the education field in order to find the best solutions for the problems I face in my domain. These problems are mainly related to the best technologies available to ease the education process and how to implement and customize them in a way that goes in line with the university’s vision.
4. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Ayman: I believe that teaching has as a way of changing the world and making it better. I’m eager to learn, and at the same time, to teach. Furthermore, working in the education industry has made helping others and enriching the Arabic content on the internet much easier.
5. What is the most challenging part of your job?
Ayman: The technological developments we see every day have made finding and reaching the information you need a few clicks a way, however, this has also made the lecturer’s profession more difficult. The rule here is not just finding the right answers for your students, but you also need to know all the possible answers and then nominate and deliver the best ones only.
6. What advice do you give young professionals who want to enter your field?
Ayman: I advise all students and young professionals in the E-learning field to stay up-to-date with all the latest technologies. You have to make sure you deliver your work in a way that is appropriate, engaging and attractive. Always focus on the target audience. Manage your time in order to be able to go to sleep at night knowing that you’ve controlled your day and achieved to the best of your abilities.
7. How do you juggle between different tasks at work?
Ayman: Having to handle multiple tasks at the same time isn’t unusual in my field of work. I have a rule: always work on the important tasks first. You have to learn how to prioritize; write down your to-do list according to the importance and urgency of your tasks. Keep them right in front of you in order to keep your mind organized and focused on what comes next.
8. How do you balance your work and life?
Ayman: My after-work hours are mine to enjoy. I focus on doing the things I love the most, like reading, and staying up to date with my passions, such as web programming and development. It’s all about time management – through time management you can guarantee success and create a work-life balance.
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
I reach my office at 7:30 AM. I start my day by checking my email. After checking my email I start scheduling the day’s tasks.
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
This is the ideal time for work meetings. Before each meeting I take a few minutes to prepare. After wrapping up meetings, I immediately start working on summarizing the meeting’s outcomes and determining action plans.
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
This is the time of day I focus on the research and development aspects of my job. I look for solutions for my research, search the local community and try to find interested partners in the topics that would help the University achieve more. I use this time to discuss any cooperation or association chances with the Dean, and if these are approved, I arrange the meetings with relevant parties.
1:00 PM – 3:30 PM
I spend this time following up on the projects I supervise. For example, the online courses that are being taught through the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS). Also, this is when I get the chance to follow up with the students who are enrolled in the online courses, answer their questions, discuss several topics and help them develop their work.
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
At 3:30 PM I head home where I have lunch and rest.
5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
This is the time when I can focus on the things I am most passionate about, such as research, web development and design. I have my evening coffee, pick up a blank paper and start writing down my thoughts and daily experiences, and try to turn these to ideas. Sometimes if the idea is good, I look for ways to turn it to a research paper.
7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
This time is dedicated to my family and for reading.
By: Sara Hammouri
This article originally appeared in Bayt.com.
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