Dubai hosts Blackboard’s Teaching and Learning Conference for first time in Dubai

The conference addresses the most pressing challenges in education and map the future of teaching and learning in the RMEA region


Staff Report

Blackboard, a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, has brought its first Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) focused on Russia, Middle East, Africa (RMEA) and Turkey, to Dubai.

Robert Speed

Experts from across the region gathered for a packed three-day event — comprising over 40 sessions, panels, presentations, workshops and keynotes — to discuss opportunities, share best practices, discover the latest edtech solutions and address today’s most pressing challenges in education. In line with the region’s evolving educational landscape, conference topics will span student success through digital and blended learning, academic adoption, online assessment and feedback, data analytics and protection, and accessibility.

The conference keynotes and welcome address delivered by Shakir Farsakh, Principal Commercial Officer, Consulate General of the United States of America; Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President, Blackboard; Phillip Miller, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer, Blackboard.

The event agenda also includes an executive leadership summit, which will focus on how educators can support learners in a rapidly changing environment. Featuring a keynote address from Solveig Nicklos, Dean of Abu Dhabi School of Government, the summit will see the attendance of key university leaders, including: Dr. Jihad Moheidat, Vice President – Ed Tech at Higher Colleges of Technology (UAE); Prof. Hassan Selim, Professor of Management Information Systems and Acting Dean of University College, UAEU, and Director of Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning (CETL), UAE University (UAE); Dolf Jordaan, Deputy Director E-Learning & Media Development at University of Pretoria (South Africa); Dr. Adam Marks, Provost’s Advisor on Academic Quality and Strategic Initiatives at Zayed University (UAE); and Prof. Dr. Güner Gürsoy, Vice Rector at Okan University (Turkey). Attendees shared their perspective on topics such as the needs of the student of tomorrow, the potential of analytics in higher education and the educational strategy for the fourth industrial revolution.

“We are very excited to host the Teaching and Learning Conference in Dubai,” said Robert Speed, Vice President for the RMEA region at Blackboard. “For ten years now, the conference has been a platform for faculty and educators to discuss how to use technology to drive student and institutional success. The European editions of the TLC always generated a great deal of interest from delegates from the RMEA region, and we realised the time was right to bring the conference to Dubai. Educators within the region are rethinking their approach to teaching and learning, and there’s a lot to be gained from a dedicated forum like TLC that facilitates networking and the exchange of information and ideas.”

In addition to the main sessions, three special workshops took place on the first day:

• The DevCon RMEA workshop, which will outline integration methodologies and strategies designed to help institutions tailor their teaching and learning experience.

• The eTeacher taster workshop, which will provide attendees with a deep-dive into Designing eLearning Courses, a core topic of Digital Teaching and Learning.

• A session dedicated to professional development in Digital Teaching and Learning, which will analyse obstacles faced by contemporary higher education institutions and the benefits of a strategic institutional approach to tackle these.