Conference Papers

AHS 1: Education

The Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on School-age Students

Safea Al Senani and Saad Harous (UAE University, United Arab Emirates); Fatima Al Shamsi and Mahra Al Zafna Al Marar (UAEU, United Arab Emirates)


The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of people's lives. Specifically, education has transformed from its traditional form into a remote online environment. The Ministry of Education carried out its emergency plan and launched virtual classrooms through several platforms. This has supported students in their learning journey and ensured that education is guaranteed even through the toughest situations. However, the closure of educational institutes has greatly impacted all involved parties. We conducted research based on a survey that focused on digital connectivity, learning efficiency, social life, and technological literacy. The results from the survey have been analyzed and visualized to clearly display the impact of the pandemic on education. This research is highlighting the main issues with online learning among School-age students. Moreover, it will contribute to enhancing the e-learning experience, improving educational policies, and future planning.

Exploring the International Baccalaureate (IB) System: Cultural diversity Versus National identity

Sana Butti Al Maktoum (United Arab Emirates University & Zayed University, United Arab Emirates)


The purpose of this study is to explore the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum system IB in line with its global citizenship mission which emphasis cultural diversity with the aim of shedding light on bilingualism in practice, particularly in curriculum approach and design. This research study followed a qualitative approach in a case study framework (Yin, 1994) with a semi-structured interview, observations and informal interviews with school personnel which provided insights on bilingualism in the IB system. The topic of bilingualism deduced further themes such as the literature selection, students' and parents' perception and the quality and choices of literary work. The study recommends further research in the bilingual effect on learners in the IB framework, taking in consideration two main points, the role of the first language and the national identity in promoting culturally responsive education.

The Impact of a Proposed Mathematics Enrichment Program on the UAE Students' Mathematical Literacy in Light of the PISA framework

Hanan Al Marashdi and Adeeb Jarrah (UAEU, United Arab Emirates)


Mathematical literacy is an important skill that students must possess, as it helps students understand and use mathematics in the real world. The main aim of this study is to investigate the impact of a proposed mathematical enrichment program developed based on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) framework. This International assessment is particularly important because it is on the National Agenda as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) aspires to be among the top 20 countries in the world in PISA by 2021. This research applied a nonequivalent pre-posttest quasi-experimental research method was conducted where a Mathematical literacy test was used to collect data. Data were collected from 102-grade 10th students from the advanced stream, taken from two schools. Data is going to be analysed by applying the covariate analysis to compare the experimental group means of performance with the control groups.

UAEU Graduate Students' Experience with Distance Learning and Its Influence on Their Academic Achievement

Halima Ahmed Omar and Eqlima Mohamed (UAEU, United Arab Emirates)


In an attempt to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 138 countries around the globe have locked schools and higher education institutions nationwide, impacting over 1.3 billion students, among them 1.1 million in the UAE (UNESCO, 2020). The UAE government have planned for a complete transition into distance learning in an attempt to allow for an uninterrupted virtual verification of knowledge and significant educational activities. The current study examined the influence of students' engagement (SE) and ease of communication (EC) with distance learning on the students' academic achievement. Self-reported measures of SE and EC during distance learning were obtained from 138 post-graduate students from UAEU. Pearson's correlation coefficient showed significant correlation between SE and EC with students' academic achievement including cumulative GPA. Generalized linear model revealed that SE and EC are strong predictors of students' academic achievement. Implications of fostering SE and EC are discussed.

Cortical activation as a Result of Reading Stimuli for students with dyslexia and typically developing: New Insights from functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy Neuroimaging (fNIRS)

Elazab Elshazly (UAE Special Education, United Arab Emirates); Mohammed Safi (United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates)


The study will identify the active cortical areas in the prefrontal lobe during reading tasks for younger children with and without dyslexia in two classes of one public school in Al -Ain, UAE. Few studies have examined cortical activation and none for reading Arabic skills. The study will follow an exploratory experimental research design (fNIRS as a tool to measure cortical areas that are active during reading acquisition across younger children with and without dyslexia in an inclusive environment. Ten (10) 3rd graders male students with and without dyslexia, attending Arabic as (a native language) classes will be the participants of the study. Participants will comprise two sample groups. The participants will complete reading stimuli assessments using fNIRS.; As a result, we suggest fNIRS as an additional technique to track brain activation changes in the field of educational neuroscience.

Perceptions of Administrators, Faculty, and Students about Internationalization of Higher Education Institutions in the United Arab Emirates

Mohammed Madi Yousif (United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates); Mohamed Alhosani (UAEU, United Arab Emirates)


The globalization of economies and societies worldwide has transformed higher education by creating a context that includes an "international" dimension in higher education institutions (HEIs). Global learning is essential for the development of cognitive skills and the success of academics. In this regard, institutional stakeholders such as administrators, faculty, and students are key players in the initiatives to internationalize academia. This study examines the institutional stakeholders' perspectives of the internationalization of higher education in the United Arab Emirates. Data were collected through questionnaires administered to institutional stakeholders within eight HEIs in the UAE. According to the findings, the respondents believed that internationalization is a significant means for knowledge creation and sharing, which can ultimately improve the quality of education. However, the main risk is the dilution of cultural values. This study provides decision-makers a rich source of information to enhance the planning and implementation of internationalization within their respective institutions.

Immersive Learning Experience Using Virtual Games Integrated Within Curriculum Design to Equip Students With 21st Century Skills A Study During Covid-19

Amal Abdullah Hameed Adin (The British University Dubai, Saudi Arabia)


With the enforcement of remote learning, virtual games and apps consider the teachers' rescuer to enrich the curriculum with valuable instructional tools. The present research studied the possibility to emerge digital games and apps to be part of the curriculum design and explored students and teachers' educational virtual experience. The qualitative research aimed to explore if learners and educators are ready to use virtual games and apps and how reliable the digital game is in promoting future innovation and critical thinking skills. Moreover, the study investigated the importance of including digital games in e-learning to engage learners in an immersive learning environment and the urgent need for remote learning through COVID -19. Findings had concluded that the educational infrastructure in the UAE is ready to start e-learning with confidence. However, teachers have to receive proper training as technology is not always their first language.

How students influence faculty satisfaction with online courses, and does the age of faculty matter?

Rabiant Ali Sultan, Ali Alqallaf, Shahad Alzarooni, Nouf Alrahma and Mira AlAli (University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)


Studying faculty satisfaction with online courses is important to the faculty's well-being to manifests their productivity. Faculty satisfaction is affected by different factors; in this paper students' interactivity and faculty's age was studied. Faculty's age was tested as a moderator to test whether it will have a negative impact on the mutual student-instructor relationship. Online surveys were collected from eleven different colleges in UAE. The survey items were analyzed using correlation, R square tests, and Anova to test the study model and hypotheses. The results have indicated that students' interactivity has a significant positive impact on faculty's satisfaction with online courses. Faculty's age was found to have no impact on the student-instructors relationship; faculty's age is just a number, and it does not affect their level of satisfaction. The results also denoted to a set of suggestions from the studied colleges that can be considered and applied by UAE universities.

CHS 1: Biology & Bioinformatics

Improving Human Epidermal Stem Cells in Vitro Culture Condition by Uncovering How RNA Methylation Modulate Non-Coding RNAs

Balqees Saeed Almazrouei (Khalifa University & Na, United Arab Emirates)


The exact mechanism behind svRNA4 processing in human epidermal stem cells is not known, however our VTRNA pull-downs strongly suggest DROSHA having an active role. we found that knocking-down DROSHA in epidermal stem cells upregulated differentiation markers. The results provide the basis for further analysis of DROSHA in svRNA processing. Furthermore, we showed that svRNA4 targeted OVOL1's 3'UTR and maintained a progenitor state of epidermal stem cells. Collectively, the results demonstrate how RNA modification could be utilized to successfully grow epidermal stem cells in vitro for regenerative medicine. Moreover, future research should engineer a novel culture conditions to grow skin stem cells in functional assays and entitle them to reconstitute skin when required by using small non-coding RNAs.

Anti-breast Cancer Activity of Acridocarpus orientalis Extract

Suhib Hisham Altabbal (United Arab Emirates University, United Arab Emirates)


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common type of cancer among women that still causing high mortality rates worldwide. Plants are becoming a rich source for new anticancer agents with novel targets. Acridocarpus orientalis (AO), a traditional medicinal plant found in UAE and Oman, is known for its use as folk medication against inflammation and thought to have antitumor effect. Based on this, we sought to screen the potential anti-breast cancer activity of Acridocarpus orientalis ethanolic extract (AOEE). Interestingly, our initial screening showed that AOEE inhibits the growth of human breast cancer cells, MDA-MB-231. Further investigations showed that the growth inhibitory effect by AO induces autophagy in breast cancer and senescence in these cells. Thus, AO can be a promising anti-breast cancer agent used in combination with other anti-cancer drugs.

Educating the individual is this country's most valuable investment. It represents the foundation for progress and development. -H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Education is a top national priority, and that investment in human is the real investment to which we aspire. -H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan

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