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Implementation of Cooperative Learning Strategies in the Arab Gulf States: What? How? When?

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Poster Session

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.811.1 - 22.811.18



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Paper Authors


Waddah Akili Iowa State University

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Waddah Akili: Professor (retired) of civil engineering & visiting faculty at Iowa State University, Ames, IA. Has been in the academic arena for over 38 years. He has held academic positions at Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA (1966 - 1970); at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (1970 - 1987); and at The University of Qatar, Doha, Qatar (1987 - 2000). Akili’s major field is geotechnical engineering. His research interests and experience includes: characterization of arid and semi arid soils, shallow and deep foundations, pavement design and materials, concrete durability, and contemporary issues of engineering education, in general, and those of the Middle East in particular. He is presently a geotechnical consultant in Ames, Iowa.

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Implementation of Cooperative Learning Strategies in the Arab Gulf States: What? How? When?ABSTRACT: Engineering education in the Arab Gulf States (the Region) faces significantchallenges as it seeks to meet the demands on the engineering profession in the twentyfirst century. The paper focuses on classroom-based pedagogies of engagement, andcooperative learning strategies in particular. It is a follow up to previous work by theauthor, on viable strategies to improve the classroom environment of engineeringcolleges in the Region. At the start, the paper provides an overview of relevantbenchmarks of engineering education in the Arab Gulf States. Then, relates author’spreliminary findings on teaching/learning practices in engineering colleges of theRegion, sheds light on the pros and cons of the lecture format, and examines theliterature on meanings and substance of different active learning protocols focusing oncooperative engagement strategies. The paper, also, sheds light on: theoretical roots,research support, current practices, and suggestions for redesigning classes-if need be- tostimulate interaction and help break the traditional lecture dominant pattern whencooperative learning protocols are deployed.The proposed paper will illustrate how cooperative learning can advance academicsuccess, quality of relationships, psychological adjustments, and attitudes toward thecollege experience. What needs to be done to move the process forward? What are thekey components of successful deployment of active learning in general and cooperativelearning in particular? How to foster and expand the community of engineering facultywho use cooperative learning? What plans, efforts, and resources need to be mobilized toinstitutionalize pedagogies of engagement including cooperative learning at thedepartment or college level?Next, it identifies common barriers to reformation in general, and to the use of modernpedagogical skills in particular. The paper also argues that any meaningful change inRegion’s classroom practices today (dominated by traditional lecture-based methods)must be mandated and supported by the university administration. What is necessary tocreate a change, is for the department or college, to have a comprehensive and integratedset of components: clearly articulated expectations, opportunities for faculty to learnabout new pedagogies, and an equitable reward system.

Akili, W. (2011, June), Implementation of Cooperative Learning Strategies in the Arab Gulf States: What? How? When? Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18092

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