One of the largest higher education institutes (HEI) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and another public sector organization (PSO) responsible for promoting heritage, history and culture in the tourism sector formed an informal partnership in 2012. The purpose of this paper is to give Emirati students an opportunity to undertake projects based on their heritage, communities and develop their skills by experiencing “learning by doing.”
Projects briefs were provided by the PSO and followed the curriculum requirements of first year bachelor programs. In February 2013, faculty from different departments within the HEI met with PSO representative to explore how both organizations could collaborate. The conversation also focused on how the PSO could take advantage of readily available resources of creativity and innovation at the HEI. An innovative, cross-discipline, joint-marketing project was developed in line with the curriculum and PSO needs. By June, 2013, all students had undertaken projects which led toward developing recommendations and materials to promote the brief from PSO of “Raising Awareness” and “Increasing Visitor Numbers.”
Students from different disciplines produced different elements to meet the brief; however, they all followed a similar approach of research, analysis and evaluation. Although such projects are difficult to manage, staff found they had a profound effect on students’ motivation, personal development and overall learning experience.
This case study provides an insight into how experiential learning can be fostered through educational partnerships in the UAE context and beyond. It also highlights the importance of technology and informal relationships between partnering institutions.
Minhas, W. and Perret, J. (2017), "A UAE case study: experiential learning through effective educational partnerships", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 304-312. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-09-2014-0078
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