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Information

Project Title: Enhancing the Quality of Multimedia Program to Get Engaged in Game Industry

Acronym: EMPEG

Grant Number: C4-18-U-GU-06

Funded By: World Bank through the Quality Improvement Fund (QIF) through the Ministry of Education and Higher Education

Duration: (30) months, starting from 1 Oct. 2018

Overview

Our graduates and freelancers compete on few types of jobs while freelancing business is enlarging over Gaza and the region. Freelancers and graduates in Gaza focus on web development, mobile apps, and graphic design business, which are very competitor areas, while Games development is a huge sub-sector that our graduates are not ready for in the meantime due to low experience and lake of resources. Some graduates interested in the field of game development appeared in the local market, but they focus just on the programming side which is a phase in the game industry, whereas many important topics in the previous phases need interest and experience such as science, environment, characters, story..etc.

The Games development industry is ranked as one of the top valuable industries in software business worldwide. Despite that, until now we did not engage in this market. Our graduates and freelancers almost are absent from this sector of business, and current classes of games development in Gaza University need to be enhanced to meet the market demands. However, the absence of experience and information about games development market and the lack of resources and tools are the main reasons for not taking our share in this market.

Our project approach to be engaged in this sector is based on the collaboration with the international experienced firms for learning the science and methodology. Building staff capacity, developing curriculum, installing suitable equipment/tools, and training students will be provided through this project with the experience of the international experts in this field which will lead to well-qualified graduates in games development and then go to market. The long-term partnership with the private sector for training graduates and partnership with the incubators to qualify them as startups will result in good employability rate.

In addition, the partnership with the international market helps us deeply in assessing our needs in this sector and forwards our courses and programs to new trends in the labor market. Therefore, higher education will think of new programs leading to new opportunities for graduates.

Up to our knowledge, there is not an academic institute in Gaza Strip has a program related to game development, because of the absence of experienced academics in this field. All universities or colleges focus on the programming side of games in one course in their curricula and do not care about the science and methodology that is the most important to success in this field. Another advantage of the game industry is its multidisciplinary needs. Graduates from Arts, math, physics, scriptwriters, software engineers, programmers, VR, 3D, and animators will be engaged in this industry

Objectives

Overall Objective

To Develop the Multimedia Program at Gaza University towards Game Development to enhance graduates employability and open a new market for them locally and internationally.

Specific Objectives:

  1. Exploit the local academic & private sector partnership to jointly enhance graduates in the game development industry.
  2. Improve networking and collaboration between the local IT sector and the international IT sector
  3. Identify the technical skills and knowledge that graduates should have to succeed in the computer games industry
  4. Improve staff teaching and training capacity in computer games development.
  5. Update study plan to respond to games industry market needs.
  6. Boosting games development competencies in curricula content supported by textbooks and references
  7. Provide multimedia program with new facilities to address game development needs.
  8. Expand the multimedia graduates’ skills with new competencies to increase freelancing jobs opportunities
  9. Enhance the multimedia graduates’ entrepreneurial and managerial skills to qualify them better to be successful startups

 

Main Activities of EMPEG

  • Project Mobilization
  • Networking and Agreements
  • Staff Training
  • Topics and Competencies Identification
  • Improving Curriculum and Developing Courses
  • Preparing High-Performance labs
  • Pilot Phase Testing of the New Curriculum
  • Students Training and Pre-Incubation
  • Project Closing and Reporting

EMPEG Partners

  • Gaza University (GU) is the project leader
  • ALTARIQ Systems and Projects (ALTARIQ)
  • Palestinian Information and Communication Technology Incubator (PICTI)
  • Palestine Technical College (PTC)

Information

Project Title: Boosting Innovation in Curricula Development of IT Programs in Palestine

Acronym: BITPAL

Grant Number: 574131-EPP-1-2016-1-PS-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP

Funded By: The European Commission Under the Erasmus+ European Programm - Key Action 2 - Capacity Building in the Field of Higher Education

Duration: (36) months, starting from 15 Oct. 2016

OBJECTIVES

WIDER OBJECTIVE:

The project (BIT-PAL) aims to adopt innovative orientation in teaching that enhances the thinking of the undergraduate students.

The target of BIT-PAL is to develop the curricula of IT programs in the Palestinian academic sector for adopting new innovative teaching methodologies developed during the project. This will help IT students to become more reliable and productive and will improve their ability for learning-to-learn. Consequently, IT students will be able to start their own businesses and open several opportunities for them in an early stage before graduation and in their careers after graduation.

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES:

The specific objectives can be defined as the following:

  1. Defining the needs and priorities of the local IT sector by assessing job-relevant skills and employment requirements.
  2. Building the capacity of the IT academic staff who will be able to design and use the new curricula developed in the project.
  3. Developing career-oriented curricula for computer engineering, computer science, and vocational training in IT specializations in terms of defined needs and priorities.
  4. Establishing a framework for a network of technical competencies in IT teaching methodologies and technologies based on the partnership between academic, professional, and official parties.
  5. Producing professional training resources, to enhance lifelong training in topics related to IT sector.

BITPAL Partners

  • P1 : University College of Applied Sciences (UCAS) - Palestine
  • P2 : Islamic University Of Gaza (IUG) - Palestine
  • P3 : Al-Azhar University, Gaza (AUG) - Palestine
  • P4 : Al-Aqsa University (AQU) - Palestine
  • P5 : Gaza University (GU) - Palestine
  • P6 : Palestinian Information Technology Association Of Companies (PITA) - Palestine
  • P7 : Leipzig University Of Applied Sciences (HTWK) - Germany
  • P8 : University Of Calabria (UNICAL) - Italy
  • P9 : The Faculty Of Information Studies (FIS) - Slovenia

WORK PACKAGES

PREPARATION: STUDY AND NEEDS ANALYSIS OF LOCAL IT SECTOR

This work package will provide effective management of the project during the preparatory phase in order to facilitate the interactions among partners and to guarantee that each WP’s activity, task and deliverable will progress smoothly toward the final goal of the project. UCAS coordinates the project and will ensure efficient management of the project.

Practically, the main objective of this work package (WP1) is to conduct an initial study and needs analysis and to define of priorities of all parties involved in the IT sector such as: IT departments in the participating universities, IT companies, Freelancers, and computer training centers.

This WP will effectively involve the professionals' representatives from these sectors to have visibility in the project development; in order to participate and follow up the project activities to contribute with recommendations and to evaluate the results.

It starts with creating a dynamic working environment that allows the building of a partnership between academics from all partners of the consortium and professionals from the local society.

In this WP a joint commission between academics, professionals, and private sector representatives will be created. The professional European expertise will be implemented in designing and preparing a questionnaire process to make a survey for the lacks of IT sector and to define the real needs. An elaborated need assessment process will be organized for representing number of target groups in Palestine. Three target groups will be considered: 1) IT companies, 2) IT students, and IT Academic staff. A workshop (WS) will be organized to lay a base for the second phase of the project.

The participation of processionals form the early beginning of the project will deepen the mutual understanding between academics, professional, and relevant private sector. Since one of the project objectives is to establish a platform for lifelong learning in the field of IT.

DEVELOPMENT: SETTING-UP A SPECIALIZED GROUPS IN IT

This WP is dedicated to staff training from local partner universities. The trained staff will form the required specialists who will carry out the development of the curricula. Furthermore, the private sector will attend these training missions in order to help the local market for opening new horizons for them. The private sector will be represented by PITA.

The combination from the academic sector and the private sector will help in enhancing the incubation process in the local market and will help in the establishment of specialized local competencies in IT.

The training program will be divided into specified different topics including:

  1. Entrepreneurship in IT.
  2. Management and economy of IT projects.
  3. Knowledge Value Chain Concept.
  4. Incubation and accelaration processes and systems.
  5. Software engineering topics (systems Analysis, Business requirments, Testing)

Each topic will be organized in two levels:

  1. Targeted specialized training missions (STM) in Europe for limited number of qualified participants, Training of Trainers. They will be exposed to experiences, equipment, facilities, and interact with people that both are not available in Palestine and can't be brought to Palestine within the framework of the project time and budget.
  2. Intensive basic training sessions in the local partner country (TS) to allow for wide range participation. The trainees will be exposed to disciplines basics from the expertise of the previous missions. This phase is knowledge transfer from carried our by the trainers of the first phase.

During the specialized training missions in Europe, the participants will produce documents concerning: description of courses, teaching methodology, practical training, resources, text books, and references.

At the end of this WP, a workshop (WS) will be organized to evaluate the specialized training missions and local training sessions. This will help to define modalities and procedures for the development of curricula for different academic and professional levels (computer engineering, computer science, and diploma of computer programming). During the WS proceedings, the curricula development committees will be constituted.

DEVELOPMENT: CURRICULA DEVELOPMENT FOR ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL LEVELS

In this WP, the three curricula committees (Computer Engineering Committee CEC, Computer Science Committee CSC, and Computer Programming Committee CPC) will evaluate the existing curricula at Palestinian partner institutions, and work on the development of new ones oriented for lifelong professions. The work will start in parallel with staff training in WP2 and with building of academic-professional partnership. The committees work will take into consideration the outputs of WS1 and WS2, and will be based on the needs evaluation done in WP1, the obtained experience form local training, and the documents produced during the specialized missions to Europe.

The committees will develop flexible curricula for each program in order to suite the educational systems in Palestinian Territories. Of course, the development process will be conducted in consultation with European partners and local IT professionals.

Each committee should deliver detailed curricula with syllabi for all specialized courses that include teaching modalities, resources, etc. The three curricula should take into account the local educational system needs and observe the international and EU standards.

At the end of this WP, a workshop will be organized to evaluate the developed curricula in academic and professional levels (Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Computer Programming), and will prepare for the pilot testing WP of this project.

DEVELOPMENT: SUPPORT STRUCTURES AND STRATEGIES

In this WP, As relations between HEIs and IT private sector relation to activities in areas of education, practical training and research, the project will, in longer term, generate several benefits and contribute to: higher employability of students through improved training and employment prospects, generation of opportunity to attract additional funds for teaching & research, increasing of financial autonomy of universities through stimulating cooperative research with enterprises and generation of additional income from consulting, increased innovation and technology transfer and stronger economic development. The establishment of well-structured interface-scheme for the creation of Competence Centers in 4 Palestinian HEIs can further serve as a role model and stimulate long-life learning and training in the field of IT. The project aims to develop these centers to provide the IT student by the necessary mentorship and training during and after the graduation. These centers will be considered as the basis for local training centers required to conduct pilot tests and will facilitate the participation of target groups in the pilot training sessions.

A feedback process will be put in place to allow for the evaluation from different points of view; trainers, trainees, materials, and academic institutions

The centers will be supported by a web portal for collecting all the training material, pedagogical resources, and networking with the local IT private sector.

DEVELOPMENT: CURRICULA PILOT TESTING AND FEEDBACK ASSESSMENT

The objective of this WP is to initiate an effective collaboration between local partner universities to test the developed curricula. To realize that, preliminary common activities will be organized through two types of production:

  • - Producing pedagogical resources for online learning.
  • - Producing pedagogical tools for face-to-face teaching and training.

In the first type of production, the trained staff in WP2 will be involved. For the second type, students will be involved through the orientation of their graduation projects to the designing and producing of pedagogical resources that are useful for teaching and training of topics related to IT.

Given the objective is to produce high quality multi-media pedagogical resources, UCAS will lead this activity as they have the required infrastructure and the technical capacity for developing these materials in very interactive ways. These resources will be invested, though the production activities will be mainly from UCAS, but they are required to transfer competence to other local partners.

To enforce the project idea of developing and sharing common competencies, the teachers and students from consortium partners will be encouraged to work on common students projects related to IT at both levels: engineering and technician. Both students and teachers will be allowed to meet through organizing visits.

At the end, a collective assessment of the results of pilot training tests will be done in a workshop. During that WS, there will be a final evaluation of students’ projects and pedagogical resources development. In additions, there will be the preparation for the final phase of the project.

DEVELOPMENT: DEVELOPING SOLUTIONS FOR LOCAL IT SECTOR

There are a huge number of IT applications that are in use: private, public, industrial and agricultural. Most of these applications do not comply with the minimum requirements of safety and intellectual property rights (IPR) regulations. The adopted solutions in the developed countries are not applicable in Palestinian context, since, the individual and official economic status cannot bear such radical solutions. Moreover, the local IT sector suffers the lack of technical and scientific capabilities that are needed to provide tools for the sought solutions. Given the fact that, the needed solutions cannot be copied from the developed contexts; it have a huge economic impact on individual, professional and official levels. Therefore, there is a clear need to study other experiences and to develop local tools and solutions. In our methodological approach in this project, we consider that IT is not only software services but it should cover all related aspects as explained before.

The aim of this WP is to:

  1. Initiate an applied research experiences in the form of students projects in this field.
  2. Develop culture and create synergy between all related parties for how to address IT problems collectively. The adoption of research projects is related to the projects short-term objectives and ensured direct output.
  3. Building local experiences in identifying specific real IT problems, to formulize specific research topics, to propose solutions, develop tools, and to conduct evaluation.
  4. Developing an understanding of the range of licensing options available for IT resources such as IPR and copyright.
  5. Incubating and supporting the most viable project from each Challenge as a spin-off business and providing wider support to the creative industries community in the labour market

These objectives will be realized by a study of IT market, analyzing and determining common research topics, and launching two groups of the participated student for one-year long research graduation projects. PS partner universities are the partners who have the required students and resources to implement this WP. PS partner universities have the accredited graduate engineering program for this purpose and the required cooperation with EU partner.

The incubators in the partner university (UCAS and IUG incubators) will assist in a hands-on business incubation and a support package including technical, strategic, legal and logistical support to help get the business started, also and external consultants will participate in the incubation WBs to provide consultation and monitoring for the chosen projects.

DEVELOPMENT: PROJECT RESULTS AND REPORTS

The primary objective of this WP is to conduct a final, an effective and global evolution process that targets all the project outcomes. In this WP, a special commission for writing reports will be formed for this task.

The commission outcomes will be published in a collective evaluation event that would be organized for this purpose. The event will include all consortium partners and the project experts in addition to the professionals’ representatives and concerned officials. The evaluation of results will be used to lay a strategy for a sustainable partnership model between local universities and professional sector in the field of ground IT. Furthermore, it will launch the required steps for achieving the long term objectives regarding the building of the competence center in Palestine.

The project results will be documented in a final report and will be published and distributed.

QUALITY PLAN: PROJECT QUALITY CONTROL AND MONITORING

For the quality control of the project activities and results, a multi aspect strategy will be used. It allows measuring and interpreting the obtained results directly. The quality control and monitoring will be carried out by all the concerned parties through internal and external analysis of results, progress, achievements, feedback, reports. The adopted strategy will include:

  1. The Steering Committee will conduct an internal evaluation of the project activities and progress toward achieving the project objectives. It will meet during the project main events and will be briefed by the management responsible. This modality will allow the Steering Committee to suggest making improvements and changes in the project management.
  2. Internal quality control will also include:
    • Staff members of the consortium feedback, peer reviews of the most relevant project results, acknowledgement of the outcomes, advancement of knowledge, and use of equipment.
    • Students and professional trainees will be motivated to evaluate the pilot training tests and related improvements.
    • Public feedback about the dissemination process will provide an objective measure of quality control. The discussions of progress reports in open and public workshops will provide an academic quality control to project products and results.
  3. Monitoring the development of the academic-professional partnership by an external quality expert in fields related to universities and enterprises partnership. That expert will be allowed to attend regularly to the project collective activities and will be informed regularly by the project management responsible.
  4. Monitoring the pedagogical aspects in the competence building process and the pilot training tests by an external pedagogical expert in fields related to higher education and competence building. That expert will be allowed to attend regularly to the project collective activities and will be informed regularly by the project management responsible.

DISSEMINATION & EXPLOITATION: PROJECT DISSEMINATION AND EXPLOITATION PLAN

The dissemination task is a fundamental part of the project. It can be seen in the description, work packages and management that many of dissemination activities are built in into the project structure. Workshops, training, public presentations and website, will greatly contribute to the dissemination of the project results and outputs. Taking into account this during the project execution, the dissemination process will develop in two directions. The first is the information about project execution to attract attention and to create a positive image of the project impact in the field of ground vehicles education. The second is the dissemination of the teaching/training results obtained within the project framework in order to create special methodological solution. This way of dissemination is important and useful taking into account the intensive accumulation of experience, which will be reflected in the state-of-the-art teaching materials and methods. This will raise the awareness among the university environment at large.

For a wider dissemination, Arabic and English languages will be used in public events. WS1 will be held for the presentation and mobilization during the first month. This will secure the involvement of all concerned parties. The developed curricula and competencies will be presented in WS5 at the end of the project period in order to motivate local interest and support.

Taking into account the above-mentioned, the dissemination process will also include the following:

  1. A special logo will be designed and used by the network as identity element.
  2. Preparation of a brochure in English and Arabic languages.
  3. Production of downloadable presentations and reports from the website.
  4. Participation in local and external related events to present the project.
  5. Newspaper items and university news items will be produced and submitted by all consortium members.

The exploitation plan of the project results will have three periods:

  1. 1. Immediate follow-on: Carrying out needs evaluation, competence building, curricula development and pilot tests will be part of renovation process for higher education in partner universities. The results will constitute a development tool that is characterized by new teaching methodologies, which integrate theoretical and practical aspects of IT. Obtaining institutional recognition will guarantee support and will bring decision makers thinking to adopt project results.
  2. 2. Short-term: The project structure concentrates at competence building in well-established universities that are willing to maintain and develop these competencies. The planned collective production activities will ensure the effectiveness of the competence building process. Local partners will cover staff costs when it comes to teaching and supervising students work. The issue of equipment and training resources will be easily solved because of three reasons:
    • Most of the training resources will be produced by local staff engaged in the project,
    • The equipment are not sophisticated or expensive and are available,
    • The software is commonly used and the cost of upgrading is relatively affordable, which can be covered by the local partners.
    • '
    • This will lay a basis for future establishment of competence centers for ground IT.
  3. 3. Medium-term: The core of the academic-professional network, which will emerge from this project, will form the basis of a local thematic group. It is characterized by cooperative relations to similar European groups. It will provide a framework to organize meetings to:
    • Ensure the evolution of academic programs, methodologies and tool.
    • Invest the developed competencies and expertise in producing new resources.
    • Search potential financial sources for future development.

MANAGEMENT: PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

Within WP.10 the applicant (UCAS) will handle the whole project management and financial administration with the constant support of other beneficiary institutions.

IUG as the coordinator will participate in the overall project management, financial management, regular communication with all partners, and monitoring of project activities. UCAS will be responsible for reporting to Erasmus+ and accounting.

Kick-off meeting will be organized at the beginning of the project at the premises of the project applicant in order to establish project management procedures, quality assurance procedures and general sustainability and dissemination polices.

The adopted management plan is based on properly defined roles and responsibilities. For this purpose, a Steering Committee (SC) will be created in the kick-off meeting and will consist of representatives that have the required skills and experience from all partner universities. The SC will define the rules and procedures for the project management, and will be responsible to follow how the project targets and objectives are fulfilled. Also, the SC will adopt voting of all its members for any decisions to be made and possible conflicts to be resolved.

UCAS will have the chair position in the SC. In this position there will be the project manager Dr. Hani Qusa. The SC will delegate to individuals, groups of persons or sub-committees the responsibility for executing or monitoring specific tasks that correspond to one or a set of activities described in the project. For each task, a document detailing the purpose, the expected results, the method or procedures, and the necessary resources should be produced taking into account the descriptions of the activities presented in this form. Partner universities will locally launch, manage and monitor activities in their countries.

UCAS will ensure the overall management by:

  1. Taking the responsibility for daily management, coordination and monitoring of the project activities as well as for the submission of reports on activities and outcomes.
  2. Organizing the transfer of funds to the co-beneficiaries according to the modalities fixed in the project details.
  3. The assignment of assistants on part-time basis to work with the UCAS financial department.
  4. Organizing SC meetings in M1 and during the five workshops to reduce the costs of stay and travelling. Other meetings will be organized virtually.

To ensure communications, English, e-mail, fax and telephone will be adopted. Meetings and training visits will help also. A website will be used for monitoring and communicating with and between partners to keep the deadlines due to risk of restrictions in PS.