x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Etisalat’s online tutorials prove a hit with UAE students

Etisalat has officially launched its YouTube channel Duroosi - a series of online educational videos that will help Grade 11 and 12 students.

UAE youths (from right) Abdulla Alnoun, Saeed Rashed Saeed and Ahmed Saeed Alsareidi at the official launch of Duroosi - Etisalat’s Arabic online video tutorials on its YouTube channel. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
UAE youths (from right) Abdulla Alnoun, Saeed Rashed Saeed and Ahmed Saeed Alsareidi at the official launch of Duroosi - Etisalat’s Arabic online video tutorials on its YouTube channel. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

DUBAI // More than 600 educational videos have been uploaded to Etisalat’s Duroosi channel on YouTube, giving students in Grades 11 and 12 online tools to help them study on the go.

The videos, mostly in Arabic, were produced by the telecoms operator in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Google, which owns YouTube.

Etisalat funded the scheme through its corporate social responsibility division Ayaadi Etisalat, which gave Dh20 million last year to be used on educational initiatives.

“The main goal for us was to empower students,” said Amal Al Koos, director of Ayaadi.

Duroosi, or “my lesson” in Arabic, is meant to lessen the need for private tutors and give pupils quick and convenient access to their lessons, Ms Al Koos said.

The ministry provided Etisalat with teachers and oversaw the lectures featured in the videos, ensuring they adhered to ministry curriculums.

“Now the students will have access to the curriculum and subjects anytime, anywhere,” said Marwan Al Sawaleh, under secretary for the ministry.

“In the first week we got 17,000 subscribers to the service so I think there is a huge demand today. Some of the students really appreciate it.”

As of Wednesday, when the channel was officially launched in Dubai, Duroosi had more than 35,000 views, and attracted more than 17,400 subscribers who watched more than 51,000 minutes.

The most popular lesson, watched 3,809 times, is a Grade 11 physics lecture on standing waves and harmonics. Five subscribers gave it a “thumbs up” while three rejected it.

Like all of the online tutorials on the channel, the video shows a teacher on the left of the screen lecturing on the subject using a PowerPoint-like presentation on the right of the screen to illustrate the main points. Most videos are between 20 and 30 minutes long.

They were a hit with students from across the UAE at the official launch.

“Books are not as interesting as YouTube is,” said Abdulla Al Noun, 17, an Emirati from Fujairah who is in Grade 12. “I think this is a very good idea. If I miss a class, I can check it here.

“If I’m going to study by my books I need a lot of preparing and sitting in the desk, but here, before sleeping, I can just open YouTube and view the lesson.

“It’s easy, anywhere, wherever I am, whenever I can study. That’s a good point of this project.”

Shaikha Al Nuaimi, 16, a Grade 11 pupil from Sharjah, was catching up on a biology lesson she missed in school to attend the event.

“It’s about viruses,” Shaikha said. “You can just click around and you can see every subject you want, like chemistry, biology, Arabic, English – all the subjects for the arts and science sections.

“Here you can review it as many times as you want or you can skip to the points you want to understand. So it’s very easy to learn better.

“If you have an exam and you forgot about the lesson, forgot any important information, you can just review.”

Shaikha and Abdulla said they hoped future versions of the project could offer more interactive elements, such as educational games.

There are plans to further develop the project, Mr Al Sawaleh said.

“This is the first stage and we are developing it and evaluating it,” he said. “From the evaluating process, then we see how to move, and how to develop it and how to enhance it.”

Ms Al Koos said Etisalat was exploring the possibility of developing interactive videos and expanding the existing YouTube library to other grades.

rpennington@thenational.ae