Workshop on empowering academic presence in online learning communities

The Faculty of Science together with  the team of the Research Output Management through Open Access Institutional Repositories in Palestinian Higher Education-ROMOR project held a workshop to discuss the “Academic Presence in a Digital World and the Role of Institutional Repositories” on September 24, 2019.

The workshop is part of the ROMOR project, funded by Erasmus+, which aims to advance the management of scientific research in Palestinian higher education institutions through the training on, and implementation of, open-access institutional repositories.

Hijazi Abu Ali, the dean of the Faculty of Science at Birzeit University, explained that open-access research repositories are triggered by the advancement of information- and communications technology. This development, according to Abu Ali, has created a new context of openness and grants wider access to resources and data as well as knowledge of higher quality - which is why institutions of higher education should benefit from such open platforms.

Abu Ali added that ROMOR opens the doors for higher education institutions to be accessible to online education resources and enables them to have an open movement in education, which can contribute to the production of valuable and scientific knowledge.

This workshop focused on the essential tools needed to enhance the academic presence of Birzeit University in the digital world, a feature already reflected in Fada (“space” in Arabic), the university’s open repository.

Talal Shahwan, a professor of chemistry at the university, opened the sessions with a speech on how academic institutions can achieve a powerful academic presence in the digital world. Director of the Main Library Diana Sayej discussed the role and effects of Fada on Birzeit’s researchers and academics.

Adnan Yahya, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Birzeit University, spoke about the essential role of national publishing repositories, whereas Asad Tom, webmaster and technical coordinator at the university’s Information Technology Unit, talked about the current status and future updates planned for Fada.