Ruba Alomari, a faculty member in Durham College’s (DC) School of Business, IT & Management, began her IT career as a system engineer responsible for maintaining a small network and worked in a number of positions over a 15-year period, including a network manager. She received her Master’s degree in Information Security, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and was the recipient of the Doctoral Excellence Award. Dr. Alomari teaches information security in the Cybersecurity graduate certificate, and operating systems in the Computer Systems diploma.
Dr. Alomari finds joy and satisfaction in teaching her students, encouraging them to take an active role in their learning, and to be accountable for their work, as this helps them prepare for the industry.
She says, “Professors and students share equal challenges and responsibilities in the education process. We both value and enjoy knowledge together, and the success of one is the success of the other and the same applies to failure.”
To ensure that her students have an avenue to provide continuous feedback, Dr. Alomari provides an anonymous feedback form to the class to allow the students to give feedback at any time during the semester. When planning her lesson, she uses the ‘Jumpstart Model’: Connect, Learn, Practice, and Synthesis. This aligns with what college education is all about for her: applied learning at its finest beginning with an interactive communication experience, presenting new content, offering hands-on learning and summarizing the learning.
Dr. Alomari seeks to provide the students with prompt and constructive feedback to help them gain most from the course. The students receive detailed feedback that they can apply in future assignments. It also helps the students feel that the instructor is marking fairly.
She says, “If it’s a collective effort, learning is enhanced.”
Dr. Alomari supports students in their learning by modelling it. By setting up group assignments, projects, or discussion boards, she strives to get her students to understand, communicate and socialize through collaborations and coordination. She also makes sure that there are many opportunities to engage in active learning.
Her Hacking and Exploits and Network Administration courses are very rich with hands-on activities and labs. This type of learning helps keep students interested and engaged. She also uses case studies in her teaching in which she encourages a lot of student discussions.
In teaching remotely, Dr. Alomari started using video editing software (such as Screencast-o-matic) to create video and audio lecture notes for her students. For each of her sections, Microsoft Teams comes handy to create a team. This use of Microsoft Teams helps facilitate interactions between students, as well as between herself and her students.
“In these times, when face-to-face and on-campus classes are not possible, learning online has proven to be a great building block in the education system.” She thinks that learning face-to-face will be vastly enhanced if used strategically with online learning.