Introduction & Purpose
Knowledge update and Industry update at Skyline University College (SUC) is an online platform for communicating knowledge with SUC stakeholders, industry, and the outside world about the current trends of business development, technology, and social changes. The platform helps in branding SUC as a leading institution of updated knowledge base and in encouraging faculties, students, and others to create and contribute under different streams of domain and application. The platform also acts as a catalyst for learning and sharing knowledge in various areas.
Mr. Muhammad Habboosh From Different Corners
Corona pandemic has been highly disruptive for almost everyone and has caused severe drawbacks to most of businesses and education systems worldwide, but it was also a blessing for other sectors. In this article, some light will be shed on both sides of the argument.
Corona virus has affected a lot of businesses around the globe. They either bankrupted and shut down, terminated a good number of their employees or cut down their wages as a way to survive the financial struggle they were put in because of this situation. Sectors such as restaurants, real estates, ports, tourism, oil companies and air flight companies have been struggling to survive since January 2020 until this moment. As an example, according to Bloomberg, about 200 companies in America shut down this year and they blamed Coronavirus for that. More than 25 million Americans lost their jobs. In Kuwait, among other countries, about 350 thousand expats will be leaving Kuwait by the end of this year as the Kuwait government declared because of the companies’ financial trouble. This is only a small idea about the damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to countries.
Education is another story. As the governments have locked down the countries, it was not possible for teachers and students to join schools anymore. The number of students went down, especially in private schools, as a result of having their parents lost their jobs. So, there was no income to spend on schooling. Also, a lot of teachers became jobless. Another problem raised about education is the methods that should be developed for safe teaching and learning, without affecting the education system. To make sure that students stay on track, many programs were used to accomplish this task. One of the most famous and successful programs are Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Both programs allow video and audio conversation with students, share information and even save the sessions for students to revise later. However, some of these programs drawbacks are internet connection and a smart phone or a laptop availability. If any of this combination is not there, the circle will not be complete and no teaching produced; hence, no learning process. Some families are poor and can’t afford to buy a computer or have internet. Some countries don’t even have these services. Because of this, ministries of education need to come up with new ideas to overcome this problematic situation. The crisis can be seen as “a wake-up call” for countries and showed the desperate need to further research and fund to equip schools with the right infrastructure and technology that help education to stay on. Also, it has shown the challenge to provide teachers and students with the skills needed to adopt digital learning in education. As result, the concept ‘work from home, learn from home’ is the nest option for now.
Out of the ash has risen technology sector, which is considered the only one that gained a fortune in this pandemic. To explain more, telecommunication companies, social media and video communication companies that use video and audio calls such as Teams Program and Zoom Program, online market companies that sell products such as Amazon.com and noon.com, are now the shining stars among all companies in the world. Other educational programs have been adopted, such as Microsoft 360, latest version of PowerPoint, Articulate 360 and Bandi-cam program, among others. For example, the owner of Amazon company is now the richest person on earth, with a total wealth of 1 trillion $ as his company shares have increased rapidly recently.
No one knows when this nightmare is going to end, but for sure life before corona will never be the same after corona. People will have to change their lifestyle habits for many years to come. People will tend to depend more on online purchase, online classes and meetings. Education will depend more on technology than before. The new life will definitely produce more ideas to make sure less contact among people. A newly born life style will arise and new generations will take the lead to the bright future.
How to cite this article:
Habboosh Muhammad, Business and Education: Life Style after Corona, <https://www.skylineuniversity.ac.ae/knowledge-update/from-different-corners/business-and-education-life-style-after-corona>
Dr. Ramakrishna Yanamandra Operations
Digital twin has been a recent trend in the world of digital technologies. It can be called as a virtual copy of a living or non-living entity. This digital twin can be created using the technology for any kind of asset or a process or persons or locations.
Mr. Muhammad Habboosh Accounting & Finance
As we all know, COVID-19 has caused severe damage to the world in all fields starting from locking people at homes to major investments such as airplane business, car factories, or oil production. The United Arab Emirates is part of this world and, needless to say, businesses in this country have been affected, too. But, what about businessmen or average people who have savings and want to invest in the UAE? What fields should they look into? In this article, three sectors will be suggested for investment in 2021.
The first and most reliable sector is real estate. UAE is one of the fastest-growing countries in the world. With new projects built or will be built on the market, it will be wise for investors to start having their own property. The price of their property will increase with time, and investors can re-sell with much higher prices than what they have paid for. Also, people who work in the UAE and plan to stay for a long period of time, will see this as a great opportunity to buy their own apartment. Having an apartment will make them feel more secure in the country, and they will not have to worry about their rent. Also, they may rent out their property to others and use this money for their daily needs. Apart from that, once they decide to leave the country for any reason, they can simply sell their property and gain their capital back with a reasonable profit. Some say that this can be a long-term retirement plan. According to Nair (Gulf News, September 30, 2020), property prices are 40% less in 2020 than prices in 2014. In a recent article in the Gulf News dated February 11th 2021, Varghese states that properties in UAE are very attractive for buyers as they can receive low mortgage interest rates, higher loan to value ratio availability, affordable prices, reduced service charges, and developer incentives such as service fee waivers and free appliances.
The government have also given some incentives to customers such as the ten-year property owner's visa and retirement visa program, and tax-free property offer. Not to mention the safe environment for individuals and families. As we speak about UAE properties, we can’t ignore the worldwide event “Expo 2020,” which will significantly boost prices up. According to Properstar (2021), analysts are sure about the positive effect of the Expo 2020 event in the country as they studied the previous effect in other countries in the past. In China, for example, property values increased 46% more since Expo 2010. The same situation happened in London, where prices rose 64% between 2012 and 2017 because of the Olympics sports event. And don’t forget the sunny weather throughout the year.
The second important sector is the stock market. Choosing reputable companies with strong records or big banks should be the right choice. Once the market goes up, investors may sell their shares with profit. Another alternative is taking annual dividends, which I believe, is much better for starters and long-term investors. However, keep in mind that investing in the stock market is not a game. It can make people extremely rich or completely broke. So, whoever wants to pick this option should choose carefully, invest wisely, and wait patiently. A good study for strong reputable companies is highly recommended. Also, it is important not to borrow from banks to invest in the market. Another piece of advice is that between 10% to 30% of unneeded money should be invested. This way, if shares are not doing well, there is no rush to sell at low prices or loss. Another investment sector is what is called Investment Funds. Banks in the UAE have such facilities. Investment Funds are divided into two types: Global Sukuk Funds and GCC quantity fund. Global Sukuk Funds invests in global stock markets such as American, Chinese, and European, while GCC quantity fund invest in the gulf stock markets. Open an account with any of the banks and let them do the job for you. Either way, you will be earning some money. This is good for people who don’t have experience in investments. The only problem here for some people is that most of the time, the profit is not attractive, but others accept this fact as long as the capital amount is guaranteed by the bank.
To conclude, please note that investment, in general, is a risky field, and you need to understand that very well. Make sure you can afford the loss mentally and financially. On top of that, never take loans from banks to invest unless you are putting your money in property. Use your own saved money instead. It is a fact that no one knows the future, but with a bit of studying the current situation, reading business cycles throughout modern history, courage and planning, investors will surely be more successful to earn a good amount of money than others who kept their money in banks. And as life has taught us “crisis makes miracles.” Good luck!
Nair, M. (2020). Dubai property prices at 'fair value', but European cities in bubble territory, says UBS: For buyers, this could well be best time to enter, but will they?, Gulf News, September 30, 2020. https://gulfnews.com/business/property/dubai-property-prices-at-fair-value-but-european-cities-in-bubble-territory-says-ubs-1.1601454334029 Access date: 4th March 2021
Properstar. (2021). Why you should buy Dubai property before Expo 2020: True advantages that can make you decide for investing in Dubai real estate. https://www.properstar.com/buying-property/uae/why-buy-in-dubai-before-expo-2020 Access date: 4th March 2021
Varghese J. (2021). COVID-19: No better time for UAE expats to enter the real estate market:
A detailed look at the rationale behind investing in property now amid the pandemic. Gulf News, February 11th, 2021. https://gulfnews.com/your-money/saving-investment/covid-19-no-better-time-for-uae-expats-to-enter-the-real-estate-market-1.1606141446605 Access date: 4th March 2021
Prof. Sakkthivel Annamalai Manickam Strategic Management
Managers today play a role of fire fighting in daily business operations which need numerous tactical and strategic issues to encounter and solve. The decision-making process is primarily influenced by individual-based approach and varies between individuals.
Dr. John Senior From Different Corners
I am writing to you today as an educator and as a life-long learner. My topic is: does outcomes-based education or OBE do more harm than good? I will begin by defining outcomes-based education, then outlining major international examples of its failure - after which I will discuss key reasons for that failure and leave you with a possible solution.
First of all, what is OBE? In practice, it means teaching and assessing students based on specific outcome statements instead of a set syllabus. What is deemed to be important for a course is set out in a series of statements which begin something like this: The student will: demonstrate, apply, use, perform, etc. The students are then taught according to those statements and evaluated as to their progress against those statements and nothing else.
An interesting question with OBE is, does OBE assessment reflect and support learning or hamper student success? In OBE assessment, marks are weighted per stated outcome, firmly limiting the range of marks attainable per response by a student. This can have negative consequences in the real world. For example, if Albert Einstein had taken an OBE math test whose outcomes included adherence to set norms, he might well have scored badly or even failed the test. OBE limits an educator’s ability to award marks according to their expert knowledge of student and subject, instead of forcing mark allocation according to pre-determined norms with no allowance for divergent thinking or alternative responses.
The next question is, where has OBE failed? The answer is, everywhere, as educators, we have known for years that outcomes-based education isn’t producing good results; major experiments in OBE in the US with the so-called common core programs, saw the USA go from 7th in maths to 31st in international tests according to the USA today; in South Africa OBE was introduced as the National Qualifications Framework and rapidly saw South Africa tumble in world educational ranking to the bottom, number 148 out of 148 in maths and science according to the world economic forum rankings.
Why has it failed? To understand why OBE is failing so badly, my thoughts go back to the purpose of education as put by renowned educator John Dewey at the start of the 20th century. He asked a simple question: When we talk about teaching, are we talking about teaching rote facts and pre-ordained responses or are we talking about the ability to be creative thinkers and innovators. Dewey’s question sets up a dichotomy between rote learning and creativity. Each of these two things has its own place in the learning environment, but only one is served well by OBE.
OBE calls for the educator to teach every student the same thing in exactly the same way every time, this is rote learning, it is not student-centred; it is instead focused on the need for standardization of output. A prime example of this practice can be seen in the system of standardized testing now used for graduation in most school systems. Fact-based material such as grammar, business models, procedures, and simple mathematical equations are examples of how OBE serves the first of Dewey’s purposes of education well, but not the second, and in my opinion the more important, particularly for higher education.
Perhaps you see my bias creeping in here, I have witnessed how outcome-based education locks educators into only teaching to prescribed, specific goals. The problem with this is that there are only so many hours in a course and those outcomes must be mastered within that time. With time used up achieving “measurable” outcomes, less measurable, but higher- order learning - like creativity, thinking skills, divergent thinking, even social, practical, and artistic learning take second place, or are not learned at all.
Worse, and perhaps the key problem, is that outcomes are often treated as a one-shoe-fits-all solution by administrators who are trying to satisfy institutional licensure and program review requirements which have little to do with actual learning. Being driven by such requirements is a huge disadvantage if you want a well-rounded and complete education. The purpose of education should be to make students into well-informed thinkers who are aware of past knowledge, but able to creatively innovate and contribute in their future.
Teachers are experts in their field and experts in their knowledge of their own student’s learning capabilities. OBE systems, set up by and suited to administrative top-down “quality” requirements, do not serve the learning needs of individual students or complement the expert knowledge of classroom educators. Instead, they are intended to create academic rigor through some weird sort of pseudo-scientific knowledge outcome bean-counting exercise. In reality, outcomes induce a sort of intellectual stagnation - exactly because they are not learner-centred, or even educator-centred, and this must change.
The solution may be self-evident, it is to use outcomes where they have value, but not apply them where they inhibit or restrict learning. In other words, to move away from the all or nothing thinking behind the implementation of outcomes so that they become a tool used to teach and assess where appropriate. However, this solution will require a monumental shift away from the top-down managerial approach to learning which is pervasive today; a democratization of education if you will, where educators take back responsibility to educate from the managers who have usurped it. This will make outcomes a tool of learning - not just a means of regimenting institutional activity.
Let’s stop blindly insisting on outcomes as a universal panacea for measuring the success of education and make learning learner-centred again. Remember, this is not academic, it affects each one of us, students, educators and society alike - right here, right now. As students and educators, we must speak out and start the debate around relegating OBE to the parts of education where it suits best and promote better adapted assessment structures in other areas of learning.
Ms. Nadine Felix From Different Corners
As a product of the late 1970s and someone who grew up with the music of the 1980s, it is no wonder that I can seem to relate every topic that I write about to music. Even today’s topic on non-verbal communication and its importance in our ineractions with others starts with reference to a classic song. An old 1982 song by F.R. David starts with “Words, don’t come easy, to me”. I can most certainly relate to this. Sure, the song refers to words of love and how the singer struggles to express the emotion but the underlying sentiment can be extrapolated to fit in all areas of life.
I think that this is true for most of us. Words, in whichever language we choose to express ourselves, don’t come easily to most of us. This is most likely because our words carry significance. They carry weight and have immense impact. Words are important. This is an inescapable fact. Words let people express themselves. Words let others know what someone is feeling and what they are thinking. Words can sustain, uplift, improve, hurt or demotivate. Words are powerful tools. We, as humans, know this. We use our words to get what we want. We use our words to persuade. We use our words to scold. We use our words for a plethora of reasons. Yet, sometimes, words fail. Why is this? Words sometimes fail because the verbal language we are speaking does not match the non-verbal language we are displaying. We say something where the words are innocuous but people take offence. We then become confused how some seemly innocent verbal utterance from us could cause harm or discomfort.
An old cliché goes that “it is not WHAT you say but the WAY you say it”. A cliché is a cliché for a reason. It is an oft repeated phrase because at its core there is some truth, even if because of overuse it appears to lack originality and become trite. In this case it still seems to hold water. Our tone of voice can get us into trouble, even when we do not mean offence. Tone forms part of a list of non-verbal communication tools that everyone possesses. From small children who screw up their faces to signal that they will start to cry if they are not entertained immediately to silent looks of disapproval we send and receive in the workplace, we all use our arsenal of non-verbal communication tools. This is both a conscious and an unconscious process.
There is an argument to be made for the point that our nonverbal communication can often be more powerful and speak louder than our verbal communication. Think about a situation where you are sitting alone in a crowded room where you don’t know anyone. These days our first inclination will be to take out our phones and check email or whatever social media platform we are registered on. No-one will approach you. Why is this? No-one will approach you because you have closed yourself off, metaphorically, without having to explicitly state “don’t come near me”. Your phone becomes your focus and therefore people do not feel comfortable approaching you. You have created your comfort zone but other people have become uncomfortable. You will leave that room not having made a single contact and will most likely wonder why. Your body language spoke volumes without you having to utter a single syllable. Your body language might not reflect the true you but that is the message that was being sent at the time. For this reason, we need to be very careful of what our non-verbal communication says about us.
Non-verbal communication can be intentionally used in commanding ways and in this way can be a true asset to everyone. Non-verbal communication can become another method of expression and a wonderful tool in our communication arsenal. For this to be true we need to be very careful about what our non-verbal communication says about us. We need to be intentional and plan what our non-verbal communication conveys. This is true for both social and professional spaces. For the purposes of this short article, let us look at a five items of non-verbal communication and their impact in the workplace.
- First up is an issue of non-verbal communication that can be tricky for interpersonal reasons. Self-presentation, specifically related to grooming and clothes is something that most people under then need for. There are instances though where managers have to intervene. Why is this? It is simply because as we all know, our first impression is not made with our voices. Our first impression is made with our appearance. Whether this is politically correct or not can be argued for 100 pages but the sad fact is that this is the way the world currently works. In a workplace you must be well-groomed, by this it is meant that you must be smartly and appropriately dressed for your workplace, according to the norms and culture. What are some of the things you need to keep in mind as far as clothing and appearance are concerned in your cultural environment?
- Next, something simple that is so easy to get wrong is eye contact. Yes, even for this there are ‘guidelines’. Eye contact should be appropriate, not constant. If eye contact is constant you risk people thinking you are staring and therefore becoming upset. A good and simple rule to follow in the workplace is to always look someone in the eyes (please adjust for culturally appropriate interactions) but to look away once and a while. For example, you can look away when you are nodding. Don’t do things like look at your watch or your phone as people will think this means you are not interested in what they are saying. Also, do not tighten your eye muscles as this makes you look like you are frowning.
- Thirdly, facial expressions are usually the item that lets people inadvertently know what your mood is. In the workplace you should strive to have a positive and open expression. Your face will be looked at most while people are talking with you. In fact, this is the feature that most people will look at before they even approach you for help or advice. You want to make sure that you have an open and friendly expression on your face. You do not have to be smiling widely 24/7, but you do have to have a relaxed and pleasant look on your face. You do not want to frown or push your eyebrows together, or roll your eyes, even when you think no-one is watching you.
- Body language and positioning, mainly referring to posture is where you want to communicate your openness and get people to work with you. Have an open posture by keeping arms out and not crossed, standing or sitting up straight, turning your body towards the person who is talking. All these items will let people know that they can approach you.
- Finally, the article returns to the issue of tone of voice. Tones to try to emulate are soothing, understanding, sometimes to gain attention – woman are often taught to speak softly and have a ‘nice to listen to’ voice. Think about when we tell bedtime stories to children or sing them to sleep. This tone of voice is very appropriate for home but for the workplace you might need to make it a bit stronger. Men might want to reign in their ‘instinctive dominant’ tones.
In the end, these are just guidelines of parts of communication that you might like to take note of. Remember though, we don’t need words to communicate and therefore we need to ensure that our non-verbal signals are communicating the our intended message.
Dr. Kakul Agha From Different Corners
Life has not been easy for individuals and businesses across the globe during the year 2020 due to the constant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. All global reports indicate that the way organizations tried to respond to this sudden uncontrollable situation ranged from making keen efforts to understand and respond to the demands of the situation; improvising some internal factors to gain control on the situation; adapting to enhanced the use of tech-related solutions to reduce losses; synchronizing to new industry and national standards, and lastly, discovering new work procedures and employee issues. This year has been a roller-coaster ride with ups and downs, but indeed, providing a great learning experience for small and big firms. In other words, the firms adapt to the new normal which is a state to which an economy, society, etc. settles following a crisis, when this differs from the situation that prevailed prior to the start of the crisis. The term has been used following the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the aftermath of the 2008–2012 global recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
A host of interesting and timely international including Deloitte and Gartner reports opine that five critical steps may support and enable firms to bounce back and develop resilience in the post-COVID times. They include:
(1) Reflect: The leaders need to reflect and understand the situation in the context of their organization and the industry they operate in.
(2) Recommit: The leaders need to recommit to transiting the organization in order to recover from the situation by setting new commitments and priorities for the organization as well as the employees. It becomes critical for the leaders to communicate directly with their workforces on new priorities and business goals.
(3) Re-engage: Clear directions and priorities need to be conveyed by the leaders to the workforce where an understanding is generated about the skill and competence requirements of employees. In the new normal, the leaders need to involve workers in meaningful work where employees feel valued and be able to contribute to the demands of the new vision. Enough training is the key. New technology solutions need to be adopted by organizations as well.
(4) Re-thinking: Shifting away from rigid routine and structure is the requirement of the new normal. There is a need to closely communicate with everyone in the organization. Firms have even rethought about their vision and mission during the post-COVID times.
(5) Reboot: A pivot toward HR designed for speed, new ways of working, digital first, teams, adaptable organizational strategies, and changing business requirements is a pivotal decision. These five steps could be the game changers for resilient organizations post COVID era.
Dr. Mohammed Afifi KNOWLEDGE UPDATE
As the matter of fact, no one can deny that social media applications have become one of the most essential day-to-day activities that one cannot simply ignore or roughly overlook! I remember the early days of the last decade just before the start of the new millennium, when the Artificial Intelligence bots were designed to run a chat simulating a human to serve and even entertain users in certain discussion areas such as science, literature, or even general social talks. Now, and after more than two decades, the technology has been drastically developed and the evolution of similar media has taken other dimensions. With the restless telecommunication advancements that always strikes the community with everyday new technology generations, people became completely dependent on their smart devices and gadgets.
Social networks have become a necessary activity and even one of the most important means of communication in modern daily life. One of the main reasons why social media has gained this popularity in such a short time is the nature or the essence of human beings, which is, they are naturally social, living in groups or communities to maintain a civilized lifestyle. Over time, social media has developed and become an important part of our daily life. Beyond that, social media has developed much more than a random communication means, it has taken almost no time in transition to offer a variety of interesting activities within the service itself; for example, it provides a geographically limitless platform to connect with other people without meeting them in person. Also, it has been used in many other aspects such as creating groups of the same interest, passion, or profession. This is all considered to be the bright side of the story with the different services offered by different social networks such as general, professional, news, entertainment, and others. It has also proven its strength and value as an important means of communication during the current crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic when quarantine and lockdown have been applied to control the spread and limit the infection.
On the other hand, in many cases, social media usage has turned to be an addiction, and has been misused in many different ways that negatively affected real social life. People are not physically socializing the same way it used to be before the appearance of social media networks. For some people, they are fleeing actual life and chose to live their fantasies by creating a whole virtual life on cyberspace, thinking that they might have the life of their choice that they cannot get in real life.
Undisputedly, the future is not certain. Who can tell what will be the future of the social media in the coming few years? One can never be so sure, but we are social creatures after all. Keeping in mind that the Internet has revolutionized every aspect of our habits, any form of gathering that leads to either physical or virtual meetings, in particular, to communicate or socialize with others, will continuously be applied in some form or another, and will eventually bring about a full transformation of our lifestyle.
Prof. J. Shanmugan From Different Corners
This COVID-19 pandemic created a roller coaster ride for many business enterprises across the globe. All the business entities encountered numerous challenges, except the pharmaceutical and information technology businesses that are affected to only a minimal level due to logistics and supply chain issues. The majority of the sectors have been severely affected, especially the hospitality and tourism industry.
The digital divide is a major issue. Many customers experimented on the online platform for performing many of their basic professional, shopping, entertainment, fitness, and information needs. This will lead to changes in consumer behavioral dynamics, especially for the post-COVID-19 era. Evidence from research reveals that many adults’ behavior dramatically changed during this global pandemic because they were exposed to many websites and platforms. Taking advantage of this situation, marketers need to tap select business models to promote their businesses that were relatively better placed before the COVID-19. Incidentally, after every crisis, innovative business models emerge; hence, capitalizing on the right model of business is a crucial factor for the success of any enterprise. Stifled demand will be there for select products and services, and will offer opportunities. On the other hand, many business models and strategies become obsolete. For the success of any business enterprise, it is mandatory that contribution from all the stakeholders is very much significant, considering the current economic situations and GDP statistics are the clear indicators that reflect the weak consumer and investor sentiment. The gradual unraveling which is happening across industries depends on the severity of COVID-19. Hence, marketers must embrace the challenges they faced during this period and identify the suitable online platform relative to the individual entities. Many enterprises deployed hybrid models, eventually cost-cutting and enhancing business viability. With the significant reduction in marketing budget across companies, customer engagement online, Omnichannel marketing, digital efficacy, virtual reality, etc. are the new normal.
Bigger enterprises have more chances of surviving compared to small scale industries due to working capital issues that eventually lead to marketing revenue and other functional departments. At a global level, every country started announcing economic packages to create both supply and demand. Varied approaches by the select country’s economic packages are largely influenced by the political agenda. Hence, the real demand pick up will be noticed only after the normalcy returns based on consumer confidence, and when customers started spending more like the pre-COVID-19 levels. Greater scope of consumer priorities may change in the post-COVID-19 era due to a healthy lifestyle, and branded products and services may have better leverage in the near future.
Most of the consumers are at home during the crisis and most of the events are happening through a virtual platform, and having a strong technical system in place becomes vital for every sector. With the digital eco-system, an increased need to understand and apply technology by navigating and building customer relationships 24/7 is the mantra in the post-COVID-19 era. The Coronavirus pandemic is a tech-opener for business organizations and it’s the responsibility of every enterprise to invest in the right instruments.