Dr. Hakim Meshreki, Assistant Professor at American University in Cairo, struggled with engaging his students in the classroom. At the end of the year when it was time for the course evaluations, a single word emerged as the most prominent on Wordle–boring. He knew he had to take action to transform his students’ learning experience to get them excited to step foot in the classroom. So how did he change his students’ mindsets toward learning from ‘bored' to ‘excited’?
In 2015, Dr. Meshreki’s Introduction to Business course checked all of the boxes for a required learning course. It was taught traditionally—with presentations, quizzes, an end-of-semester project, and exams.
“It was really, an extremely boring course. Students were really bored in this course,” Dr. Meshreki replied. “We thought of introducing the Foundation simulation as a way to work in the flipped classroom method. So you give students real-world situations, a mortar of experiential learning opportunities. And they start exploring how different departments in the business interact, and what kind of decisions they need to take.”
Dr. Meshreki realized students didn’t have real-world experiences. “They had no idea how a business functions,” he said.
As the CEO of Mena Company for Adhesives Technology, “Menatec,” Dr. Meshreki is not only an academic but also a practitioner. As an instructor, he realized many educators teach theory without knowledge application–or even numbers to make a case.
“Teaching only theory in the classroom isn’t the way to teach anymore,” Dr. Meshreki said. “Simulations help revamp the way we teach–the way the classroom is set up–even the physical setup of the classroom changed. Because it's no longer just lecturing, it's more group work, students making decisions, collaborating and discussing in class about what happened last time, what could we have done to improve our decisions?”
The results were instantaneous. “Students are more engaged.”
"By giving students a real-world situation—a mortar of experiential learning opportunity— they start exploring how different departments in the business interact and what kind of decisions they need to take. Students come after trying out the simulation, craving for information to assist them to play."
“If I can sum it up, it's the spirit and the passion that changed inside the classroom. We went from a more mono lecturing technique with only the professor leading, and maybe students asking a few questions, to hosting open discussions. Very soon, the students became more engaged. They're much much more willing to participate. You can feel the difference between the before and after of implementing Foundation into the classroom."
With the increase in engagement came an increase in demand. Since implementing Foundation into the American University in Cairo, the program experienced a 405% increase in course demand, growing from 90 students in three sections to 470 students across 13 sections.
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