SJSU Faculty Return From Pakistan after Participating in the Final Faculty Exchange of the Three Year PDEEP Grant



On January 7, 2016  four San Jose State University [SJSU] faculty members left for Pakistan on a ten day trip filled with lots of learning and excitement. Pictured above is Professor Jason Laker, Lecturer Minna Holopainen, Professor Mohammad Saleem, and Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program [PDEEP] Project Director Mark Adams at the airport.

As this three year US State Department funded grant nears its’ end,  this was the final faculty exchange. The photos below give a small glimpse into the what their ten day trip included.



Professor Mohammad Saleem, PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, Professor Jason Laker, and Lecturer Minna Holopainen stand together in front of the  new Accessibility Center in Pakistan and were gifted with beautiful flowers.



Dr. Daud (Allama Iqbal Open University), PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, SJSU Professor Stand in shopping mall in Pakistan.



Dinner with Dr. Sangi and his wife and son. This was their final dinner before leaving for the United States.


Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) , Dr. Siddiqui is pictured here with Professor Jason Laker (SJSU), Lecturer Minna Holopainen (SJSU), Dr. Afshan Huma (AIOU) and Dr. Nasir  Mahomood (AIOU).



PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, AIOU Vice Chancellor Dr. Siddiqui, and SJSU Lecturer Minna Holopainen met to review the progress of the grant and lay out next steps to make the gains sustainable.


The regional directors who accompanied their students, who were so kind to travel 30 hours — by bus–from Umerkot, and 11 hours from D.G. Khan. In spite of being tired they had great energy and enthusiasm and the strong will to give their students a chance at a better life, no matter the challenges.


Pictured here are the student interns once more. Their hard work and dedication is very appreciated.


Inside the new AIOU Accessibility Centre. Once again Congratulations AIOU !



Pictured above is Dr. Mohammad Saleem (SJSU) having dinner in Pakistan.


PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams and SJSU Lecturer Minna Holopainen pictured in lobby of hotel in Islamabad.


PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams and girls on field trip to Pakistan Monument and Museum.


PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams in Lok Versa, Pakistan.

visittoFaisal Mosque_Trip3.jpg

PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, Dr. Daud Khattak (AIOU ), Lecturer Minna Holopainen (SJSU), and Professor Jason Laker (AIOU) pictured in front of the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad.


PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, PDEEP Contract Manager Atif Farooq (AIOU), Professor Jason Laker (SJSU), Lecturer Minna Holopainen (SJSU) and U.S. State Department’s Richard Boyum are pictured in front of a three story bookstore.


PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, SJSU Professor Jason Laker, and SJSU Lecturer Minna Holopainen are pictured at Fatima Jinnah Women University, where presentations were delivered on COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) and Gender Studies issues.


AIOU Professor Moiz, SJSU Professor Mohammad Saleem, PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams, AIOU’s Ms. Shabnam, and SJSU Professor Jason Laker are pictured here at AIOU.


SJSU Lecturer Minna Holopainen helped hand out certificates to e-Tutor trainees along with AIOU’s Professor Daud. There were 50 e-tutors trained at this session; and Professor Daud and Professor Zahid had just come from training another 200 at four AIOU Regional Centers.


SJSU Professor Jason Laker helped hand out certificates as well.


Ten computer science student interns in telecommuting presented their progress on five projects.  One male and one female student were selected from each regional center, in Umerkot, D.G. Khan, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. Then they were presented with Certificates and $100 stipend pledges upon completion of this first internship project. Then the chair of CS Dr. Sangi and the Vice Chancellor of AIOU Dr. Siddiqui each spoke. This followed with tea and conversation  with the students. It was very inspiring to see the students–the start of promising careers! The next phase will have SJSU Professor Debra Caires guide them through agile software methods on another round of training them for telecommuting. This is a very risky, but very innovative project that if successful will be a potential “game changer” for poor students in remote areas.


Pictured above is SJSU Lecturer Minna Holopainen with State Department Representative Neal Murata. The SJSU faculty members met with State Department Representatives to share their ideas, accomplishments, challenges, and suggestions for future projects. It was also an opportunity to thank the State Department for funding the 3.5 year effort of PDEEP.



Pictured here is SJSU Professor Mohammad Saleem, Dr. Daud Khattak (AIOU), and PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams prior to a meeting of the AIOU and SJSU teams who reported on their work.


Pictured above are SJSU Professor Jason Laker, SJSU Lecturer Minna Holopainen, and PDEEP Project Director Mark Adams in the lobby of their hotel in Islamabad.


Congratulations AIOU : E-Tutor Training Conducted at Regional Campus in Peshawar, Pakistan


Congratulations to both Allama Iqbal Open Univeristy [AIOU] and San Jose State University [S.J.S.U] for collaborating and creating a great online tutor program for students all over the provinces. This program is self-paced and a multimedia e-tutor guide that was developed by diligent Professors from both universities. Dr. Mohammad Saleem [S.J.S.U], Dr. Daud Khattak [ AIOU] , and Zahid Majeed [AIOU] worked to help students gain new skills and techniques to encompass the versatility and benefits of an e-campus.






Pakistan’s Minister of IT, Anusha Rahman Khan, receives U.N.’s prestigious “GEM-TECH Global Achievers” Award for 2015


Congratulations to the Minister of State for IT, Mrs. Anusha Rahman Khan, the prestigious “GEM – TECH Global Achievers” award for 2015!

We hope that our initiatives within The Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program [PDEEP]  grant and Allama Iqbal Open University’s [AIOU] innovative student internship in telecommuting program demonstrate that we support all of your efforts.

Check out the article here


AIOU Students Speak out on Lecture Series with SJSU

In October with the help of web- based tools, San Jose State University  [S.J.S.U.]  and Allama Iqbal Open University [AIOU] held a three day lecture series.  Three AIOU students were asked about their experiences in participating in the lecture series and their responses can be seen below.

Ms. Salima Begum, PhD Scholar, Faculty of Education, AIOU.

1)    What does it mean to you to be able to speak with people in a different country about the areas you are studying? 

Education is an opportunity to explore experiences of people working in different countries. In the context of teaching and learning, interacting with education professionals across the globe is critical to learning from each other experiences, system and practices. Classroom assessment, particularly formative assessment is an emerging need of Pakistani classroom. As classroom teachers, teacher educator, I found that assessment in Pakistan is not aligned with teaching/learning process. Therefore, interacting with people of other countries is learning opportunity through sharing experiences and research. The sessions organized by Dr. Zahid Majeed in the collaboration with San Jose State University, USA were extremely important to learn and sharing experience of US scholars/experts. The session on “E-Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes” led by Professor Bobbi Makani and supported by Dr. Zahid Majeed was worth appreciating. I learnt different aspects of assessment with reference to e-learning and also using technology in assessing eLearning programs. One of the significant aspects of the session was use of rubric in assessment. The sessions also broaden my horizon and enabled me to think out of box to study different dimension of assessment and e-learning. The session conducted by Mark Adams was also eye opener for us as we were oriented about eCampus by the presenter.

2) In 2-4 sentences can you tell us about something that really impacted you positively that one of the SJSU faculty shared with you? 

There were many aspects of the session that were noteworthy learning opportunities, but the using rubric in assessment, eCampus and social inclusion were something new that contributed significantly in improving my understanding of eLearning. Using rubric in assessment both, formative and summative provide robust evidence of students learning and performance. The enthusiasm and commitment of Mark Adams, Minna Holopainen, Brockmann and Dr. Bobbi towards learning and acquiring new knowledge was inspiring for me and it helped me to devise my vision for my studies and my professional development. It was very fruitful to learn new learning strategies as a PhD scholar.

Mr. Muhammad Bashir, PhD Scholar, AIOU

1)      What does it mean to you to be able to speak with people in a different country about the areas you are studying? 

It means alot to me as its always great to hear from someone who is from other culture and academic background. The experience was great because it provided me an opportunity to hear a different perspective about eLearning. The online engagement with a foreign Professor has improved my understanding about eLearning. The interaction helped me to learn a different view point by a person who is not from our educational system. In this globalized world, it is very important to learn perspectives from multiple people and improve our worldview about different educational and professional issues. Overall, it was a great experience and it will help me my academics and professional duties.

2) In 2-4 sentences can you tell us about something that really impacted you positively that one of the SJSU faculty shared with you? 

Although all the lectures and interactions were very informative and useful but there were two major things that really impacted me positively:

  1.  The global perspective on eLearning helped me to improve my basic ideas about the eLearning. Now, I can see things in international perspective and my vision is broader as the result of my interaction with a SJSU faculty.
  2. Secondly, I saw the integration of technology in education, that was really impacted me at personal level. eAssessment, COIL, eCampus and Social inclusions really appreciable discussions and interactions with all the Professors.

Mr. Abd ul Qayyum, PhD Scholar, Faculty of Education, AIOU.

1) What does it mean to you to have to speak with people in a different country about the areas you are studying? 

It is always a learning experience while talking with people of different areas, cultures and religions. It provides an opportunity to make innovations in our existing knowledge.

2) In 2-4 sentences can you tell us about something that really impacted you positively that one of the SJSU faculty shared with you? 

It was life time opportunity to interact with SJSU professors. I have learnt a lot about eLearning. I learned alot from the thought provoking ideas of the SJSU faculty professors. Thank especially to Professor Zahid Majeed Sahib who made it possible.

Thanks to

Professor Mark Adams, Professor Bettina BrockMann, Professor ishan, Professor Bobbi Makani, Professor Mina, and professor Zahid Majeed for the precious lectures.






San Jose State University and Allama Iqbal Open University Made Headlines with Computer Science Lecture Series

Check out the articles  below on  the  joint Computer Science  Workshop with Allama Iqbal Open University [AIOU] and San Jose State University [S.J.S.U.]

Third and Final Faculty Exchange



(Pictured above from left to right are Dr. Afshan Huma, Dr. Tanveer Afzal, Project Director Mark Adams, Professor Mohammad Saleem, and Dr. Nasir Mahmood. The final day of the faculty exchange included receive certificates for completing the three week program.)

The Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program is nearing the end and what a  wonderful journey it has been.

The third and final faculty exchange program ended on November 20, 2015 and  it was filled with hard work and excitement.   Below you will find pictures from this final faculty exchange where  San Jose State University [S.J.S.U] was fortunate enough to have  four wonderful faculty members  come from Allama Iqbal Open University [AIOU] in Islamabad Pakistan for three weeks.


Pictured above from left to right are Professor Mohammad Saleem, Sandee Adams, Dr. Nasir Mahmood, Dr. Afshan Huma, Dr. Tanveer Afzal, and Project Director Mark Adams.


Pictured is Dr. Nasir Mahmood with a San Jose State Student. As part of the three week workshop, the AIOU faculty members did numerous classroom visits.


From left to right, pictured above, are Dr. Afshan Huma, Dr. Tanveer Afzal, Dr. Nasir Mahmood, and Andrew Roderick. This picture was taken at San Francisco State University [S.F.S.U.] where the AIOU faculty attended a workshop given by Andrew Roderick.


Pictured above are Dr. Tanveer Afzal, Dr. Nasir Mahmood, and Dr. Afshan Huma speaking to a classroom of S.J.S.U students. This opportunity was provided by Professor Jason Laker for opening up his classroom to our faculty members and Project Director Mark Adams for arranging three weeks full of different workshops.  This was just one of many classroom visits that AIOU faculty were provided.


Pictured is Dr. Tanveer Afzal speaking with a small group of S.J.S.U. Students.


Pictured here are the AIOU faculty members attending a session with SJSU Accessible Education Center leaders Cindy Marota and Ryan Brady.


The third and final faculty exchange closed with a lunch celebration for the AIOU faculty members and as a way to celebrate the completion of the three week workshop. The lunch included great conversation, wonderful food, and outstanding company.

Final Faculty Exchange – Dr. Afshan Huma [AIOU]

The third and final Faculty Exchange  took place  over a three week span that started in October and ended in November. As the  Pakistan Distance Education Enhancement Program [PDEEP]  rapidly approaches its’ three year  deadline, the faculty exchange was a wonderful way to end our term. Below  Dr. Afshan Huma from Allama Iqbal Open University [AIOU] describes here experience in participating in the final faculty exchange and beautifully articulates her overall experience with PDEEP.

It was Oct 30th 2015 when we reached at San Jose. I already had a feeling that the upcoming three weeks would be another worthwhile learning experience for me, and indeed it was! I came with an  idea that this is going to be a three weeks’ workshop about online teaching, tutoring, course development and instructional design. But the schedule that our coordinator shared with us on the second day of our arrival made it clear to me that it is much more than what I was expecting it to be. On the first day of our visit we went to see Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. The clouds float on this city and just above the bridge all day, which makes it look more like a fantasy world. There in the Crooked Street I felt that people here have some unique ideas. One cannot believe how a city is built on hills with such steep roads. And then designing one of these streets in such a fabulous way that it attracts all the tourists around. 

On the second day we had a walkabout, at the San Jose State University with our coordinator Mark Adams. He became a friend in no time. We visited a place called “Tech-shop” that made me realize what we need at our engineering universities in Pakistan to ensure that our extremely talented youth may be able to utilize their potentials. It is a place where the tech people studying or working anywhere can get enrolled themselves and try out their ideas by using the most expensive equipment that they cannot afford themselves. Thus it provides them a lab where they can run experiments and develop prototype. What an amazing facility for fresh graduates and students. I have had the experience of learning online as well as travelling to UK and US for my higher studies. I have been teaching in Pakistan for many years and always wanted my students to have some kind of exposure with the teaching and learning communities around the world. The Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning is one of the best elements of PDEEP which makes my dream come true. This will be a wonderful experience  for the students sitting in Pakistan to collaborate and interact with the faculty and students at SJSU. Instead of going on into the details of each workshop I would like to describe the take-aways for me. First and foremost was the discussion with professor Debbie Faires about the quality indicators of online courses and managing online classrooms. It was a detailed discussion that demystified many of the blur perceptions I had and removed my fears as well. In the discussions with Prof. Rick Kepple I enjoyed the way he involved all of us and made us re-think our own practices with the lens of “innovation” and “entrepreneurship”. We keep doing experimentation within our own classrooms but never think of many of the impossibilities to turn into possibilities as we move on. We sometimes end up in such working environment that we tend to stop experimenting and feel ok with all that is going on. In such circumstances a dialogue with our self is necessary to recollect the energy and deconstruct our own practices and perspectives.  Prof. Rick helped us do it very nicely. Professor Bettina’s workshop on Social Inclusion for the persons with disabilities was another thought provoking conversation. She had designed such activities that we could closely look at our own education system in connection with the societal attitudes and behaviors towards people with disabilities. We were able to think further and chart down some strategies for including special children in mainstream schools instead of separate special schools. Accessibility center at San Jose is undoubtedly a state of the art provision for all students with special  needs. A  detailed demo and conversation helped us understand the philosophy of inclusion and accessibility more explicitly. Professor Saleem is a Pakistani faculty member who remained a big support n help since we landed until we departed. We could see his teaching in his classroom. Two more faculty members also provided this chance. It was interesting to learn about various pedagogical modes of classrooms. Prof Saleem also shared his work for online student support.
Expandibility and CommUniverCity, are two amazing examples of university and community linkage. The visit and meetings at both places helped us learn more innovative ways to engage students in more and more community services as well as paving their way towards a successful professional life ahead. Visits and tours to Polycom, Google, and San Francisco State University, enabled us to identify more and more resources of how to utilize the latest available technological support to help our distant learners.  The founder of Policom sits in a small cabin among hundreds of other employees. Having all the facilities available within the building, the employees do not need to worry about the outer world once they are in here. The best innovation they recently did in conference phones is acoustic fence. The phone recognizes the voices of people around the table and then creates an acoustic fence out of which no noise will be captured by the phone. Last but not the least we visited Google headquarters.Google has a whole campus where the employees, called “googlers”, it is a campus life in its own way, they have a wholesome life at their workplace. They eat for free all day and have all facilities including even gym and showers available to spend 24 hours on campus. They have their own time schedules and they work to perform. The campus has google bikes which are free to ride. Anyone can take one bike and rides from one building to another. The four color bikes add more to the color of the campus.  
Now I know why this region is so proudly named as “silicon valley”; it is actually an amazing place which nourishes intellect and innovation. People here keep talking about novel ideas and they know they have the right place to coin the ideas. The classrooms and labs are called incubators where they provide the most suitable environment to let the pre-mature ideas grow into an innovation/invention. Here every university introduces itself by the eminent faculty and alumni. Especially Stanford and Berkeley campuses have the faculty members who have given this world remarkable discoveries. Only Berkley and Stanford alone have around fifty Nobel laureates. These people are the pride of these universities. They are the VIPs. They only take pride in their achievements. San Jose is known for the tech industry. The tech museum exhibits all the marvels done by the people of silicon valley such as Google earth to eyesight glasses filled with water. When you go around the streets and roads of san Jose u cannot miss the huge buildings of all the famous IT companies including Intel, Dell, Adobe Motorola Yahoo and Google. I must say these people exactly know and believe in facilitating individuals to the limit where they only need to worry about work and nothing else, hence they also take pride in their achievements only .