The Story of Saif Academy
The story begins back in 2011, when I worked at the University of Technology - Department of Computer Sciences, I was a Lab. supervisor and assigned to teach Oracle database and forms developer subject for the 3rd and 4th level students, for anybody who worked with Oracle software knows how tedious the process of installing the Oracle DBMS and the forms Builder especially on Windows machines.
I saw the trouble and headache that the students go through trying to install and run the Oracle software system on their laptops, so I thought the best way to do this by making videos about it, this made things easy for me for the installation process requires many steps and configurations it was not practical to give a lecture about it or to explain the process with each student for the long time it takes, so recording videos idea seemed perfect.
So I used a screen capture software to record the installation process with all the steps required, with my voice commenting on every single step, I decided not to show my face on the videos for two reasons: the first one was I didn’t have a good web cam. at the moment and the second one was my laziness, for if I was to record myself then I would have to worry about dressing good, wash my face, adjust my hair and all that unnecessary stuff :)
I created a YouTube channel and uploaded the videos and gave the links to the students, The students liked the idea and Oracle Installation problem was solved once and for all.
As I was preparing the lectures for the Oracle Lab. subjects, encouraged by the acceptance of the Oracle installation videos, I thought why not recording the material for these lectures, it seemed a good idea for many reasons, one of them is to make an archive of lectures for me as a future reference that I can get back to at any time, the students can benefit greatly from this because the lectures are accessible at any time the student want, if the student could not make it to the lecture at that day, he/she can catch up with the rest of the class by watching the video, another fundamental point is that I believe that all students can learn anything the difference between one another is the pace they learn with, I mean every individual student has his/her own speed of learning subjects, some students gets it from the first time the teacher give the lectures, others need to focus more they need the lecture to be repeated, and this can be done by videos the student now can watch the lecture any time he/she want, the lecture can be paused, repeated, most importantly the lecture now can be watched before it given in class. As students preparing for their exams they don’t have to worry about how the teacher explained a specific subject, the lectures are there forever, thanks to Google.
As the years rolled by I admired the Khan Academy story, I admired Salman Khan who is the creator of Khan academy I saw all of his speeches, read his book, watched a great deal of his videos in math during my master’s study it helped me greatly. I was inspired by him I consider him my role model, I liked the way he layout the lecture his intelligent way to give it in a friendly manner with nice sense of humor which is always good. the humbleness he has, made me realize that our way of giving lectures is wrong. I realized that in order to give a lecture we have to give it from our hearts with joy and in a fun way this will reach the student's mind and touch his/her heart. and I know as a fact if you are a good teacher and you want to benefit your students, make them love the subject you teach.
Now I teach programming in C++ and all the lectures I gave are recorded on YouTube for anyone to benefit from, and I made to myself a promise to keep doing this as long as I see it brings benefit to students, I have a great feedback from my students, well I feel that I helped them I saw how their grades are improving and most importantly they started to love programming (well some of them not I hope to change that) and that is enough for me to know that I did a good job at least.
The video recording process is tiring and it need a lot of work and preparations, and I become lazy sometimes or loaded with responsibilities at work, troubles of life and other things but always with the thought of coming back to sit down and just make videos.