March 24, 2011
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Former Algerian prime minister addresses Metro State students via Skype
Former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Benbitour
Economics students at Metropolitan State College of Denver recently held a live discussion with a special guest from the Middle East, thanks to Skype. The use of the popular communications technology helps students to quickly update information they’ve learned from textbooks, says Economics Professor Mohammed Akacem.
“The only way to effectively marry textbook theory with economic realities is to do so with real people,” says Akacem, who, on Thursday, March 17 gathered about 20 students and guests in his Economics of the Middle East class to listen to a live presentation from former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Benbitour. “With so much changing in the Middle East today, this teaching strategy is one of the more important elements we can offer students to ensure information is both current and relevant for studying global economics.”
Following his remarks about the current political and economic development in the Middle East, Benbitour answered questions from students about macroeconomics, strategic alliances, privatization versus nationalism and Middle East stability. Each student presented their questions to the former prime minster in English with responses translated by Akacem from French and Arabic into English.
In preparation for the Skype presentation, students were provided an exclusive advance preview of one of his presentations at a political forum that was later aired on PressTV.
Akacem says, “Not only are we able to connect students to finance and oil ministers from around the world, but I know for a fact that this type of first hand exposure helps my students retain the information.”
One student commented as she left the classroom that she turned her best friend down for lunch that day because she already had an appointment with the former Prime Minister of Algeria.
Akacem started experimenting with Skype for class lectures during his study abroad program held in Kuwait in December 2010, when several guest lecturers used Skype to join classroom discussion.