Sunday, August 10, 2003

Find links to photos and student blogs here:

The class is over now. It has been great fun. If anyone wants the page above updated just write me at vstevens at pi.ac.ae (I don't give my email address online anymore in a way it can be read by spammers).

The students presented their blogs to each other in class. Vance prepared worksheets with each student's name and the audience filled in their reactions as they listened. The worksheets were cut into strips and sets of feedback on his presentation was given to each presenter.

Speaking of feedback, here's more reader reaction to our blogs:

Hi, Vance,

I just looked through a few of your student blogs, your website
detailing your students assignments, and your instructions for making
a blog. It seems your students quite enjoyed this project and some
made very impressive blogs, including photos.

Thanks to the encouragement of you and other WIA bloggers, I'm
getting more and more interested in trying this out for myself.
Perhaps we could add a 25th hour to the day just to play with and
learn on the Internet:-)

Chris Jones


Hi Vance,

as you know, I'm in Denmark and studying how to use online tools and
communication in education. I've enjoyed follow your blogging class at the Petroleum Institute and by reading some blogs from your studdents, I did learn quite a bit
about their lives and interests. I will look forward to learn more about their
visit to the refinery!

I do have a few questions to ask:
1. Is the Summer school at the Petroleum Institute part of your obligatory school studies curriculum, or did you decide to learn more in the holidays while others are on vacation?

2. How many years do you need to study to become a petroleum engineer?

3. Will you have to pay an expensive school fee to go to university in the United Arab Emirates, or is higher education free for all?

As I was visiting Norway, another Petroleum-rich country last week, I met some workers from Norsk Hydro at Porsgrund and wanted to show you a relevant homepage about Norwegian petroleum refinery. Hydro claims to be one of the four greatest off-shore refineries in the world! Have a look and explore this homepage on your own; you could always use your blog to share what you find, even if classes are coming to an end: http://www.hydrooilandenergy.com/en/our_activities/exploration/

Yours, Sus Nyrop in Denmark
(a friend of Vance's)

Susanne and Chris,

Thanks very much for responding to my students' blogs. I posted your reactions at http://vance-pi.blogspot.com/ and showed them to my students in class. They were REALLY PLEASED that someone had read their blogs and responded. I told them they could answer Susanne's questions in the CALL lab after class. At least one did:


We weren't able to see these sites yesterday because the Internet wasn't working, so we saw them on Tuesday:

How oil refining works

"The various components of crude oil have different sizes, weights and boiling temperatures; so, the first step is to separate these components. Because they have different boiling temperatures, they can be separated easily by a process called fractional distillation. "

Someone who lives in Ruwais has a homepage:

The Ruwais Refinery, with map to its location

The Ruwais refinery is owned by ADNOC, though its subsidiary, The Abu Dhabi Refining Company (Takreer). The plant is located in the United Arab Emirates. It was originally commissioned in June 1981, and was officially inaugurated in March 1982.

The present capacity of the refinery is 132,000 barrels/day, thanks to a $100 million upgrade in 1995. The total plant capacity after expansion will be 280,000 barrels/day of condensate processing with associated downstream facilities.

The existing plant comprises 2 LNG fractionation trains, propane and butane liquefied storage, pentane storage and exporting facilities. The project work will consist mainly of the revamping of the 2 existing LNG fractionation trains and refrigeration systems, the mercaptan removal sections and a sulphur recovery unit.

Takreer is considering expanding its facilities yet further. The company may expand the plant to have a capacity of 500,000 barrels/day. Takreer is also trying to find ways to reduce the amount of waste and develop recycling procedures and techniques. The new optimism over future investment is allowed by the recovery in oil prices. As this is expected to last, there is a real possibility of substantial further investment.

From http://www.nofexportclub.org/events/mission.asp?missionID=123

"The UAE has two refineries operated by ADNOC. The Ruwais refinery has a capacity of 145,000 bbl/d. It produces light products mainly for export to Japan and India. Fuel oil from Ruwais is sold as bunkers by ADNOC and also used for domestic electric power generation. A $480-million contract was awarded to the Italian engineering firm Technip in June 2002 for an expansion of the Ruwais complex to a capacity of 500,000 bbl/d, including refits of existing units and expansion of units for production of unleaded gasoline and low-sulfur fuel oil. Work under this contract is to be completed by 2005. UAE has five smaller refineries."
From http://www.uae.gov.ae/Government/oil_gas.htm#Refineries

"In the UAE there are six refineries operational at present and the existing refining capacity in the region is estimated to be around 800,000 tones. Development of downstream industries such as refineries and petrochemical plants is a central part of UAE efforts to move away from crude oil exports. Major plans are under way to construct new refineries and increase the capacity of existing ones in order to attain production of 180,000 bd by the year 2000. Abu Dhabi is presently in the middle of a five - year (1997–2002) development project aimed at boosting refining capacity. ADNOC’s US $600 million Ruwais refinery upgrading project is just one of the many down stream projects that are included in the programme. Others include a 35,000 bd refinery plant in Fujairah and the Dh 600 million Sharjah re finery at Hamriyyah Free Zone, which commenced operations in mid-1999."

Tuesday, August 05, 2003


Students group up and make points to outline what they might write about their trip and then set off on a freewrite. This would result in a blog entry which they would make in the lab. I'll correct their entries overnight, and they can perfect it in lab next day.

A reader reacts to student blogs

Scott is in Canada but he is coming to work in the UAE. He was reading some of the Oasis Achievers class blogs this past weekend. He wrote me from Canada ...

Scott: I see you are blogging. Nice work. I'm checking out some of your student blogs now.

Scott: geez Vance I just learned more about the UAE by reading 3 of your student blogs than I have in all the hours I've spent researching the country on travel and gov't sites. The personal anecdotes give me great insight on their perspectives. Even something like collecting marbles is really interesting to me as an outsider.

Scott was looking at Abdulla Mohammed's blog: http://mobytrice.blogspot.com/

Ali Al Ammari has solved the Evil Landlady action maze. We heard from him how he did it, and followed up with an Evil Landlady crossword puzzle

Featured Blogs

Salem wrote a good story about a shipwreck and being marooned on an island: http://saloooom.blogspot.com

Ali Khalifa has quoted from an Internet source correctly: http://ali-k.blogspot.com/

Hassan Ismail's blog got me thinking about whether 'a lot of kinds of' was correct. I mean, it's correct grammatically, but it doesn't sound natural.

Let's check the Hong Kong VLC concordancer: http://www.edict.com.hk/concordance/WWWConcappE.htm

- Write the word in the Search String field
- Choose a corpus: LOB is a large one
- Sort left

Look for
- 'a lot of kinds' vs 'all kinds'?

How do they do that?

Some students have special effects in their blogs. Let's ask them to show us how they did it:

AbdulRahman Al Hashimi: http://uae007.blogspot.com/ showed us how to copy Javascript code and paste it just after the 'Body' statement in the HTML template.
Khalifa Said: http://khalifa.blogspot.com/ was absent unfortunately.

Later in the lab the students found a good source for Javascript code here:

These students put some Javascript effects in their Blogs when they got to the lab:
Abdullah Mhmd: http://mobytrice.blogspot.com/
Abdulrahman Darwish: http://delmawee77.blogspot.com/
Ahmad Khamees: http://alzaim1001.blogspot.com
Ahmad Hasan: http://ahmedalhosani.blogspot.com/
Ali Al-Ammari: http://ali-al-ammari.blogspot.com/
Ali Khalifa: http://ali-k.blogspot.com/
Essa put a chat room at his site: http://ro7uae.blogspot.com
Mhmd Rashid prompts visitors for a name: http://uae.blogspot.com/

Free Writing

We wrote about what we expected would happen on the trip next day to the Ruwais oil fields.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Class on TUESDAY AUGUST 5, 2003

Just for Fun!

The Evil Landlady Action Maze credited to Martin Holmes

- We'll go through the maze together, taking options as a class
- vocabulary development: record unfamiliar words for a later crossword

landlady - a woman who rents rooms in her house
rude - impolite
tolerate - put up with
revenge - doing something to someone because they did something to you
apologize - say you are sorry
scour - to clean completely, or to look for something thoroughly
abominable - extremely rude or terrible
immigration - an office in government dealing with visitors to the country
status - situation
interfere - place yourself in the way of something
dictate - make firm rules to apply to others
scruffy - poor appearance
charming - pleasing and persuasive
scarcely - hardly ever
bulge - a bump caused by something hidden
deport - send someone back to their home country

Who should work harder, teachers or students?

- Students group according to opinion, then divide into subgroups
- Each student must write down one reason to support his opinion
- Someone in the group presents the group view to the class

Featured blogs:

Ali Khoori has a great beginning to a story!

Badr's blog got me wondering if you could say 'go to cinema' so I checked a concordancer.

Concordance ...

'to cinema', or 'to the cinema'?
Other interesting words: weekend, home

Let's check the Hong Kong VLC concordancer: http://www.edict.com.hk/concordance/WWWConcappE.htm

- Write the word in the Search String field
- Choose a corpus: LOB is a large one
- Sort left

Look for
- 'to cinema' vs 'to the cinema'
- 'at the weekend' vs. 'this weekend' or 'last weekend'
- 'go home' or 'return home' vs. 'go to home' (shouldn't be any) or verb + 'the home" (probably none)


In the Lab

Get ready to PRESENT your blog, last day of class
- Each student will do a 3 to 4 min presentation of his blog

Explore other routes through The Evil Landlady Action Maze
- Tell us in your blog what you are doing (Exploring the ELAM)
- Write down what happens if ...

Visit this site: How Stuff Works at: http://www.howstuffworks.com
- For example, How Mobiles Work
- Record in your blog some amazing fact

Correct your blogs the teacher hands back to you
Introduce ideas from your freewrites

Sunday, August 03, 2003


Warm up: Phrase of the day

"You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?"

Game time!

Part 1

- Each person takes a puzzle sheet.
- Get in a group of all the students with the same puzzle as yours.
- Solve the puzzle. The first word is done for you.

You now have one of five sentences in the secret message!

Part 2

- Form groups so that EACH person in the group has a DIFFERENT puzzle sheet.
- Put the five puzzle sheets in correct order to restore the original paragraph.

Featured blogs:

Some students are doing very well with their blogs. Congratulations to:

Ali Alamari
- started with a small paragraph
- made a better paragraph with four ideas in it
- made a new paragraph for each idea
- developed each paragraph: http://ali-al-ammari1.blogspot.com/

Mohammed Saif Al Sheryani
- wrote about his friends and linked to his friends' blogs
- introduced himself (and finds blogging enjoyable)
- arrgggh I don't know the url for this blog !!*#

Abdullah Mohammad
- tells what he does each day
- tells an interesting story about how he almost got into serious trouble
- has regularly developed his blog: http://mobytrice.blogspot.com

- tells about his hobbies
- explains what he does on weekends
- describes his village, I mean CITY
- develops his blog regularly: http://ali-aaa.blogspot.com

Free Writing

Thought for the day:

Who should do the most work in a class, each student? Or the teacher?

Here are the rules:

- Think of something you want to develop in your blog
- Everyone gets comfortable and gets ready
- As soon as everyone is silent, the teacher says BEGIN
- You must write continually without stopping
- Don't worry about grammar or spelling
- SILENCE PLEASE: You can't talk or ask questions (it disturbs others)
- The teacher will tell you when to STOP (about ten minutes)

If you have questions please ask them AFTER the writing period.

After the freewrite:

- Show it to a friend. Read each other's freewrites.
- FEEDBACK: Write something specific about parts that are interesting and which might be developed later.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Someone has left us this secret message. Can you decifer it?

For the solution, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this blog.

The description of pictures at Vance's Homestead site that used to be here has moved to:

Where've we got to in our blogs?
see: http://www.homestead.com/prosites-vstevens/files/efi/pi/2003summer.htm

Monday, July 28, 2003


In Class:

Taking roll - Continued on Saturday -get names spelled correctly and put in IDs for certificates to be issued later.

What have we learned in the past two weeks?

Grammar: We'll look at this site: http://a4esl.org/q/h/grammar.html

ARTICLES: there are many exercises to practice.
Let's try Health Clubs: http://a4esl.org/q/h/9901/cw-articles.html

VERBS: we need work on ...
Present simple: http://a4esl.org/q/h/lb/psv.html
Gerunds and Infinitives: http://a4esl.org/q/h/9801/el-to-ing.html

You can practice in the lab or at home with more exercises on this page.


We're going to compile a list of words you've learned in this class
- Play Hangman with them
- Make crossword puzzles with Puzzlemaker

More about this later.


This week we want to focus on DEVELOPING your blogs.

After this week you MUST link to pictures stored at Homestead.
http://www.homestead.com/prosites-vstevens/files/efi/pi/2003summer/ PLUS the filename of your photo.

For example, my photo is here:

Your existing link might look something like this:

or this:

I have not changed the name or size of any photo, so to link to its new, more reliable location, in your TEMPLATE simply substitute the OLD location, above, with

Make sure you TEST in a browser to make sure your link works. If it doesn't work, see Vance. After this week, Yahoo Groups / Files will no longer be accessible.

What did we do this weekend?


Wednesday, we completed the Stickman Murder Mystery. We couldn't complete it in the lab because the Websense settings are different in the labs and classrooms.



- Wednesday we chatted with A.L.I.C.E: http://www.alicebot.org/.
- We wrote on a sheet of paper something that we asked Alice and what she replied (one sentence, each person).

In the Lab Saturday:

You can chat with A.L.I.C.E. and write me a paragraph describing your conversation (in reported speech).

You can practice grammar exercises from the URLs above.

You can put the results of your free writing into your blog. Here, we want to make the blogs longer and longer (while correcting previous posts).

Sunday, July 27, 2003

MONDAY JULY 28, 2003

In Class today:

Follow up writing:

If you printed your blog yesterday, Vance will return it today with errors marked. Sit with a friend who doesn't have a corrected paper. Together figure out what the mistakes are. Rewrite one paragraph correctly and show it to your teacher.

Fun time: Mysteries

There are some mysteries at the Tower of English http://towerofenglish.com/

We'll examine The Case of Grandpa's Painting http://www.eduweb.com/pintura/index.html

Here's one for you to try out in the lab today. You might have to download the latest shockwave first:
A Gorey Murder http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/mystery/murder/index.html

- Click on the picture to find the villain
- You'll gather clues and objects
- When you've figured it out WRITE your teacher an explanation

In the Lab today:

Saif Saeed started a YahooGroup for the class. Please join by visiting http://groups.yahoo.com/group/oasis_2003, or send blank email to:

- oasis_2003-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

- There is a poll there that you can vote in.

Work on your blogs:

- Enter the corrections
- Develop them from your free writing
- Print them when ready.

Really think you're finished? Not in the mood?

- Try out the Gorey Murder http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/mystery/murder/index.html

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