About seven faculty members from the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), attended a two day workshop on teaching and learning assessment at Strathmore University from 25th to 26th July 2016. This workshop was immediately followed by another workshop on strategic planning from 27th to 28th July, 2016. The workshops were organized by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and drew on the work of the African Universities' Research Approaches (AURA) programme.
Both workshops were very useful to participants because participants were exposed to various issues related to e-learning, including: learning assessment approaches, how to use technology for assessment, technology based learning and pedagogical theories that could be applied in a technology-based environment. Furthermore, participants were taught about how to operationalize what they learnt when they go back to their institutions by developing Operational Strategic Plans.
The teaching modality throughout the two workshops was participatory, and focused on peer to peer learning and assessment as well as on learning from instructors. Participants appreciated the fact that they were able to learn from their colleagues and to share what they knew regarding the topic that they were working on. They were enabled to expand their network of researchers to work with, due to the task that they were given to write up in groups.
Most of the topics were completely new to participants (i.e. learning analytics, learning theories. Given their medical science background, MUHAS faculty members were therefore able to learn and appreciate many of the topics taught and of which they had not had opportunities to explore prior to the workshop. They also learnt, and appreciated, the technology-based assessment methods which were completely new to them. This kind of training was very important, and timely, given the fact that MUHAS is implementing competency based curricular by using blended learning approaches.
Participants were also able to develop operational plans which they will be able to implement when they go back to their institutions with what they had learnt throughout the workshop. Through the development of operational plans, participants expect that they should be able to cascade what they have learnt back into their institutions. Despite the fact that a learning management system (LMS) has been implemented at MUHAS for over four years now, its' uptake has been very low. Through developing an operational plan, it is expected that academic staff at MUHAS will be able to adopt interactive teaching methods and engage students in the e-learning platform more readily.