Impressions from the IDS Learning Event which took place at Strathmore University in July 2016
|Picture credit: Pixapopz/Pixabay. CC0 Public Domain.|
I must say, when I knew the programme was aimed at the lecturers, I really tried to think of how it would help me in any way. Initially I knew that to become a lecturer you must have gone through some type of study, and on completion, become a lecturer, but what I did not know is that even when you become a lecturer, you normally still undergo training here and there to become better at it, and also to learn more!
In the workshops that took place over four days, there were four universities that were participating namely: Kenyatta University (Kenya), Jimma University (Ethiopia), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences/MUHAS, (Tanzania) and Strathmore University (also Kenya). I was shocked that people who have studied to PHD level would sit down and listen to what someone else had to say. Due to ignorance, I thought that once you have a doctorate degree then ‘you know it all’ but it turns out that no-one knows everything. This got me into great surprise about how the people there were so eager to know and learn more as though they knew nothing.
During the sessions, we (the student volunteers) were encouraged to join in the different groups and to participate. I was an active participant in the first group and since, we were mixed, I learnt quite a lot from it. Some of the things I learnt were that we, as students, have different levels of understanding and ways of taking in knowledge hence it’s the work of the lecturer to make sure that each and everyone understands and to make sure that students are moving at the same pace.
During the first workshop I also learnt that in order to make a lecture interactive, we ought to engage the students in discussions and group work so that they can also share some of their ideas and not get bored.
In the last two sessions, groups were mainly categorized into respective universities and the main topic of discussion was e-learning, the need to implement it, and how to maintain it. (By e-learning I mean using the internet to teach, for example, people who are not in Kenya or Nairobi and want to enroll in Strathmore, e-learning means they are able to do so and can learn from wherever they are through the internet.) I saw the need to be part of a different university so as to learn more about the education system in the respective country, and how their university functions. I was honored to be part of MUHAS located in Tanzania. It came to my understanding that their level of education is not as advanced as the one in Strathmore University. For instance, in Strathmore it is almost obvious that all lectures use the e-learning platform to either post slides, share videos or give assignments while, at MUHAS, the number of lectures using the platform are around two in every department and some departments do not use it at all. This made me appreciate what Strathmore does for us as students and the different opportunities offered by Strathmore and not to take it for granted.
During my free time (that is during meals and breaks) I managed to interact with different lecturers and they were very surprised at how the university functions, and they loved the hospitality of the university in general, the structures of the university and how disciplined the students are. I can proudly say that I do not take lecturers for granted anymore and I now understand why they do what they do and have learnt to appreciate their good work. Just as they were eager to learn more, despite their high level of education, I am also eager to learn more and have learnt that there is no level at which taking in knowledge is enough.
Finally, I would like to give thanks to the organizers of the workshop for giving me the opportunity to be part of the workshop and to also be part of the great experience.
Linda Nzavi is an undergraduate student at Strathmore University. She is studying for the Bachelor of Business Information technology.