Online bootcamp held for higher education faculty training

ISLAMABAD - The USAID-funded Higher Education System Strengthening Activity (HESSA) being implemented by the University of Utah and its partners initiated the first phase of the faculty training programme by holding an online bootcamp training session.

The session was held for 30 full-time lecturers, assistants, associates, or full professors from HESSA’s 15 partners higher education institutions (HEIs).

Chief of Party HESSA Dr. Aslam Chaudhry opened the session with an introduction of the project, the efficacy of the training programme, and of its international trainers —Dr. Claire Major, Dr. Karri Holley, Dr. Lisa Pawloski, and Dr. Steven Burian — all from the University of Alabama.

Titled “Strengthening Teaching and Learning of Soft Skills in Higher Education,” the programme consists of three parts — an online bootcamp on principles and practices of effective teaching, followed by a two-day in-person workshop on high impact practices and collaborative learning on June 16-17, and concluding with a two-week study tour to the University of Alabama, in fall this year.

The bootcamp has five learning goals including enabling the participants to describe the importance of learning about university teaching, incorporating learning principles relevant to planning experiences for university students, enabling the participants to consider the differences in the diverse cultures that are represented by university students, helping them realise the value and limitations of using student learning outcomes and applying this knowledge to active planning and development, and empowering the participants to evaluate a variety of teaching practices and understand how they can be applied in practice.

The selection of participants for this master trainers’ programme is based on their active involvement in teaching undergraduate and graduate students. The cohort represents different disciplinary areas.

The bootcamp primarily focuses on putting an existing course online or creating an online course afresh on improving the learning of soft skills.

This transferable and scalable programme is a coaching model that will enable trainees to become future trainers, thereby facilitating the upscaling and sustainability of the programme at their HEIs.

As such, they will serve as the foundational network for future expansion of training for faculty in improved and innovative teaching. They will also be empowered to offer workshops and be able to work with future cohorts.

Upon conclusion of the pilot, the learning gains of the participants will include effective teaching skills, the ability to articulate a vision for individual learning; implementing course designs that include soft skills, creation of a conducive learning environment, opting for effective instructional strategies to teach soft skills and to eventually train other fellow faculty on effective soft skills pedagogy.

The bootcamp focuses on incorporating soft skills into teaching to enable students to encounter and master skills such as public speaking, time management, and leadership. Doing so will help students in how they interact with their peers and future colleagues, how they solve problems, and how they manage their work.


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