DWU academics upskill in online teaching and learning pedagogy

Academic staff of Divine Word University (DWU) from the Madang and Port Moresby campuses completed three weeks of training on online pedagogy in e-teaching and e-learning recently.

The upskilling in e-teaching and e-learning facilitated by a visiting academic from Canada is the first of its kind by any university in Papua New Guinea. The training is part of the preparation for the university moving from the traditional classroom teaching and learning to the online pedagogy as of next year.

Associate Professor Dr Susan Crichton, Director of the Faculty of Education and the Innovative Learning Centre within the Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada provided the training to 51 academics.

The three weeks training was designed to prepare DWU academic staff for the University’s strategic shift from the traditional classroom teaching and learning mode to the online mode beginning next year.

DWU President Fr Jan Czuba said: “In response to the growing interest in DWU’s programs the University is continuing to increase our focus on capacity development in the areas of quality and access through online learning. Provision of appropriate support to faculty in: designing, developing and teaching in online environments, as well as enhancement of infrastructure across related functions such as library liaison, student success and students services are key components to ensure success”.

The participants were each awarded a certification badge for Moodle (a learning management system) specification and Online Learning and Teaching.

Fr Czuba congratulated the academic staff members for the time dedicated in attending and completing the course during the validation ceremony held in the Sir Peter Barter Auditorium of the Madang campus.

“You have obtained great skills and do not be afraid to use them; put what you learn into practice,” Fr Czuba said.

He also encouraged the staff to believe in themselves, to excel in their professional life and to work towards achieving lasting things in life.

Most staff members have concluded the course with positive approach towards Online Learning & Teaching.

According to Dr Betty Koka, Head of the Department of Rural Health, the ILT course has equipped her with different methods of delivering Academic Programs Online.

“The Rural Health Program is a practical program, however after completing the course, I am positive that programs could be designed and delivered through the online mode,” Dr Koka said.

She said her students could watch and learn a surgery done somewhere in the world and practice them in the hospitals in PNG.

Dr Crichton delivered inspiring messages about pedagogical shifts and the importance of guiding digital natives in developing digital literacies throughout the three weeks training.

In 2016 the certified staff members will begin delivering their respective academic units in both fulltime undergraduate and flexible learning programs online.