Teaching & Learning is at the core of the majority of CIS projects and activities; it forms an integrated part of our workshops, training and education sessions. We use highly interactive, and inclusive methods. It is anticipated that adoption of new and innovative methods is easier if participants are emerged in new methods before having to incorporate it and we believe in ‘practising what we preach’. We work closely together with VU’s LEARN! Academy in further developing these methods.
Online teaching and learning
The COVID-19 crisis has forced the world to embrace online learning. CIS has done so by shifting project activities to online platforms where and whenever possible. This shift requires careful preparation and practice to get familiar with the technical know-how and a new style of teaching and knowledge transfer. An additional challenge is related to connectivity; in many of the countries in which CIS works internet access, speed and bandwidth can be limited.
CIS has developed expertise in online teaching and learning through a series of online activities in recent years and offers to share its lessons learned. A successful example in this regard is the online course for the Creating Postgraduate Collaborations (CPC) project, a cooperation between nine South African, Kenyan and European universities has been implemented in May and June 2020. The project team worked very hard to adjust the material for online usage and developing a Learning Management System (LMS) to host the course. Next to study and course material the LMS also offers space for interaction and discussion for the participant through the use of forums. A big advantage is that the online course holds over 130 participants whereas the real-life workshop can only cater to 25 participants, implying much wider service reach. The LMS also offers some flexibility where participants can work on assignments and download documents when they ARE connected to the internet. Live zoom sessions are recorded and made available on the LMS as well in case of power blackouts or unstable internet connections.
We anticipate that the switch to online project implementation is making a positive contribution towards reaching the intended outputs and will be considered as a long-term sustainable option and solution.