Showing posts with label tertiary education and research in Ghana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tertiary education and research in Ghana. Show all posts

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Challenge: Re-orienting the learning approach

As a Ghanaian who studied in Ghana, I've gone through an educational system that lays premium on passing exams and getting degrees, and cerificates -- what I call A4 sheets.
This system is still dominant, albeit there's a fresh breath of forward-thinking institutions, and individuals who realise that it's skill and ability that determine the output of an individual, and not a piece of paper.
In my (still young) academic life, I've met students who have no clue why they are in school.
For most, so long as they can get a job, they are okay.
No identified problem to be solved. No wonder most researches undertaken by students towards the award of a degree are next to 'useless' in terms of practically solving a problem.
The classroom environment is one that sees lecturers teach students what to think, and not how to think.
Chewing and spewing of facts is the norm. Understanding concepts is simply unwelcomed.
I am frustrated.
I need help in re-orienting the teaching/learning approach being used in our educational system.
I was privileged to be involved in the teaching of the Human-Computer Interaction course last semester. The first couple of classes made me realise how I had to explain almost everything on the PPTs I was using.
Note: The textbook on which the PPTs is based, and supplementary texts have been given to the students.
So the next lecture, I informed the class I hadn't read the book and so implied I wasn't ready to teach effectively.
Surprisingly, I went through about 6 slides with VERY little questions from the class.
No discussions.
That changed the next lecture because they had actually read and researched, and a wholesome diacussion took place.
I also tried using twitter to engage the class. That didn't go well, but it's a start.
Also, the students a practical assignment in training their eyes on products around them and their designs.
Thanks to Astrid, my boss Patrick, Richard, Kajsa for their advice, motivation, and believe in my ability.
There is hope.
I'm really opened to suggestions on to effectively engage my students and get the best out of them, and the courses I may teach.
Please share your tips, tricks in the comment section.
Thanks.

Friday, March 28, 2014

CUCG academic staff embrace Mendeley

Dr. Darko introducing participants to the Mendeley platform

Remember the saying, "Publish or perish?" Well, it is one that is well known in academic circles.
Aside the products of a university (i.e. its students) being a good metric for ranking, research plays a major role too.

In its bid to continue being one of the foremost universities in Ghana, the Catholic University College of Ghana has instituted a 'Seminar series' where lecturers and researchers share insights from their research papers and other experiences, software, and other related academic issues.
On Wednesday, 26th March, 2014,  the CUCG academic staff was privileged to have Dr. Godfred Darko (Mendeley advisor for Africa), introduce them to the software platform.

Hands-on session 
Mendeley has both desktop and web-based interfaces that can be synced for effective collaboration. It allows a researcher to form his/her research group and collaborate on a project.
Mendeley has a web installer that also enables a researcher to seamlessly add any paper he/she finds interesting online, to his/her library.
Another cute, yet powerful feature of Mendeley is how it integrates with Microsoft Word, thus making citations and bibliography insertions in a research paper painless. One can choose any reference style of choice.
Read more about Mendeley from their website, and watch some videos on its use here.

In all, the training session went well. It is a good step in the right direction, and I hope mentoring sessions are held for early career researchers, to build a community that seeks to come out with solutions that would help improve the lot of the community -- and country -- we find ourselves in.