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Guest postsPhoenix Project

Collaborative Educational Development: learning together to enhance our students’ learning experiences.

25 November 2014

Building on our introductory email and Skype conversations, it was wonderful to meet UNAM’s Educational Development team (Dr Kavena Shalyefu and Prof Kasanda) face-to-face and to share stories, experiences and aspirations for the enhancement of the students’ learning experience at our respective Universities. Cardiff and UNAM both recognize the need and value of investing in the educational development of our staff to help the Universities meet their local and national visions to develop graduates and postgraduates that are empowered, critically reflective global citizens.

UNAM is in the exciting position of setting up a new Teaching and Learning Improvement Unit (currently just Kavena and Prof) with a specific focus in the first few years on designing, piloting and then launching an Advanced Diploma in Higher Education (a CQFW Level 5 equivalent of Cardiff’s PgCUTL). During the October ‘14 Phoenix Project visit I shared Cardiff’s approach to Educational Development, the opportunities and challenges, and together we started to think how UNAM could set off on its own Ed Dev journey – recognizing that UNAM has a very strong School-facing Education Development Department and also a long history of designing and running inclusive distance-learning provision.

During my visit I attended a high powered ‘Stakeholder’s Consultation’ where representatives from across Namibia, UNESCO, the Namibia National Qualifications Authoriy, Unions, and Library, Distance-learning, e-learning and teaching teams all discussed plans for the ADHE pilot. Over the week, with a better understanding of the ADHE context and building on the idea of the ‘Educational Development Umbrella’ I had shared at the Phoenix Project Launch, Kavena, Prof, the tutors and I discussed how Cardiff might work with UNAM staff to build capacity and confidence during the early phases of the ADHE.  The umbrella below shows, in deep red, where we think this work may go in 2015 and 2016: the main focus being the mentoring (by CU staff who are passionate about educational development in their discipline) of UNAM staff who in turn are acting as discipline-based mentors for their ADHE participants – a mentoring the mentors system with immense potential for international collaboration, pedagogic discussion, shared scholarship activities and publications, research collaborations….. wow the list could go on!


The Figure below shows what the ADHE might look like – a series of modules with each requiring the writing of values underpinned reflective extracts, in addition to module assignments, which will come together at the end of the programme as evidence of a participant’s learning journey. Discipline-based mentors will help UNAM participants explore the things they learn on the ADHE locally — and Cardiff Staff could support these mentors as critical friends just until the programme gets established and the number of experienced UNAM mentors grows.


So – would you like to be involved?

Are you a member of Cardiff staff who has completed PgCUTL (at least the first 40 credits) or similar? Do you have FHEA? Would you like to deepen your own thinking about the teaching practices and pedagogies in your discipline? Would you relish the opportunity to think about your teaching in new ways, having your ideas challenged through an international collaboration… and possibly setting up mini-projects between UNAM and Cardiff? If the answers are ‘Yes’ then please get in touch! There will be lots of support throughout our project –  so don’t let being new to international collaboration put you off!  Do get in touch!