When Professor Dr Sombat Thamrongthanyawong was formally inaugurated as President of Walailak University, Thailand in January 2018, he outlined a nine-point vision for the university. A key commitment was to have all his teaching staff engaging with the UKPSF and gaining recognition at the appropriate level.
In fact this plan was already in progress. President Sombat had already tasked his staff with organising an HEA Certificate of Learning and Teaching in HE (CLTHE) which would enable staff subsequently to apply for HEA Fellowship. In November 2017, 60, initially slightly apprehensive, staff embarked on the programme. By the end of day one they were engaging enthusiastically in all the activities and have remained so throughout the three modules with 100% attendance and 100% assignment completion.
Throughout all three modules of the CLTHE, a range of teaching approaches were modelled for participants with the intention that through experiencing rather than just describing the approaches, participants would be better able to evaluate their effectiveness and be able to implement if appropriate into their own practice
The final part of the programme acted as a capstone module, pulling together all the areas covered in Modules 1 and 2 as participants were asked to design a showstopper interdisciplinary module over three days with technical challenges set as their planning progressed. On Day 3, a Module Fair was organised at which all participants could review and provide feedback on the other modules produced and, in a departure from previous practice on the CLTHE, we managed to invite a group of 15 university students to join the fair, talk to staff and select the three modules they would wish to study.
Taking key messages from all the student module feedback, it was reassuring to be able to demonstrate the connection between the students’ comments and the work we had done on the module: preparing students for the future, use of technology in learning, authentic learning and assessment experiences, employability, active learning.
The final day culminated with a poster presentation at which all participants exhibited one of the changes to their practice or innovation. It was during this event that we saw evidence of our impact. Participants had introduced PBL, technology-enhanced learning with new interactive presentation apps and online quizzes and gamification of learning. The most powerful messages came from the data on the students’ responses to the innovations – significant increases in student engagement and in learning, but also the photos of activities that many participants had included in their posters told their own stories of impact.
As participants stated in their feedback:
‘When applying (for the CLTHE), I expected to get tools to write the (UKPSF) application. But, at the beginning of the module, you changed our mindset about learning and teaching. It's much bigger.’
Another participant states:
‘This is not an easy task but, personally, I think all lecturers in Thailand should have experience in this kind of practices!’
Thank you to the staff at Walailak University for the enthusiasm and the commitment you have shown to enhancing your students’ learning experience.
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