An international peer-reviewed journal article by the Aga Khan University (AKU) faculty has won the Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper Award (2022). The article 'The COVID-19 Pandemic: a catalyst for creativity and collaboration for online learning and work-based higher education systems and processes' was published in the Journal of Work-Applied Management. The paper was downloaded more than 1,600 times within the first year of publication.
As the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed and sped up transition to online and blended learning, this required new organisational and work-place accommodations.
“It all began as a 'fly-on-the-wall' project initiated by AKU Provost Dr Carl Amrhein," said Dr Tashmin Khamis, Vice Provost, Quality, Teaching and Learning at AKU. “We diligently documented the mechanisms and management processes that we were involved in as we supported the academy to transition online."
A case study was built to respond to the increasing challenges from the health emergency that morphed into a learning emergency, lack of infrastructure to support online and distance learning, and institutional systems and policies.
Initially, institutions of higher learning in developing countries did not have structures in place to support online learning. Many suspended their programmes, and many others have not restarted hoping to return to the 'old normal'. The AKU study provides important and critical lessons and recommendations to other institutions in similar contexts as all institutions and their students enter the new normal.
“Our focus on teaching and learning and staff development has had a transformational organisational effect. Our findings show that even with limited human and financial resources, it is possible to produce responsive systems and create an effective curriculum through participation and faculty training," said Dr Khamis.
The article was authored by Professor Tashmin Khamis, alongside her team members Azra Naseem, Anil Khamis and Pamela Petrucka. The Emerald Literati award is granted to outstanding contributions of authors and reviewers.