Drs. Muhammed Tariq (Interim Chair, Department for Educational Development), Lena Jafri (Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine), and Hafsa Majid Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) from Medical College Pakistan​

 ​Q&A with Winners of Award for Collaborative Practice (ACP) Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Closing Ceremony ​

1. As a team, how do you feel about winning the ACPSoTL award? 

It feels wonderful to receive not just recognition in teaching, but recognition at the institutional level for something you have done as a team. My team included experts from the Departments of Pathology, Education, Medicine and Academic Computing, IT Solutions, and Innovation at AKU. It started with an idea – a passion and then led to collaborations between departments. As a team, we wanted to do it better and make impactful changes. People have now after listening to our success story of bringing change in teaching and learning, evidenced our outcomes, and now believe that it is something worthy. Our teams now feel more motivated to do scholarly research and the ripple effect of this achievement can be seen by the innovative scholarly research projects initiated by my team members. 

2. Tell us about your project briefly and how it contributes to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

The rationale of our project was the provision of formative assessment and timely feedback to the postgraduate trainees working in a busy high-volume chemical pathology laboratory. To achieve this, we introduced workplace-based assessment (WBA) via Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in the curriculum, made possible with the help of the SoTL grant by QTL_net at AKU. Chemical pathology-specific WBA curricula were developed by experts and incorporated in VLE. Members of the Chemical Pathology faculty (Moodle Champs) were trained to deliver feedback to students via VLE and workshops. VLE enabled faculty to deliver real-time feedback to PGs in the clinical workplace, showing a marked improvement in the residents’ knowledge and satisfaction, evidenced by high post-test scores and improved positive workplace habits. Integrating VLE-based learning into the postgraduate program also proved effective during the COVID-19 crisis. At the national level, WBA Program was approved in Committee Meeting at College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan and added to the national Chemical Pathology curriculum of 2022. The goal of SoTL is to assist all instructors to become scholarly teachers; that is, to be knowledgeable in pedagogy and reflective about their teaching practices and inculcate a culture of scholarly research amongst the AKU faculty. This project helped not just our academic and professional development but improving the overall teaching and learning environment of our section and department. Now I am approached by faculty from other sections as well to mirror this or conduct other similar projects in their sections, hence instilling the culture of educational research in Departmental faculty.  

3. What motivated you to engage in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and apply for the ACPSoTL award? 

Teachers should be recognized and appreciated for their valued contributions given to students. Bearers as teachers we don’t get much opportunity to be recognized for our efforts. At AKU the team of QTL_net provided this opportunity to celebrate teaching and be given due recognition through the ACPSoTL award hence we applied and did not miss the opportunity. 

On completion of this research work, I remember Tashmin Khamis (Vice Provost) encouraging us and sharing our outcomes with leadership which further motivated us “Colleagues - Of possible interest – an outcome of a small SoTL grant from QTLnet of less than 5000 USD.  Well done to Dr. Lena and her team. Tashmin”.

4. Please share with us your experience of collaborating and networking with colleagues across departments/disciplines. Also, share your thoughts on the impact this working together on this SoTL project has impacted you, your colleagues, and/or students.

By taking help from four departments of the institute we were successful in implementing change in teaching in my department. We were able to share our findings at multiple local and even international meetings and conferences, trained faculty and staff on  Virtual Learning Environment, and developed VLE Champs in the department. WBA is now part of AKU’s Chemical Pathology Residency Program and was added to the national Chemical Pathology curriculum. Through this project, we were able to train multiple faculty and not just faculty but also technical and administrative staff on using VLEs. And they in turn are now able to contribute proactively to their teaching and learning by developing continuing education programs most suitable for their peers. This helped in not just their own professional development but improving the overall teaching and learning environment of Allied Health Professionals. The faculty trained through my project initiated educational research received SoTL grants, and are now representing the department/institute and network of teaching and learning at different forums. 

My detailed project is shared on Lena’s Teaching Story: Published on Teaching-Learning -Net Website-AKU Feb 2021. this is the link to the story (click on story number 19): https://www.aku.edu/qtl/resources/Pages/teaching-stories.aspx  and available as of publication: Jafri L, et al. Fostering Teaching-Learning through Workplace-Based Assessment in Postgraduate Chemical Pathology Residency Program Using Virtual Learning Environment. BMC Med Educ 20, 383 (2020). 

5. What message would you like to give to AKU faculty?

Remember colleagues, if you as faculty engage in teaching-related scholarly activities then it raises the bar for teaching. This will help our students at AKU in having meaningful and enhanced learning in the classrooms.