June 2, 2017
Workshop on Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) at SONAM,Kenya
The Teaching and Learning Network conducted ILOs workshop to 10 SONAM-Kenya faculty.The workshop aimed at enabling the participants develop ILOs that lead to students’ significant learning or students adopting deep learning approaches.By the end of the session, faculty refined their course learning outcomes in relation to Bloom's Taxonomy, Fink's Significant learning, Moon's Learning Environment and Bigg's Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes-SOLO.
May 11, 2017
Higher Education Academy (HEA) Accreditation: Beginning the Journey towards the AKU Teachers Academy
TL_net team with Deans and Directors of SONAM, IED, CIME and DED during the workshop
Launched in 2006, HEA's mission is to improve students' learning by raising the quality and status of teaching in higher education. The HEA works with higher education institutions and individuals to enhance the quality of their teaching through accreditation of educational development services and professional recognition of teaching practice through fellowships benchmarked against the Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF). Upon achieving accreditation, subscribing institutions are granted the authority to award HEA Fellowships to eligible staff in recognition of their continuing success in teaching and supporting learning. Professional recognition programs and awards serve as a benchmark for teaching excellence and accreditation is for validating the teaching courses and professional development schemes for development of faculty and educational developers.
AKU is HEA's first strategic partner in the developing world. Many UK and international institutions are aiming towards 100% of their staff gaining HEA Fellowship in recognition of their teaching standards. Currently there are 87,000 HEA fellows in 46 countries around the world. In line with the recently approved AKU Teachers Academy, a pool of AKU faculty and education developers are applying for HEA fellowship. The pioneer-fellows will then mentor and assess other faculty to gain HEA Fellowship recognition to enable AKU to gain accreditation, so that AKU too can aim for all its faculty to gain Fellowship through an annual audited process by the HEA.
The Network of Teaching and Learning (TL_net) conducted a dialogue on "Higher Education Academy (HEA) Accreditation: Beginning the Journey towards the AKU Teachers Academy" on April 27, 2017 at the Centre of Innovation in Medical Education (CIME), Pakistan. Deans and Directors from Department for Educational Department, Karachi (DED), Institute for Educational Development- Karachi (IED), CIME, and School of Nursing and Midwifery-Karachi (SONAM) and HEA applicants from AKU joined hands together begin the development of a Professional Educational Development (PED) scheme for AKU faculty for HEA accreditation.
The workshop, facilitated by Dr Tashmin Khamis, Director of TL_net, gave a platform to the leaders from different entities to develop a shared understanding of the process of recognizing and accrediting teaching practice at AKU. Moreover, the requirements of HEA accreditation, advancements in and implications for institutional commitment to teaching and learning were discussed.
Work on HEA accreditation of TL_net's educational development activities has begun to internationally benchmark provision to motivate and recognise faculty for excellence in teaching, thereby creating educator mentors for other faculty, as agreed in the Board approved proposal on the Teachers Academy.
May 5, 2017
SONAM External Review
External Peer Review team of SONAM along with Self-Assessment Review team and Network of Quality Assurance and Improvement.
On April 17th -21st, 2017, a team of External peer reviewers visited School of Nursing and Midwifery for a cluster review: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Post-RN Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Post-RM Bachelor of Science in Midwifery and Master of Science in Nursing. The review was chaired by Dr. Pammla Petrucka who is a professor at university of Saskatchewan, Canada.
January 3, 2017
Dr. Tashmin Khamis Participates in Strengthening Internal Quality Assurance in West Africa
Tashmin Khamis, Michael Mawa and Colleagues from West Africa and DAAD
A Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES) initiative has been adopted in West Africa. This initiative follows a 10-year partnership between German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) to enhance quality assurance in the East Africa region.
Dr Tashmin Khamis, Director of the Networks of Quality, Teaching and Learning at the Aga Khan University and immediate past President of the East African Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN), was invited by DAAD to the University of Duisburg in December 2016, along with the founding president of EAQAN, Michael Mawa, to assist in setting up a similar network for West Africa. Dr Khamis was invited to participate as a trainer and expert on cooperation and networking for quality assurance.
Following this meeting in Germany where West African quality assessment officers were trained, the officers set up a West African Anglophone Quality Assurance Network (WAAQAN) with objectives similar to those of EAQAN. They were keen to use the lessons learned from the East Africa quality assessment practitioners to support an international quality assessment system for higher education in Anglophone West Africa.
Also of note: Dr. Khamis has been appointed to the board of directors of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) for a term ending in 2018.
December 05, 2016
Culture of quality at AKU – External Review of Medical College graduate programmes in Pakistan
Review Team and Self Assessment Team during the external review process
The AKU Academic Quality Framework was implemented in Pakistan following its implementation in East Africa. For the first time, on September 20-23, 2016, international experts reviewed Medical College graduate programmes in Pakistan. This review entailed a cluster review of 3 masters programmes: Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Health Policy and Management, and Health Professions Education.
Dr Stephen Pearson from the University of Leeds, UK, chaired the External Review Team. He is also a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. Two other External Review Team members were from American University of Beirut, Lebanon, and United Arab Emirates University, UAE, and an internal-external member was from AKU in East Africa.
As part of the external review process, an internal self-assessment review took place. These were carried out following QAI_net's day-long training session, "How to conduct self-assessment of a programme." The participants of this self-assessment training included programme directors, Community Health Sciences Vice-Chair of Education, and faculty, staff and student representatives of the 3 programmes under review. Hearing the voices of students is vital and the student representatives were integral to the review process.
Using the AKU Academic Quality Framework, its standards and criteria, the Peer Review Team identified best practices and suggested areas to be enhanced on the improvement plans.
During the 4-day review process, the External Review Team met with the dean, department chair, programme directors, faculty members who taught courses in the programmes, thesis supervisors, students and alumni to understand and explore the programmes. In addition, it analysed the self-assessment reports. The Team will submit its report in 6-8 weeks' time. Following that, the respective programme teams will use the reviewers' recommendations to revise their improvement plans and monitor and present an annual improvement plan to the University's Quality Assurance Review Committee.
"Initially we felt threatened and defensive towards having to participate in the cyclical review process. However, as we went through the self-assessment process, the act of identifying our own issues means we are more likely to make the needed changes for improvement. It was a very useful process!" Department Chair, Pakistan, 2016
In its role to enhance the culture of quality across all campuses, QAI_net continues to assist entities to monitor their revised improvement plans.
October 20, 2016
Networking with the South on Quality Assurance Matters
Dr. Tashmin Khamis and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai, Former Secretary-General, Association of African Universities
Dr. Tashmin Khamis, the Director of the Networks of Quality, Teaching and Learning was invited by the South African Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and the South African Quality Assurance Network (SAQAN) to give a key note address to share lessons from the East African Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN) during the 3rd Southern African Regional Conference on Quality Assurance in Higher Education which took place between 19 to 21 October 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa.
Titled "The East African Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN): creating a quality conscious higher education community of practice in East Africa", Dr. Khamis, the immediate past EAQAN President shared with the participants how EAQAN promotes a culture of quality in higher education, as well as develops quality assurance capacity within higher education institutions in East Africa. Dr. Khamis also highlighted the role being played by EAQAN's quality assurance conferences and the activities of the quality forum in creating a quality conscious higher education community in East Africa.
For more information get in touch with Dr. Tashmin Khamis .
June 30, 2016
AKU Academic Day: Taking Teaching and Learning to the Next Level
President, Firoz Rasul giving his remarks during the academic day forum
AKU Network of Teaching and Learning held an academic day convened by the President and Interim Provost for deans and directors of all AKU entities from Pakistan and East Africa in June. Over 17 deans and directors from different entities attended the meeting that was facilitated by the TL_net team. The main aim of the academic day was to identify ways to improve teaching and support for Learning at AKU. In her opening remarks Dr. Tashmin Khamis the Director of Teaching and Learning outlined five key objectives towards achieving the goal of the forum:
Assess the evidence on the current status of teaching and learning across AKU
Create a shared understanding of teaching excellence at AKU
Consider strengths as well as gaps in creating an enabling student learning experience
Identify and agree upon actions to improve teaching and learning
Consider measurable outcomes and resources required to enhance teaching and learning for the budget planning cycle
The deans and directors identified university wide teaching and learning priorities around four areas:
Academic/learning support for students
Academic leadership support and curriculum development
Recognition and reward for teaching excellence and scholarship
The academic leaders will further consult with their entities to ensure all the priorities have been covered and integrated into 2017 plans and budgets. The deans and directors expressed satisfaction that this was a very crucial forum that will put in place plans to improve teaching and learning at AKU.
Asked on what they thought about the forum, some deans and directors had this to say:
"Superb interactive session across the university and dialogue to better define teaching and learning in our entities".
"Very helpful session. I learnt from colleagues as well as know a bit more about the work of Teaching and Learning Network".
Asked on whether the academic day was helpful this is what one academic head said:
"Yes, extremely helpful especially on areas covered and approach taken as well as getting to know more about what is going on across AKU".
On what they see as next steps, here are a few selected quotes from the evaluation:
"As suggested by the president, make this an annual event so as to continue the dialogue".
"TL_net help us to put our plans together"
"Most critical part for me is to follow up on the strategies and action plans".
The forthcoming teaching and learning enhancement workshop for faculty in East Africa and Pakistan is one of the initial steps taken by TL_net to address the concerns raised at the Academic Day. The workshop which is modeled around the internationally recognized Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) will be supported by Dr. Debra Dawson and Dr. Michael Atkinson from Western University, Ontario Canada and representatives of the ISW Network. The first cohort of East Africa participants will attend the workshop in July in Dar es Salaam while those from Pakistan will attend in September.
TL_net will continue to support faculty in enhancing quality, teaching and learning.
April 20, 2016
Going the Tech Way - Flipping the Classroom
Seminar participants at the Provost's office in Nairobi
The Network of Teaching & Learning carried out the first 2016 Seminar Series on March 2, 2016. The seminars series titled Flipping the Classroom: Using Mobile Devices to Engage Students in and Out of Class was attended by 41 faculty members and over 61 students across all entities in AKU in Pakistan, UK and East Africa.
The Seminar Series was facilitated by Mr. Edward Misava Ombajo, the Digital Teaching and Learning Associate and Ms. Louisa Lambregts, the Digital Learning Specialist. Louisa is working with TL_net through the Aga Khan Foundation Canada (AKFC) CADEX Programme which provides AKDN field agencies the opportunity to engage Canadian development professionals in support of agency institutional priorities.
The Seminar focused on exploring the concept of flipping classroom and how it could be used as an effective way to actively engage students in their learning.The active hands-on seminar demonstrated a few easy to use mobile applications such as Kahoot, Padlet, and Nearpod to support active learning in the classroom, an activity in which over 90 faculty and students enthusiastically participated. The session also discussed ways of managing classrooms to prevent losing students to digital distraction.
TL_net is in the process of developing a strategic plan and guidelines on teaching with technology in AKU. TL_net is committed to benchmarking with other Institutions regionally and globally to identify and align with commonly adopted best practices for supporting digital teaching and learning within higher education. To view the presentation of this seminar series please click here
For more information on teaching with technology please write to email@example.com
February 29, 2016
Dr. Sam Scully Gives his Testimonial on Working with AKU
Dr. Sam Scully with Networks of Quality, Teaching and Learning Staff in Nairobi
In recent times the Aga Khan University has paid a great deal of attention to what is now known as Quality Assurance, and not simply because of government requirements. It has done so because it is the correct and effective approach: all academic programmes can be improved by detailed review against precise evaluation criteria and expected learning outcomes.
In 2014 Academics Without Border, a bilingual Canadian NGO based in Montreal, sent a volunteer, Martin Hill, to assist AKU in developing its policies and procedures, including a new Academic Quality Framework, and then in 2015, together with AKU, it funded me to make two visits to Nairobi to continue and strengthen the work that Martin had started.
In August and again in November 2015 I spent two weeks in Nairobi working closely with Tashmin Khamis and Faisal Notta in AKU's Quality Assurance and Improvement Network (QAI_net); developing additional policies and procedures; assisting the Quality Assurance Review Committee (QARC) in its work; and meeting with members of the University's administration and faculty members who are engaged in the various aspects of quality assurance. I gave by tele-conference a seminar "How do we know that we are providing a Programme of Good Quality? A modern (r)evolution" which was attended by faculty on each of the AKU campuses, and led a workshop about quality assurance with members of the College of Medicine on the Nairobi campus. Both visits were very enjoyable and, in the view of all, productive and helpful in the continuing introduction of modern best practices.
AKU's QAI_net is an essential component in the development of a cutting-edge Quality Assurance system. Tashmin and Faisal, together with the members of the QARC, are building considerable expertise and knowledge about quality assurance policies and procedures. They need the support of all the senior administration of AKU, and then they will enable AKU to become a world leader in quality assurance.
I thoroughly enjoyed my AKU visits and the friendliness and hospitality of everyone I met in person and via technology. I shall follow your progress with interest in the years ahead.
February 10, 2016
TL_net Partners with SONAM EA to Train Faculty on Moodle Course Design
SONAM EA Faculty from Kenya during the Moodle Training Workshop
TL-net, in partnership with SONAM-EA and the IT team in Pakistan, carried out a two –day Moodle training workshop between January 28, 2016 and February 2, 2016. Moodle is an open-source virtual learning environment (VLE) that supports communication, interactive learning activities, and collaboration between students and faculty; it also facilitates sharing of learning materials. A total of 33 faculty members attended the workshops in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. This is a ground breaking, collaborative venture that takes AKU further down the path of technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Within SONAM-EA, Moodle courses will be virtual extensions of the face to face class. As a digital resource that is available both in class and out of class, it will guide students through weekly activities and assessments.
The aim of the training workshop was to enhance faculty members' capacity to integrate use of technology in teaching and learning —in this case, building a course space on the Moodle virtual learning environment. The training focused on:
Assisting faculty members to develop one course on the Moodle platform.
Uploading documents into the course site including the course outline
Navigating Moodle with ease
TL_net followed up the training with student orientation sessions for each SONAM-EA location that showed students how to access and use their Moodle courses. Over 142 students participated in the session from Kenya Uganda and Tanzania.
The faculty members appreciated the training and when asked whether the workshop increased their confidence to teach using the Moodle platform, this is what one had to say:
"Absolutely! My course material is more organised and I feel this will impact positively on students".
On what they liked most, one participant had the following to say:
"The hands on approach was excellent!"
When asked what they would like to see next, a number of faculty pointed out the need to bring on board students and new faculty:
"Students being prepared and taught on Moodle should be the next step as well as include this workshop as part of orientation for new faculty and part-timers."
TL_net will continue to engage in such initiatives that will support faculty to teach with technology.
For more information on TL-net's programmes, services and resources please visit our site.
November 26, 2015
AKU Network of Quality Assurance and Improvement carries out self-assessment review training for Medical College graduate programmes in Nairobi, Kenya
Medical College faculty participating in the Self Assessment Review Training Workshop
The Network of Quality Assurance & Improvement (QAI_net) conducted a two-hour self-assessment review (SAR) training session for the Medical College graduate programmes in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on November 23, 2015. Participants came from the following programmes:
The session was conducted by Dr Sam Scully, an Academics Without Borders (AWB) volunteer working with QAI_net. Dr Scully is also the Founding Chair of the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance and Past Vice President Academic and Provost of Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, and University of Victoria, British Columbia. The training, which was attended by 23 participants, included chairs of the departments, chairs of the SAR Teams, SAR Team members and residents (students)
The training focused on why the SAR process is important for programmes as well as the foundation for any meaningful peer assessment review process. Discussions also touched on the effectiveness of any self-assessment process, actions that can be taken to remedy any identified areas in the programme review and the need for an improvement plan for the six programmes that had submitted their SAR draft reports to the Dean and QAI_net.
Participants appreciated the knowledge gained from the training and looked forward to improving their SAR reports, including development of an improvement plan for their respective programmes by the end of January 2016.
QAI_net will continue to support all the entities to prepare and implement both the self-assessments and external reviews in line with the AKU Academic Quality Framework: Policies and Procedures which was approved by the Board of Trustees and Academic Council in March 2015.
October 28, 2015
Sustainable support for learning in the online era
Dr Khamis with Professor Asha Kanwar, President of CoL and Professor Belawati, President of ICDE
17 October 2015: "With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and specifically Goal 4 on inclusive quality education, we will have a chance to align Africa's Framework for Education 2030 with the SDGs, while focusing on the region's needs for higher education," said AKU's Dr Tashmin Khamis, representing the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education at a High Level Policy Forum in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Forum, on Higher Education for the Sustainable Future We Want – The Way Ahead for Online, Open and Flexible Learning: Opportunities and Actions, was organized by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) in partnership with UNESCO, the Commonwealth of Learning, and the Open Education Consortium, and hosted by the University of South Africa (UNISA).
It follows the UNESCO-ICDE Global High Level Policy Forum held in Paris in June 2015 and is part of the regional conferences being held worldwide by the two institutions.
The Pretoria conference saw over 130 leaders from national, regional and international educational institutions, and global networks from across Africa, Arab countries, Asia, North America, Oceania and Latin America attending.
Issues related to access and success in higher education, narrowing the skills gap, investing in life-long learning and faculty development, and improving student learning experiences through leveraging new and emerging technologies, were just some of the issues to feature prominently in discussions throughout the day. Just recently, the East African Community recently released the Qualifications Framework for Higher Education to begin addressing some of these areas at the regional level.
Participants agreed that policies aimed at enabling access to online learning, providing support to learner mobility, and strengthening transnational qualification agreements were all essential components of a 21st century higher education strategy and agreed on regional agendas for action.
In his concluding remarks, Professor Mandla Makhanya, Vice-Chancellor of UNISA highlighted: "Just expanding existing universities or building new ones based on classroom teaching will not meet the demand or the need for higher education in the developing world."
September 17, 2015
AKU Network of Quality Assurance and Improvement carries out self-assessment review training for Medical College graduate programmes in Karachi, Pakistan
The Network of Quality Assurance & Improvement (QAI_net) conducted a half a day self-assessment review (SAR) training workshop for the Medical College graduate programmes in Karachi on August 18, 2015. Participants came from the following programmes:
MSc Epidemiology & Biostatistics
MSc Health Policy & Management
Advanced Diploma in Human Development programme
Master of Health Professions Education
Advanced Diploma of Health Professions Education
Apart from faculty from the Medical College, our QAI_net resource person from SONAM-Pakistan participated in the training as part of the plans to have a critical mass of faculty members who will help in building the capacity of other faculty in programme reviews.
Twenty faculty and staff participated in the workshop which was facilitated by Dr. Tashmin Khamis, Director of Quality Teaching and Learning Networks. During the training, the broader concepts of quality in higher education were discussed with hands-on approach to using the quality model for programme self-assessment: The Road Map to Quality: Handbook of the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA). The participants in groups did practical exercises on the process of collecting evidence for self-assessment and prepared a draft action plan. Dr. Tashmin also outlined the importance of Quality Assurance Review Committee (QARC) as advocates and their role in inducting deans/directors in quality assurance initiatives.
Overall, participants appreciated the knowledge gained from the training and looked forward to implementing SAR in their respective programmes. An anonymous participant had this to say in evaluating the workshop:
"Introduction to the framework of SAR was very helpful. Understanding the whole process has made me more comfortable and prepared for this upcoming exercise."
QAI_net will continue to support entities to prepare and implement both the self-assessments and external reviews in line with the Academic Quality Framework: Policies and Procedures which was approved by the Board of Trustees and Academic Council in March 2015.
June 18, 2015
Partnering with the Commission on raising the quality of higher education in Pakistan
In early June, representatives from the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan and the AKU Network of Quality Assurance and Improvement met in Islamabad, Pakistan. In attendance from HEC were Dr Mohammed Rafiq Baloch, Director General, and Mr Nasir Shah, Director, Quality Assurance, and from AKU Dr Tashmin Khamis, Director, QAI_net, Mr Faisal Notta, Assistant Director, QAI_net, and Ms Nasreen Shaikh, Registrar's Office.
Dr Khamis gave a presentation on the AKU Academic Quality Framework, the schedule of cyclical periodic review, the handbooks for self and peer assessment and Quality Assurance Review Committee terms of reference.
Dr Baloch applauded AKU for its efforts and commented that, through a partnership with HEC, AKU's best practices could be shared with and influence other universities in Pakistan. Dr Khamis readily agreed to this partnership.
It was also noted at the meeting that AKU is more than fulfilling the requirements set out by HEC for university quality assurance and, further, that the name for the entity leading this work (Network of Quality Assurance and Improvement) made sense at AKU, rather than using the more common Pakistani term, quality enhancement cell. AKU agreed to focus on self and peer assessment of programmes over the next few years.
May 18, 2015
Two successful TL_net events featured by Fiona Deller on May 11, 2015
Ms Fiona Deller, HEQCO
Provost's Speaker Series on Student Learning Outcomes
AKU Network of Teaching and Learning hosted the Provost's Series on Student Learning Outcomes. This session was facilitated by Ms Fiona Deller, Research Director of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). AKU is part of the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Consortium (LOAC), a project that is spearheaded by HEQCO. Over 52 faculty and staff in 8 sites across AKU entities attended this session entitled, "Are Your Students Learning? How Do You Know?" The speaker talked of the importance of generic learning outcomes and the value of creating a common language when designing, teaching and assessing them. The speaker highlighted why AKU and faculty should care about assessing learning outcomes and how to do it in a practical way including how to write learning outcomes as well as how to create assessment tools to measure them.
Teaching Champions Workshop
AKU Network of Teaching and Learning facilitated a session for Teaching Champions, "Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET): Are the Learners Engaged?" It was attended by TL_net faculty Teaching Champions from Karachi and East Africa. The session was facilitated by Fiona Deller, the Research Director of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and Dr. Tashmin Khamis, Director, Networks of Quality Assurance and Improvement and Network of Teaching & Learning. The new approved university wide SET was discussed as well as latest research on what makes for a reliable and valid SET. Ms. Deller congratulated AKU for developing a SET form that is aligned to the AKU teaching learning framework and AKU graduate attributes.
See the presentations from these talks here .
April 7, 2015
Networks director represents AKU at INQAAHE Conference in Chicago
Dr Carol Bobby, President of INQAAHE & Dr Tashmin Khamis
Dr Tashmin Khamis, Director of AKU Networks of Quality, Teaching and Learning, attended the 2015 INQAAHE (International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education) Conference in Chicago on March 30 to April 5.
Dr Khamis' attendance at the conference was funded by INQAAHE and the IUCEA (Inter University Council for East Africa) in her capacity as President of EAQAN (East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Network).
This conference, Changing Landscape of Higher Education: New Demands on Quality Assurance, was the first time an INQAAHE conference has been held in the USA in its 25-year history.
In addition to presenting the work of EAQAN, Tashmin presented a joint peer-reviewed paper authored with Dr Khairunnisa Dhamani entitled, "Self-Assessment: A Catalyst for Change for the East African Higher Education Landscape," based on a case study from Aga Khan University.
Details about the conference can be found on the INQAAHE website or contact Dr Khamis .