Participants of Advance HE’s Certificate of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (CLTHE) programme at Walailak University (WU) in Thailand have now completed the Certificate programme with the final 2 modules delivered online. The first module was completed in the country shortly before lockdown. Rather than wait for travel restrictions to be lifted the University and Advance HE decided to pivot to online delivery of the final 2 modules.
Reassuringly, after a full re-design to ensure that the programme could work remotely, over 97% of the respondents to the Module 2 feedback survey rated the quality of teaching and facilitation as Very Good or Good, 89% agreed that the programme was high-quality and over 94% thought the platforms worked well and were effective.
Walailak University started working with Advance HE in 2018 and the current programme is the fourth cohort of staff taking the Certificate of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (CLTHE). Since beginning to work with Advance HE on developing their teaching and learning, WU have seen student retention numbers increase by 30%.
The ability of teaching staff to teach effectively in remote or in a hybrid situation (some students present in face to face sessions with others joining online) is a skill which all university teachers are having to develop. The borders of Thailand are still closed, international students can’t come in person to the university and around the world there is some evidence of a ‘second spike’ which means that university staff have to demonstrate their resilience by planning for all eventualities. As we move towards new working practices, Advance HE is committed to designing and delivering more flexible workshops and programmes which model teaching and learning activities for the post-pandemic world.
Following excellent feedback from a programme in Ukraine and a successful New to Teaching Online programme which all had to be delivered online at short notice, Kathy Wright, Assistant Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery at Advance HE, led a group of staff and associates to design a model of delivery which integrates asynchronous activities with synchronous live sessions. Our workshops and programmes for learning and teaching programmes and workshops are supported by workbook activities and resources which model teaching techniques for participants to use in their own practices.
Over 97% of the participants said that they had gained new skills and knowledge from the programme, while over 89% said that they would be able to transfer the learning activities introduced in the programme to their own learning environments, suggesting the online format was very effective in developing the participants’ teaching skills.
Kathy said: “It was a lovely experience working with the academics from WU online. I was a bit apprehensive beforehand as to whether we could make this work effectively but through great co-ordination between the WU staff and Advance HE and a great deal of understanding of the context by the participants themselves, we all made this work.
“In fact I found that some of the activities worked better when completed remotely than in a face to face situation. It seemed to me that with more time for reflection, the learning was deeper.”
One of the programme’s participants Walt Amornphimoltham thought that the programme was ‘smooth’ and ‘effective’ despite the lack of face-to-face contact. He said: “Thanks to this unprecedented situation, we have learnt so much about teaching and learning in a ‘new normal’ way.
“It was very important that we had the chance to have face-to-face training in our first module before the pandemic as we got to know our lovely teachers, Kathy and Andy, and also connect with course mates whom we will work together throughout the program. That’s really helpful later on when working together online.
“The Advance HE team did an amazing job switching to online in such a short time. Our obstacles were not only the online platform but also the 6-hour time difference between Thailand and UK. With the clear course structure, task timetable and in-detail instruction provided in the workbook, we were able to navigate every session extremely smoothly.
“Besides human contact, I do not think we missed anything when completing the course online. On the contrary, I was able to put what we have learnt in distance education into practice with my students and share with my colleagues with confidence.”
Over 60 academics have taken part in each cohort of the CLTHE at Walailak University, and after each cohort participants have the option to apply for recognition of their teaching through UKPSF Fellowship scheme. WU now has an impressive 186 teaching Fellows, including one Principal Fellow, Sittichai Koontongkaew, who was recognised in July this year. Thailand as a whole has the sixth largest number of Fellows in the world outside the UK, with 359 in total.
In response to the impact of Covid-19 on opportunities for face-to-face learning, teaching and assessment on campus, blended, hybrid and online learning approaches, Advance HE has developed a suite of support for institutions including Active Digital Design and Teaching Skills Masterclasses. These aim to help institutions to develop curricula fit for the 'new normal' and to provide staff with the tools and skills to deliver teaching in this flexible environment.