Centre for Academic Development Hosts Online Teaching Skills Webinar Series
By: Puleng Maphisa and Nontobeko Moimane 07 April 2022
The Centre for Academic Development (CAD) at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) hosted a series of webinars on Thursday, 24 March 2022. The focus was on the current global trends in teaching and learning through dialogue.
This was the first of a series of webinars planned to upskill staff to excel in online education while endorsing the development of exemplary online courses through a post-workshop that forms part of development initiatives within CAD department.
The purpose of the webinar was to enable academic staff to implement a course design dashboard that will have an empirical change on online learning.
Welcoming all delegates present in the webinar, Dr. Muntuwenkosi Chili, the CAD Executive Director, stated that this webinar would provide delegates with essential knowledge and an excellent opportunity to share experiences in teaching and learning issues. He further mentioned that such webinars are intended to help participants build up on both theory and practice expertise in order to be viable in an e-learning environment.
Such platforms help to explore the critical issues educators need to learn and understand about e-learning in a digital age. ” For us at VUT to make a quality of teaching and learning and increase throughput and pass rate, as CAD we have been given the mandate to focus on the professional academic development of staff, as well as student academic development, I hope through these initiatives we will be able to achieve such goals,” said Dr. Chili.
Different speakers from other universities gave presentations. These included:
· Dr. Dolf Jordaan – Deputy Director for e-Learning (Pretoria)
· Ms. Zethu Lubisi – Senior Learning Technologist (Wits)
· Mr. Lungile Mdanyana – e-Access Manager in the Library (Walter Sisulu) and
· Dr. Lulekwa Baleni – Senior Consultant Curriculum Development and Review in the Teaching and Learning Centre (Fort Hare).
Ms. Zethu Lubisi (Wits) spoke about social presence in an online learning environment and the practical experience within the online space. She emphasized the importance of keeping students alive and interactive during online teaching. To demonstrate the importance of online learning, Lubisi requested everyone online to switch on their video cameras and elaborated: “I asked for everyone to switch their cameras on because when lecturing, it is vital to know who you are talking to and for students to understand who their lecturer is.”
She further explained that students tend to enjoy online teaching more when they become interactive. It is thus important for lecturers to involve students’ opinions where necessary to prevent boredom and falling asleep.
Mr. Lungile Mdanyana (WSU) said students come from different backgrounds and have unique sets of relationships, interests, abilities and interests, and other ways to learn. Therefore, lecturers need to understand these features. He elaborated that no student not be left behind, and everyone should be supported in a way that works for them.
All speakers shared insightful presentations to better the online teaching and learning environment for lecturers and students. During a Questions-and-Answer session, academic staff interacted with the speakers.
Another highlight of the session was an opportunity for 100 participants to partake in the course-coach programme, which involves a combination of live sessions and custom guidance that will run over 30 days.
At each webinar, participants will receive personalized advice and support on designing and developing quality online courses or improving the ones they have already designed.