REFLECTION PAPER ON: ADVANCED OBE/SCL TRAINING WORKSHOP


by Younus Wafa

Introduction 

In the current century, the human beings are encountered with some global challenges (e.g: global sustainability, energy, global poverty and health and infrastructures) and they have to battle with so that to overcome on. These challenges cannot be solved without professionals and expert people and we will not have these professionals without a system of education compatible with the global system of education. Therefore, we must make our system of education as a global one to overcome on these challenges cooperatively with the world people. Thus, this paper mostly focuses on the reflection of OBE-SCL Workshop which will really produce such active professionals in a global level so that to take part for the solving of these global challenges.

Therefore, in this reflection paper I have started from my backward looking, continued with the inward looking and ended with forward looking on OBE-SCL workshop which has been conducted at UTM – Malaysia from 1st to 16th of April 2018.

Backward Looking

As a young lecturer, when I joined Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU) in 2007, I always was thinking about changing of the teacher centered method of teaching and learning to the student centered one, because I experienced during my higher education that with the teacher centered method, we cannot reach to our modern/global goals of teaching and learning and will be put in the backward of the global education.

Therefore, when I started teaching at KPU, I did not understand very much about OBE/SCL before joining to its workshop, but despite of this, I was somewhat implementing this method of teaching and learning in my courses unconsciously (without understanding the OBE-SCL terminologies). For example I was preparing a course policy and course outcomes for all courses to be taught by me at the beginning of the semester and distribute it to the students so that the students knew the goal and objectives of the course and each of them had to achieve the goal. As well as, I asked the students to actively involve the learning process inside the class through questions/ discussions and was trying to create an open space inside the class so that any students could participate to the certain discussion without any hesitation or scare. With such a method I thought that the lecture will not be boring for the students and they can learn and enjoy it.

Beside of this, when I heard the name of OBE/SCL, I started to study more about it and then I found out and understood that it is a new method of teaching and learning, but I did not understand very much about them, particularly OBE was more complicated for me. Anyway, I tried to implement it in my own courses, but unfortunately the problems which I encountered with, was the lack of my understanding from this method form one side and the unfamiliarity of the students with it from the other side. So, it was not very easy to overcome on these problems in a short period of time.

Luckily, our university was asked through an official Maktoob from HEDP office to introduce some of its eligible young lecturers for this workshop which is going to be launched in Malaysia. Our university did that and I was one of the young lecturer who was introduced to HEDP for further considerations. Since, the number of the introduced lecturer from the whole public universities through the country was very high than the intended number, so the HEDP office put the selection of the champions in a competition process and asked all the lecturers to write a teaching portfolio, preparing some supporting documents and be ready for a face to face interview for better evaluation. Fortunately, by doing these processes which was really based on a merit and transparent competition, I was selected as a champion to attend the workshop in Malaysia. (Special thanks of HEDP regarding this transparent process).

Inward Looking

I found out myself very lucky that selected as a participant of OBE/SCL workshop at UTM – Malaysia, where OBE/SCL method has been started and gradually conducted in a developing Asian country since 2000 (I am not sure).

So, this workshop was not only useful and joyful for me regarding OBE/SCL, but in many other issues which can be summarized as following as well:

  • The nature of traveling itself was a lesson and experience.
  • Introducing with a large number of lecturers/professors from the whole universities of Afghanistan with different ideas and concepts and got related with them.
  • Introducing with experienced professors/professionals at UTM which can solve our future problems by communicating and cooperating of them.
  • Observing of modern teaching and learning methods and environments (UTM compound, active classes etc.)
  • Meeting of an Islamic Asian country which is quickly being developed, its people and culture.
  • More important, it was totally a scientific tour that itself can be a good experience.In general, this workshop was really very useful, because during 16 days stay at Malaysia – UTM, I learned a lot about techniques of teaching and learning and covered most of my expectations regarding teaching and learning. Now I know very much than what I understood before about OBE/SCL and after this I know that how I should teach and deal with the students, so that they can attain a lot. Finally in one sentence, “I learned what OBE/SCL really is?”
  • Totally, I learned the basic concepts of the following issues regarding OBE/SCL:
  • Beside of this joyful issues, one thing that somewhat disappointed and frustrated me was, comparing of Afghanistan with Malaysia in terms of development in different fields particularly in the field of education, but no problem, I hope that the people of Afghanistan especially the educated generation give their hands to hand and push this country toward the global path in different fields.
  • Comprehensive definition of OBE/SCL.
  • Preparation of outcomes for both program and courses.
  • Constructive alignments
  • Continual quality improvement (CQI)
  • Action verbs of Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Assessment tools and methods
  • Active and cooperative learning
  • Blended learningThe only goal that made me to attend in this workshop was indeed the understanding of new and updated methods of teaching and learning that fortunately most of them were covered by this workshop.As a learner, this workshop revealed me that the whole teaching and learning methods are not summarized in just one method or OBE/SCL workshop and its books, because they just paved the way of teaching and learning methods for us and after this, it is our responsibility to study more and more about any useful methods so that to change our traditional and passive methods of teaching and learning to the modern and active one.
  • Therefore, to be honest, before attending to the OBE/SCL training workshop at UTM -Malaysia, I had just heard its name and had a very compendious information about it, because due to some personal problems, I could never find a chance to participate to any related workshops and trainings in Afghanistan, but when I attended in this training workshop in Malaysia, I really found out it awesome, interesting, useful and wonderful, because it really changed my mindset regarding to the teaching and learning methods which I already was familiar with.
  • This workshop revealed me as a lecturer to teach the students of 21st century in compatible with this century needs and criteria. It means that in this century the methods of teaching and learning have transferred from teacher centered learning methods to the student centered one. Therefore the lecturers have to deal with in such a way so that the student can achieve the outcomes through student centered learning (SCL), because in this method the lecturer/ instructor plays the role of facilitator to guide them and provide the necessary things and tools for learning, while the most learning activities and processes go to the students that they have to perform them to gain the expected outcome/s (active and cooperative learning).
  • All the above mentioned issues were designed in four text books of OBE/SCL in details and this workshop covered all the books. In addition, this workshop also covered the pre-tests, post-tests, class activities, class presentations, quizzes, exams and finally face to face interviews which was very useful.

Forward looking

The thing that I personally would like to improve is, the current method of my own teaching and learning to the new ones, particularly in compatible with the OBE/SCL method gradually not in a short time, because our country is from undeveloped countries without any background and infrastructure of OBE/SCL, but indeed there is the capacity to start and digest it. Thus, of course, it needs some more time to be familiarized.

As a participant of OBE/SCL workshop, the following are my specific suggestions for further improvement of it:

  • Consciously and logically convince ourselves that this method is really functional and useful for our country, then decide to facilitate it.
  • Since OBE/SCL is a culture, so it needs to be continually noticed or advertised for the whole people through media to be aware of it until it finds its place particularly in the academic society. Once it becomes a culture, then we have succeeded and easily can make it as compulsory manner to be conducted anywhere which is needed.
  • To expand this workshop to all public and private universities, institutions, academic centers, industries and even Ministry of Education (MoE) to clearly define and spread the OBE/SCL as a new method of teaching and learning. Then conduct this workshop to all of them continually.
  • To establish a professional committee in the frame of MoHE-HEDP formed of OBE/SCL champions to facilitate this method through the country.
  • To establish the professional sub-committees inside the universities formed of OBE/SCL champions to instruct and monitor this method at the universities with enough allowances, because it needs too much time and as well as hardworking to prepare everything.
  • To facilitate the main and necessary infrastructures of this method for the whole public universities of the country.
  • By doing of all the above mentioned issues and approaches, we can guarantee our future education quality and empower our students and graduates to raise their self-confidence. As well as it will strongly help us to push our universities for global ranking and accreditation.As a participant of this workshop, I got very much experience either from the content of the workshop or participants, because firstly we knew each other, then exchanged our ideas, discussed on the topics friendly, experienced the implementation of OBE/SCL at UTM classes and more important we were introduced with the UTM professors who are implementing OBE/SCL in their classes. Overall, this workshop was really a good experience for me.While we start implementing of OBE/SCL from the level of our department, then it will be surely spread to the entire university and creates a question like what is OBE/SCL. To find the answer of this question, each lecturer will be motivated to attend to the workshop to learn OBE/SCL method and then implement it in their courses. So this is one way of motivating the other lecturers to attend the workshop. The other way is the compulsory participation of each lecturer which can be ordain by the top managers and somehow force the lecturers to participate (e.g. MoHE, University managers…). The 3rd way is considering of some allowances for the lecturers (if possible) so that to encourage them to attend to the workshop and finally there would be some more motivation techniques which can be tried if necessary. In conclusion, I recommend that this method should not be institutionalized only in the scope of Higher Education, but in the domain of Education as well, so that to construct a strong base for making this method as a culture from the school level.Sincerely Kabul Polytechnic University (KPU) 
  • Mohammad Yonus Wafa
  • As a champion of OBE/SCL, I think this method can be easily institutionalized in Afghanistan Higher Education, if and if, there is a strong volition and decision from the top managers of the country (from the president) to instruct and support the lower managers up to the lecturers, because there is adequate capacity to familiarize and implement it. By having the real support of the top managers, it can be institutionalized gradually through the entire country either in higher education or lower level (education level). As it mentioned before and repeated here is: to make this method as compulsory method of teaching and learning after conduction of the workshops for all lecturers can easily pave the way of institutionalization of it.
  • I will start the implementation of OBE/SCL in my own courses as much as I can to support it at my department, as I have recently started somewhat SCL in my courses and surely will expand it in the future. If I do so, then I will become an example among the lecturers and students who use OBE/SCL and it surely affects the others. Moreover, I will present the main points of OBE/SCL at the level of my department to give the overall concepts of this method to my colleagues and encourage them to use it.
  • In my point of view, OBE is more important and complicated than SCL that should be deeply considered in details, particularly the sections of PEO, PO and CO need more help that how to be prepared. Moreover, it will be very good if the four books of OBE/SCL can be professionally translated in national languages, so that all lectures can use them without any language restrictions.

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