Botho ICT University holds first BothoTED Talk
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
One of Botswana’s two ICT oriented institutions, Botho University, has made unprecedented progress in transforming the higher education landscape of Botswana. Currently the centrality of the students learning experience at Botho is evidenced by the university’s deliberate move to set up a Teaching Excellence Department (TED). According to the TED manager, Tom Atonga, the Department’s main objective is to improve University-wide quality of teaching and learning. One way of doing this is by creating a forum where teaching staff can meet and discuss their teaching, hence the BothoTED talks.
The inaugural BothoTED Talk titled “What informs your teaching?’’ was held recently in Gaborone campus and streamed live in Francistown and Maun campus. The talk was delivered by Dr. Silas Oluka, the Deputy Director in charge of Teaching and Learning Development at the University of Botswana. Dr. Oluka is an academic development scholar and an expert researcher in the field of education. During the talk, Dr. Oluka noted that lecturers should move away from the ritual of lecturing to a focus on student learning. He observed that due to poor teaching, many students are less, rather than more, able to extract meaning from their learning for relevant application. It is no wonder therefore that students graduate from our universities without a core set of workplace skills.
With regards to assessment, Dr. Oluka noted that appropriate assessment is critical to the teaching and learning process. Assessment is something that lecturers should do ‘with’ students and ‘for’ students and not ‘to’ students, he said. He observed that the higher education challenge currently is the shift from consuming to producing, from being passive to being passionate, and from mere presentation to participation in the teaching and learning process.
In the end, Ramaraju Gavararaju the Dean, office of Research and Quality Management indicated that the talks were a huge success and a good way for the University of Botswana and Botho University to collaborate since they both share a common denominator of good practices.