The Vice-Chancellor and President, Association of African Universities (AAU), Professor Olusola Oyewole, has challenged academic staff on the need to adopt the use of modern technologies to enhance quality teaching and effective learning in the nation's Ivory Towers.
Giving this challenge at a 2- day Capacity Building Workshop, organised by the Centre for Innovation and Strategic in Learning and Teaching (CISLT) on “Modern Methods of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education”, Professor Oyewole, who was represented by the Chairperson, Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD), Professor Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, called on the management of higher educational institutions in Nigeria to put emphasis on the development of teaching and learning policies in their institutions for better performance.
The Vice-Chancellor lauded the organisers of the workshop for hosting it as the 2015/2016 Academic Session was commencing and assured that the University would continue to play a pivotal role in the advancement of quality teaching and effective learning. The Director of CISLT, Dr. Olusegun Folorunso, had earlier disclosed that CISLT was established by the Senate of the University to widen the scope of the then Webometrics Unit, adding that the Centre was operational under the Office of the Vice-Chancellor with the following objectives: To provide systematic planning, monitoring and evaluation that would sustain and improve on the standards of teaching, learning, research and extension services in the University in order to enable, promote and investigate the integration of learning technologies in teaching and learning, as well as to promote, develop and evaluate pedagogically effective, innovative and transformative uses of ICTs for teaching and learning in the University.
According to him, in fulfilling the Centre’s core objectives and mandates in FUNAAB, members of the University community are sensitized through weekly write-ups called Teaching and Learning Tips, via the University website and individual e-mails on global best practices of teaching and learning as obtainable in world-class universities with the hope that the quality of teaching and learning efforts would have been significantly improved upon. Dr. Folorunso pointed out that the feedbacks received from members of the University community necessitated the capacity building workshop tagged, “Modern Methods of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education”. He revealed that the workshop was for academic staff within the cadre of Assistant Lecturer to Lecturer I, as part of University’s efforts towards staff development, adding that the workshop was divided into three modules, which included how to engage university teachers in quality teaching for effective learning in higher education institutions, mentoring among academic staff, teaching and learning with technology. The Director of CISLT stated that at the end of the workshop, it was expected that the University would harvest inputs that should enhance the realisation of the teaching and learning policy in FUNAAB, ensure that the University Management appreciates staff productivity backed with annual award, stating that the University may inaugurate a committee on the award of innovative teacher/lecturer of the year, among others.
In his presentation on "Mentorship: A Missing Link in the University Educational Culture”, the Dean, Student Affairs, Professor Yemi Akegbejo-Samsons, said a mentor cannot give what he/she does not have to a mentee. According to him, mentoring students could greatly improve the quality of higher education and build capacity for the University in the 21st Century-knowledge economy. He, therefore, recommended that concerted efforts and workable programmes should be put in place in the various Colleges and Departments to enforce mentoring for both student and faculty. Corroborating him, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, spoke on the benefits of mentoring, which he said, boosts confidence, improves inter-personal skills, enhances competence and professional development, adding that the commitment of the mentee was vital during the learning process.
The Dean, University’s College of Plant Science and Crop Production (COLPLANT), Professor Mufutau Atayese, as well as the Director of Distance Learning, Professor Olusegun Idowu, also stressed the need for teachers to be innovative on the job in a bid to improve their skills through the use of technology such as ICT, while Professor Adio Akinwale, of the Department of Computer Science, College of Physical Sciences (COLPHYS), who was represented at the occasion by Dr. Adebayo Abayomi-Alli, conducted the hands-on session for the participants, as part of teaching method using technology. He guided the participants on how to use Facebook and Nota Bene, to enhance teaching and learning, while he focused on the creation of groups and pages on Facebook as an avenue for enhancing teaching and learning.
Speaking on the significance of quality service delivery, the Chairperson, FUNAAB Chapter of SERVICOM, Mrs. Francisca Aroyeun, said the University would want to pride itself as being service compact-compliant, while stressing the need for proper monitoring and reporting of service failure in any part of the University, most especially, the service needed for teaching and learning. She further advised lecturers to make sure they managed their classrooms properly by attending to students’ needs appropriately. She explained that SERVICOM simply means Service Compact With All Nigerians and was aimed at ensuring effective service delivery. Mrs. Aroyeun said that for academic staff, their ‘customers’ include students, staff and external stakeholders who have the right to challenge service failure through SERVICOM. "Your service delivery is expected to be timely, courteous, polite and respectful", she stressed. A total of about 175 academic staff registered for the workshop.
In a related development, the Chairperson, SERVICOM, Mrs. Francisca Aroyeun, has led the FUNAAB SERVICOM team to sensitize students of the University while having lectures at the Julius Amioba Okojie (JAO) Lecture Hall, Mahmood Yakubu Lecture Theatre, Multi-purpose Building (MPB) Lecture Hall, as well as the FUNAAB Ceremonial Building. While addressing staff and students in the places visited, Mrs. Aroyeun narrated the history, activities and importance of SERVICOM in the country, stating that it was not meant to witch-hunt anyone, but to ensure efficient and effective public service delivery to Nigerians. The Chairperson explained that students also deserved better service delivery in terms of access to information and conducive learning environment, noting that without students, there could never have been a University.
She, therefore, implored the students to be law-abiding, punctual at lectures, polite, friendly with one another, respectful to both academic and non-teaching staff of FUNAAB and never joke with their continuous assessment and examinations, as she advised them to feel free to channel their observations, suggestions or complaints, via the Short Message Service (SMS), telephone call, or electronic mail to the SERVICOM office in the University. It would be recalled that the SERVICOM Chairperson had earlier sensitized non- teaching staff of FUNAAB.