Blog update: Ending the week on a high note

Training 1, day 3


Ending the week on a high note


As we come to the end of the first week of our SUCSESS training program I could only look back and be surprised at how much knowledge I have gained through interacting and discussing with colleagues from different universities, which included Haaga Helia University, Oulu University from Finland, Sheffield Hallam University from the United Kingdom, University of Zululand, University of Pretoria and our very own University of Johannesburg from South Africa. Many of these colleagues have more experience than me which I believe was the most encouraging part for me to be part of this project/training knowing that that would benefit me a lot as an academic. I started the training with high hopes and expectations that I will learn a lot by engaging with other academics and observing and being exposed to how other local and international universities go about achieving their purpose as a source of knowledge. Having said that I can bold and proudly state that I made the right choice to be part of this as this training project has already supposed my expectations. 


Touching base on the previous two workshops before today, being a new lecturer focusing on business studies within STH at the University of Johannesburg (SA), I was inspired and challenged to relook my teaching methods and learn a lot from those training. Listening to the presentation on teaching methods made me realize how much I can still learn, which teaching methods I am currently utilizing and whether I am on the right path or not, and where to change and improve. The presentation about different pedagogical approaches was very informative and inspiring. Approaches such as problem-based learning, project-based learning, and the more interesting one that caught my attention, inquiry-based learning, were clearly explained and discussed. Further areas discussed on the day that was of more interest to me as an individual was on the perceptions of learning and perceptions of knowledge. It was also interesting to learn that as a lecturer I am responsible for creating an atmosphere for learning that is inclusive and I must always see myself as a learner who is striving to create knowledge for students rather than an expert. 


The presentation and discussion on session 2 focused on future competencies required for university graduates. This was extremely interesting and very informative. It was particularly interesting in the breakout room discussion where each group member presented their suggestions and ideas of competencies. During the presentation, eight future competencies were presented which included - amongst others -career readiness, critical thinking and problem solving, leadership, and oral and written communication. It was very interesting how group members from different backgrounds and institution would agree on common ideas. It was also interesting to learn that not all competencies can be taught in a classroom. For example, competencies such as attitude and values can be acquired in different spheres and experiences of life. I believe that as the STH we have initiatives and activities in place that assist in developing our students in these competencies. I see these training as an opportunity for many of us to go back and relook at where we could improve as lecturers in our modules and as a school in order to enhance and instil these future competencies so our students are ready for the future and the industry.


The third day, session 3 hocussed on the topic, Industry and student perspectives on university education and collaboration. My highlight of the session was when three different questions/sub-topics were raised to be discussed by three different groups in the breakout rooms and we all came with different ideas to discuss them in the main room. All three questions were very key to me. The questions were on entrepreneurship, building collaboration with industry and building student self-esteem. Very helpful suggestions were raised such as inviting entrepreneurs to class to share their stories, offering more practical courses in entrepreneurship and technology for both students and staff, helping budding entrepreneurs and collaborating while using technology. The maintaining and initiation of the relationship between university and industry was a strong focus for many participants indicating how crucial this is in benefiting all stakeholders involved. Suggestions on how this can be done was a very important topic which included universities having to involve industry when developing their curricula, following up when students are placed in industry, and discussing and presenting findings with organisations involved in our projects. Finally, the topic raised at the end of the session was on challenges presented by Covid19 in reference to student exposure to the industry and the topics lecturer’s self-awareness and inclusiveness. It was interesting to observe that the STH has initiated many of the ideas and suggestions raised even if these need to be improved upon, as the school has strong collaboration with industry and keeps on enhancing and strengthening that relationship. Many entrepreneurial activities are always initiated on campus, along with guest lectures in class and during first-year seminars

  

In summary, based on the past three sessions it is clear that by the end of the training I will benefit and learn many new ways and I cannot wait to take some of this many ideas and implement in my classroom.

Written by:


Vongani Ntimane

Academic lecturer

School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STH)


This blog post has also been published on the University of Johannesburg website: https://www.uj.ac.za/faculties/cbe/School-of-Tourism-and-Hospitality-STH/Pages/sth-projects.aspx