Prof. Margareth Gfrerer (Ethiopia)
Generations of lecturers have been bothered by the perpetual question: “What should my students learn for being best prepared for their future?” – Lecturers with different backgrounds will give different answers. Fact is, all lecturers have the objective to prepare their students in the best possible way to find suitable work after graduation. This discussion raises the general question about the institutional accountability and the responsibilities of both lecturers and students. Curricula and syllabi set the formal frame, which indicates what could be expected in and from a study programme. They can be considered as being the standard operating procedure of teaching and learning to achieve the goals set. Most responsibilities are defined among all the parties involved in the higher education sector. But not all responsibilities are framed within contracts, regulations and laws. Generally, education experts understand the term of responsibility as referring to the duty of introducing students to contemporary (latest) knowledge and skills. On one side students should be prepared with the most suitable methodologies for their challenges ahead. On the other side there is the emphasis on duties by public servants or employees in general, which implicates not to step away from the path set but to act upon laws and regulations. For lecturers these paths are written down in curricula and syllabi. Changes in the way duties are to be fulfilled normally require changes in curricula and syllabi. A strict focus on the perseverance of duties give lecturers the confidence to be in line with the requirements set by rules and regulations but can lead to disappointments at the students’ side. Students eye on the demand from employers’ side and evaluate the applied their curricula, syllabi and the methodologies based on that understanding. Would lecturers stroll away from the path indicated by curricula and syllabi, they can be hold to account why they are not compliant with the norms set in curricula and syllabi. Rather than offering off-curriculum and off-syllabus contents, not documented in lecture books but elaborated on an individual basis by the respective lecturers, it is easier for many lecturers to stay on the set path of the existing curricula and syllabi. Lecturers, who dare to stroll away from the set path get deprived of the safety net but offer their students insights into the latest development in practice, science and research. The key performance indicator on employability of graduates applied for in higher education statistics and higher education information management systems requests exactly this data. - Higher education institutions as well as the ministries for higher education face the dilemma between (public) administration and pro-active (market or entrepreneurial) approaches. The objective of this research is to elaborate a way out of that dilemma by exploring the strengths and weaknesses of the just-in-time-teaching approach. The latter uses e-learning in the same way as classroom teaching with blended learning and teaching approaches. In a focus group discussion with Ethiopian lecturers the just-in-time-teaching approach will be discussed and analysed. Could it be considered as suitable for selected courses or study programmes in order to up-date the lecture content as well as the teaching methodology without interfering into the curricula and syllabi set by the higher education authorities? The result of this focus group discussion will be complemented by the researcher’s own experiences in applying the instruments of just-in-time teaching for many years. This research is structured into the six chapters. In the first chapter presents an introduction is given into the dilemma that public higher education institutions are facing in accepting state of the art education approaches vis-à-vis to the standard operating procedure approaches of lecturers. The second chapter will define the term just-in-time-teaching based on the literature available. The third chapter will present in brief the methodology for this research. The fourth chapter introduces the instruments of e-learning and classroom teaching as the core instruments for a just-in-time-teaching approach. The prerequisites, requirements and preparation for the implementation of a just-in-time-teaching will be accommodated within this chapter. Chapter five will focus on the justification, the benefits and the effects of just-in-time-teaching. The final chapter will draw the conclusion of the just-in-time-teaching approach in regard to verifiable indicators for the stakeholders on higher education outputs.
Use of e-learning tools for the just-in-time-teaching approach.
Prof. Margareth Gfrerer (Ethiopia)