Teachers' workshop: Reflections and opportunities for the upcoming academic year

June 1, 2022

Last week UniPID had the chance to meet some of the teachers behind UniPID courses, listen to their experiences, and discuss opportunities to further develop the Virtual Studies Programme.

In a bid to further improve the Virtual Studies Programme, last week UniPID conducted a virtual teacher’s workshop for the second time. The workshop brought together teachers of UniPID courses drawn from all the network member universities to discuss the overall student feedback as well as share their experiences teaching the courses organized in the 2021-2022 academic year. The workshop also provided an avenue for teachers to map out possibilities for course improvements in the upcoming year.

The Virtual Studies Programme aims to offer equal opportunities for students to learn about global development and sustainability, with a specific focus on Global South perspective. Courses are targeted for all the students studying at UniPID member universities. All courses are held in English and are worth 5 ECTS, with each course being offered at least three times. By taking part in the virtual studies, students learn about important themes while they also gain academic competences in key concepts of development studies as well as improve professional capacities to work in an international environment. Since 2020, some of the courses have been produced in collaboration with partner universities in the Global South in order to strengthen the UniPID aim to integrate Global South perspectives in member universities’ education activities even stronger.

During the workshop, teachers got the chance to actively engage with each other and with UniPID’s coordination team on key issues touching on the responsibilities for teachers when organizing their courses. The workshop also provided an opportunity to reflect on the process for students taking the courses and how this could be simplified and further improved.

The workshop was also graced by Alemanji Aminkeng Atabong, a postgraduate researcher and lecturer from Åbo Akademi University. Aminkeng Atabong gave a keynote on the pedagogy of antiracism, which highlighted among other things that racial relations are a fundamental fabric of today’s multiracial society. Teachers should therefore take an active role in disrupting racial discrimination and structural challenges in higher education institutions by promoting antiracist pedagogical practices in their teaching and learning spaces. This is also a topic that UniPID aims to promote in the future: How to incorporate antiracism in curriculum development? How to embed antiracism in the practices of higher education institutions? These are questions that UniPID will also reflect when developing the activities and supporting member universities’ actions on global responsibility.

What is next? The teacher experiences gathered were very valuable and provided UniPID with important information to further enhance the Virtual Studies Programme. UniPID is currently working on updating the course catalogue for the 2022-2023 academic year. Heads up: there will be two new courses in the catalogue, so, stay tuned and keep an eye on the course catalogue!

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Photo credits: Alexander Ant, 2022 on Unsplash