Using the Five-Stage Model to Examine Capacity Building of Teaching Staff on Emergency Education in the Covid-19 Era at a Malawian University

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF10 Sub-theme: Inspiring Innovations // The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019 marked a turning point in the delivery of education globally. The exponential rise in positive cases months later left the majority of higher education institutions in the developing world awe-stricken as they had inadequate or no infrastructure to enable them to switch to emergency delivery modes. Universities in Malawi were equally affected and had to re-organise themselves to explore alternative modes of continuing with teaching and learning in the face of the contagion. This paper applies the five-stage model to examine a capacity building programme for teaching staff on emergency education in the Covid-19 era at the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences. The study was largely qualitative and data collection involved a questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews. Whilst most staff members initially held negative perceptions, the situation gradually changed as positive sentiments became widespread. The perceptual shift could essentially be attributed to intensive training on the e-learning platform, Moodle, as well as simultaneous acquisition of supporting infrastructure. Apparent increase in academic autonomy, which ostensibly arose from the urgent search for innovative education methodologies, further influenced favourable dispositions among the staff. In harmony with the five-stage model, there was progression of development among the teaching staff from low to high order skills although close supervision was critical during the first sessions of the training. Application of the model in the Malawian context would, however, be more effective if synchronous and asynchronous methods are integrated to help address challenges relating to internet connectivity and ICT resource constraints. Additionally, sufficient time would be required to facilitate the development of high-order thinking skills in the later stages of the model. // Paper ID 4633

Online Teaching Practice,Capacity Building,Teacher Education,Online Learning