The first webinar aimed to share partner experiences with aligning their programme level objectives with learning outcomes and assessments in their curriculum design. Three partner teams – Gulu University, University of Port Harcourt and National University of Lesotho – presented examples of curriculum alignment from their own course design. This webinar generated useful discussion about the distinctions between hard and soft skills, designing learning outcomes to sufficiently represent both hard and soft skills, appropriate verbs and contexts to attach to each as well as adopting a spiral approach to the acquisition of soft skills by students over the duration of the whole programme, rather than in only one course. It was an invaluable opportunity for partners to comment on each other’s curricula, discuss common challenges and debate difficult issues.
In the second webinar Strathmore University shared their approach to designing a student internship in their curriculum. The internship component arose in response to the results of their stakeholder engagement process, which emphasized lack of work experience as a barrier to recruitment. Incorporating an internship as part of a masters curriculum is a useful way to expose students to the workplace, practice soft skills, as well as to develop and maintain relationships with the sector. Strathmore’s proposed 3-month internship is a credit bearing part of the curriculum. Students are required to co-develop their own scope of work and deliverables in collaboration with the host organisation and a faculty member, as well as provide a detailed report and presentation at the end. The internship also includes intentional follow-up by the academic supervisor during the internship process. This webinar was a fantastic opportunity to share an exciting and innovative approach to meeting sector needs and it generated interesting discussion among partners on how to find a sustainable system to incentivising industry to host internships, the ways to incorporate it into the curriculum and the academic supervision thereof.
The third webinar was hosted by the UCT team and focused on the details of how to go about developing the curriculum template provided by the UCT team as a deliverable for this project. This template will essentially serve as the blueprint for the curriculum and covers a full spectrum of learning activities, assessment, learning materials required, staffing etc. We look forward to having more of these interactive learning opportunities as the partners chart their progress through the development of their curricula.