By: Sumaya Hussein (email@example.com)
Thumbnail photo courtesy of Moses Wafula
Daystar University has changed its learning system to a problem-based and collaborative learning approach, beginning with the first and second years this January 2021 semester.
Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centred approach in which students learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem.
Speaking during the Parents’ Welcome on Monday’s orientation, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Laban Ayiro, called for students to “enhance the intellectual rigour of the university”.
“We have decided in management, and we are taking this to the senate, that we are overhauling the way we teach completely,” said Prof Ayiro.
The VC argued that the University cannot continue teaching students the same way it did thirty years ago. He added that the goal is to make students “have the ability to learn and relearn constantly.”
Problem-based learning includes self-directed learning strategies and team participation that will allow students to be more active in learning processes. Students will engage in collaborative learning and turn out to be more skilled, competent and have a competitive edge.
“This is an ideal Ayiro is prepared to die for,” said the VC. “It must happen. If there’s something I’m going to leave behind in Daystar, is that we are going to produce students who are problem solvers.”
In the new learning approach, students will be able to acquire 70% of their grade during the semester and therefore, the tension of final examinations will no longer exist.
Prof Ayiro, who was a former Vice-Chancellor in Moi University, acknowledged that Problem-based learning was adopted in its school of Medicine, which saw their doctors stand out today.
The VC added that Daystar will no longer be a passive institution whereby students come for lectures, write notes and go. Rather, they will be engaged with their faculties in case studies, debates, discussions and models. Students will also pursue solutions to authentic problems by asking and refining questions.
“I want my students to debate ideas, to make predictions, to design plans and experiments, to collect and analyze data, to draw conclusions, to communicate ideas and findings, and ask questions, and above all create products,” said the VC.