A team from Faculty of Computing and Technology visited the Oxford University, UK to participate a train-the- trainer programme on Student- Centered and Learning Centered Education at the Oxford Learning Institute. The participants were Dr.Chamli Pushpakumara, Dr. Dhammika Weerasinghe, Dr.Sidath Liyanage, Mr. N.G.A. Karunatilleke and Ms. Mahishi Ranaweera. The team left for UK on 29 th November 2016. The training programme provided by the Oxford Learning Institute encompassed both the theoretical and practical aspects of Student centered learning and learning-centered education. The tacit knowledge gained by participating in this workshop on how to apply these innovative teaching methods to Sri Lankan context will be immensely valuable for Faculty of Computing and Technology to instigate its teaching practices in the new Academic Year 2016/2017.
Prof. Lynn McAlpine, Professor Emerita of Higher Education Development at the University of Oxford trained the staff members on novel approaches for Student Centered / Learning centered education. Delivery of curricula in this new method was discussed and the staff were trained as trainers to train the other staff on their return. Furthermore, other cutting edge learning and teaching methodologies in disseminating technology related knowledge such as problem based learning and outcome based learning will also be covered. The group also visited the University of Reading on 5 th December 2016, to witness how novel approaches to teaching such as flipped classrooms, Games based teaching, problem based learning and inclusive education is practiced in the UK. The resource persons included Prof. Anne Crook, Prof. Rachel McCrindle, Dr. John Bowen, Dr. Phil Dash, Dr. Yoshikatsu Hayashi, Dr. Faustina Hwang, Dr. Balazs Janko, and Mr. Steve Thomas. Discussions on curriculum design and industrial placements were also held during the session.
The team also visited the University of Derby to observe how industrial placements and novel apprentice-based learning are practiced. Past and current students expressed their ideas on the industrial training and industry partners also joined the discussion. Dr. Kapila Liyanage organized the session. The team also visited the research facilities and the lecture halls specially designed for student-centered learning. This training on student centered learning and learning-centred education would enable the University of Kelaniya to position itself as a unique centre of excellence in computing and technology unparalleled to existing institutes by capitalizing on the expertise they endow in multiple disciplines combined with the competencies in the domain of computing and technology. The skills gained during this workshop is valuable for other Faculties of the University as well. The trained lecturers conducted two workshops to train the other staff of the Faculty of Computing and Technology, at Palm Village Hotel, Wattala. As a newly established faculty catering to technically oriented students, imparting problem solving skills and producing graduates who are practically oriented is essential. Experts have pointed out that such teaching practices would enable students to become more employable. The Faculty of Computing will apply Student Centred learning methods from its inception in order to produce graduates that are more adept and with a high level of problem solving skills.