In the sprawling green campus of the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology (FCFMT) in Nigeria, a unique educational alliance blossomed, marking a pivotal moment in the academic journey of many. At the heart of this collaboration were two distinguished figures: Dr. Jessica Briskin and Dr. Tutaleni I. Asino. Their quest? To boost the proficiency and range of blended learning among Nigerian educators.
The endeavor was an evolution of a Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) assignment titled “Building Faculty Pedagogical Skills to Effectively Deliver AET Curricula.” An earlier volunteer recommendation noted the importance of regular teacher training workshops and a dedicated platform for online pedagogical education.
For three days, the duo held workshops focusing on the essence of online education and blended learning. They stressed the cardinal role of clear learning objectives. However, a realization struck: many needed to grasp teaching philosophies or the know-how to draft these objectives. Consequently, day two pivoted, introducing educators to the art of crafting these goals and, later, to tools instrumental for data collection, analysis, presentation, and integrating interactivity. F2F volunteers Dr. Briskin, and Dr. Asino did more than lean on high-tech or expensive solutions. They championed tools that were user-friendly, freely accessible, and within the college’s reach, encapsulating the essence of true education: accessibility and adaptability. On the fourth day, the scholars shifted their focus to the students. This shorter session concentrated on popular platforms like Google Forms, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, aimed to fortify students’ data collection, analysis, and presentation skills. Interwoven were discussions on the challenges and promises of blended learning, an invaluable perspective for these future thought leaders.
The assignment’s resonances were multifaceted. For Dr. Asino, it spotlighted the universality of educational challenges, breaking the myth that specific geographies inherently possess a higher pedagogical acumen. The Nigerian experience, for him, was a testament to educators’ shared struggles and aspirations worldwide. He cherished the camaraderie forged with collaborations already in the pipeline. For Dr. Briskin, her debut volunteering gig with Winrock was transformative. She marveled at the drive and zest of the FCFMT’s faculty and students, echoing the sentiments of one student: “We cannot be stuck doing what we did yesterday because we will miss tomorrow’s treasures.” The endeavor was not just about imparting knowledge; it was a two-way street. Briskin herself departed with invaluable insights on the digital age’s nuances and the diffusion of innovation.
This collaboration, while time-bound, has sown seeds for future partnerships and a shared commitment to excellence in education. For the faculty and students at FCFMT, the ripples of this endeavor will be felt for years to come as they navigate the evolving landscape of blended learning with newfound expertise and enthusiasm.