Bethany Wilinski

Assistant Professor of the College of Education.

In alignment with the College of Education’s goals for global engagement and outreach, and in support of Michigan State University’s Tanzania Partnership Program (TPP), this project takes an innovative approach to addressing a need for faculty capacity building at Dar es Salaam University College of Education (DUCE). The goal of this project is to develop a virtual professional development course for university faculty that will enhance their understanding of play-based and engaged learning and support their ability to teach future teachers how to use these methods. Play-based and engaged learning is a current national priority in Tanzania, yet there is evidence that few practicing teachers use these methods. One of the barriers to the use of engaged learning methods is that teachers often do not experience them in their university training. By supporting DUCE faculty to use play-based and engaged methods in university classes, this project seeks to contribute to the transformation of teaching and learning in classrooms across Tanzania. This activity was originally planned to occur face-to-face as part of TPP’s development agenda, but COVID-19 has led us to consider innovative ways to connect virtually with faculty. Beyond designing a course of learning that is engaging and contributes to transforming faculty pedagogy, a key goal of this project is to determine how to make such a course accessible in a low-resource context where internet access is often unreliable. In addition to immediate benefits to DUCE faculty and students, learning from this project will inform the College of Education’s Global Education Engagement initiative, which is focused on innovations in higher education capacity building. This virtual engagement will also represent a significant innovation for TPP and will help us to identify viable avenues for continued virtual communication and collaboration.