Dr. Irfan Ahmed Rind
Glory after every fall’ might be the best expression to define my to-date and future achievements. Enthusiasm, excitement, passion, commitment, and most importantly optimism are the qualities in keeping the above expression alive. The journey started in 2000 when refused admission to a medical university— a shattered dream to have a title of " Dr. " in front of my name to live the expectations of my parents. Became " Dr " anyway after securing Gold medal in B.A and M.A English literature in 2005 from University of Sindh, Jamshoro Pakistan; becoming the one of four applicants from all over Pakistan to secure the best scholarship of HEC in 2007; getting M.A Applied Linguistics from Sussex University UK in 2008, and completing Ph.D. studies with a thesis that the external examiner defined as ‘a quality piece of work’ in 2012 from Sussex University UK. Such successes brought humbleness and modesty; at the same time increasing the level of enthusiasm and commitment to continue the same chain of success in research and teaching. I believe that individual success is strongly associated with the success of the institute where one studies/works. Thus, efforts should always be made in developing and promoting the home institute. It was done for the University of Sindh by making it the focus of my Ph.D. thesis; the same was done for Sussex University by promoting it worldwide as an international student ambassador and representing it in different forums as a researcher. And now all efforts are put together to promote and enhance the Department of Education at Sukkur IBA University as an Associate Professor.
Assurance of Learning and Online Assessment
Quality has been high on the agenda for higher education since the inception of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). Most of the education policies since 2002 highlighted the importance of quality of teaching, learning, and assessment processes. To formalize assurance of quality, Quality Assurance Agency was established within HEC in 2005, and later Quality Enhancement Cells (QEC) within each university. Along with other quality measures like collecting students’ feedback and providing guidance to teachers on teaching, content, and assessment, QECs implements quality assessment mechanisms of academic programs through Self-Assessment Reports (SAR). The main purpose of SARs is to improve academic programs and ensure high academic standards by providing feedback for faculty and administration to initiate an action plan for improvement. Although a good initiative, SARs kept the quality of “learning” in the background. A complementary concept to ensure the quality of learning was introduced in the West, called Assurance of Learning (AoL), which is a systematic process for determining and revising degree program learning goals; designing, delivering, and improving degree program curricula to achieve learning goals; and demonstrating that degree program learning goals have been met. The learning goals of higher education programs are to be based on higher-order thinking skills like analysis, evaluation, and synthesis. Assessments, either formative or summative, are the main tool to ensure that the program learning objectives are met. Traditional unseen/closed-book assessments can only assess lower-order thinking skills including memorization and comprehension; whereas opened-book assignments can be highly effective in assessing high-order thinking skills. Some prominent universities of Pakistan have adopted AoL, however, continued the implementation of traditional unseen examination practice. Research on higher education institutes in Pakistan suggests that we are quick in adopting new concepts or models, but struggle to leave old practices. Moving to opened-book assessment has been a challenge for most of the teachers and higher education institutes at least at the undergraduate level. However, Covid19 has compelled teachers and universities to move to online assessments, most of which are based on open-book assignments. This presentation will discuss the challenges and opportunities of using online opened-book assessment in the light of AoL.