Apsara has an MBA from the Management and Science University of Malaysia and professional qualifications from BCS and ACS. Her expertise extends into industrial and skills development training, quality assurance and academic management. She has been involved in curriculum development and academic research projects with the Ministry of Higher Education, USAID and Microsoft Unlimited Potential Partnership. Her current research focuses on online education as an alternative in the Sri Lankan educational system.
LSC Connect: Hi Apsara, can you tell us a little about yourself and your career history?
Apsara: I’m Apsara Hewage and I have been at BSC since its inception in December 2010. I am a Senior Lecturer with responsibilities of teaching, guiding and assessing students. I am involved in setting assessments, assessment marking and Internal Verification for BSC and LSC group.
LSC Connect: How did you get into teaching?
Apsara: Well, based on my academic and extracurricular performances during my studies, I was invited by the same institution to join as an academic member for their undergraduate programmes soon after my graduation. I started my career as a Junior Lecturer in 1999 and progressively achieved my career success in levels of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Head of Business School by the year 2008 during my previous employment. I was given the opportunity to be the Internal Quality Verifier at one of the largest ICT and business institutions in Sri Lanka and was in charge of three accredited University degree programs from the UK and Australia.
LSC Connect: What is your teaching philosophy?
Apsara: My teaching philosophy involves high instructional design, adaptive teaching and learner centred approaches. I strongly believe that teaching must be a proactive activity which engages students. I admire Benjamin Franklin’s quote “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” which I practice as my teaching philosophy.
LSC Connect: What do you enjoy most about your role?
Apsara: Teaching is my passion. Teaching is not a routine job with listed terms of reference. As a teacher I upgrade myself more each day making my career enjoyable. What I enjoy the most is the achievements of my students.
LSC Connect: Can you think of a memorable experience you’d like to share?
Apsara: The most memorable experience is when one of my students was awarded the best academic in a leading university, mentioning in her speech that I was the role model who inspired her academic career.
LSC Connect: That is a fantastic accolade to receive and you are clearly a committed, passionate teacher. Can you think of any challenges?
Apsara: Enriching teaching assets with industrial dynamics, universal updates and delivery of up-to-date knowledge makes teaching most challenging. Especially when teaching business management where updated teaching aids crafted with instructional design will make the class alive and industry ready.
LSC Connect: I can imagine that staying up to date and making the topics industry relevant present real challenges even for an experienced academic like yourself. Do you have any advice for colleagues who may be just starting out?
Apsara: Be passionate about what you do as a teacher. Updating your knowledge and preparation before the class are the most powerful tools in teaching. You can be the best subject expert but that will not make you the best teacher. Practice best instructional design to suit your audience. Finally, remember that best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.
LSC Connect: That is really sound advice which I am sure less experienced colleagues will find extremely useful. What are your plans for the future?
Apsara: I’m currently pursuing my higher studies and co-authoring a book on instructional designing for postgraduate teaching. I experience and practice new teaching methods daily and observe new learning styles of students. In addition to academic activities at BSC, I’m preparing a few research papers for the upcoming global summits in education and management.
LSC Connect: Well, Apsara, thank you for taking time out of your busy teaching schedule and scholarship activities to talk to us.