National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Africa Centre of Excellence For Development Impact (ACE-IMPACT) and the National Universities Commission (NUC) have stressed the need to explore digital learning in tertiary education.
The institutions made the call in Abuja yesterday during the fourth training workshop of experts in digital education, hosted by the African Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL), Nigeria.
The vice chancellor of NOUN, Professor Olufemi Peters said the university has recorded many milestones in its online platform, saying that the training was an additional expertise and acquisition of skills in order to further improve what it is already doing.
“But what is more important is that since the establishment of ACETEL they have actually led in the deployment of technology to our own ways in the undergraduate and postgraduate way of doing things. They are the ones who develop these strategies.
“Basically, what happens is that through the NUC many universities are beginning to know the expert that is housed at NOUN and we are beginning to receive many requests from other universities either to show them how to develop these courses to be delivered online or indeed to help them develop what is required as a management system.”
He added that the university, through its Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDOL) has been able to impact knowledge to at least 20 universities in the form of training and about 15 universities in the West African sub-region.
The project manager, ACE, Sylvia Mkandawire, said the project is basically helping Africa to advance the quality of higher education by providing various components, the state of art facilities, helping the universities to actually implement innovative approaches to teaching and learning as well as creating conducive environment for the functionality of higher education system.
“The objective of this particular training we are having, we would like to train the group of teachers or lecturers that will have competencies or skills to be able to deliver a digital education system in a manner that they can actually reach out to many other students.”
On his part, the coordinator of ACETEL, Joshua Atah, who represented the NUC said the experience of COVID-19 means “we cannot run away from technology, given that the way we do things in education has changed and that change has come to stay.”
“In addition, even before now, we started having issues with very large classes as the population is growing. The number of people that need to access education is increasing every day so the problem of access can actually be addressed by using technology. Technology has come to bridge that gap so we must continue to engage in new tools, technology and new methods of enhancing access to education,” he said