• September 26th, 2020

Universities ready for e-learning 

Albertina Nakale

Local universities, including private institutions of higher learning, yesterday maintained they were ready to roll out e-learning classes, saying it is a technology that they have embraced for years. 
With the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, technology and online learning platforms have become increasingly essential worldwide.  When adapting to this new normal, universities have quickly evolved their digital tools and platforms to ensure uninterrupted educational delivery to their isolated students. The University of Namibia (Unam) director for Centre for Open, Distance and e-Learning Maggy Beukes-Amiss, yesterday said they are fully ready for online learning. According to her, Unam has since 2016 been embracing e-learning where students and lecturers would interact in terms of sharing modules and assignment submissions.
“Learning is done through online. There was no need to put a pause in terms of learning due to Covid-19. It was nothing new to our students who have not been fully online. We developed a Covid-19 website where we teach students how to study online. We have expertise. We are ready and if we stop learning and teaching now, we won’t have our fresh graduates,” she noted. 
Delveline Mowes of the Namibia University of Science and Technology Centre for Open and Lifelong Learning said over the 28 years, the university has been using distance learning, hence embracing e-learning will also be nothing new. “The moment the state of emergency was announced, our priority was the safety of students and staff. We had to get them off campus to adhere to social distancing. We launched a survey to see the situation of the ground. We have structures in place with quality assurance. We don’t need to start from scratch. We just need to roll out e-learning,” Mowes said. The IUM founder David Namwandi said they been using e-learning and distance learning in the past.
With the current situation, he said IUM cannot afford to be a springbok while everyone else surrounding them is a leopard. “We are moving with time. We have a highly technical team of IT and ITS. We are working on modalities for those who don’t have gadgets as a means of communication,” he said. Namwandi said the problem facing the nation is the slow internet connectivity in the country. He said they are paying for connectivity fees, but the internet remains a challenge.
“As for us, we have what we call ‘My IUM’ where assignments are loaded. We are also working with a university based in New York. They provided us about 100 computers to ensure that our students are online. We monitor who is online and who is not. We have the capacity,” he maintained. 

Albertina Nakale
2020-04-08 09:14:26 | 5 months ago

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