e-Readiness for Teachers: Supporting the Driving Force
Are educators and institutions ready to implement ICTs? or can gaps be assigned to a lack of knowledge, digital skills or attitude? Take part in this discussion based on different research projects to speak about the different challenges teachers face in their profession.
Chairperson: Keith Magee, Camara Education, Ireland
Gladys Bwoch, Uganda Management Institute, Uganda
Dynamics Governing Use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs): The Case of Uganda Management Institute (UMI) and Makerere University
The UMI offers courses on a blended basis — but structured sequentially: a distance learning part and a face-to-face part, not at the same time. When in distance learning, the students get their digital learning materials to read, plus practice questions, quizzes and references for further reading, most of the time self-contained in the learning materials.
Everything is hosted on a VLE and the facilitators interact with the students also there. The VLE is an emulation of the face-to-face sessions, but virtually instead of physically. Interaction happens among facilitators and participants, and among participants themselves.
Why bother with usage of VLE at UMI:
- Staff in the School of Distance Learning and IT at UMI train facilitators and participants before face to face sessions on the use of VLE for teaching and learning.
- There is an orientation week to notice zeal for use of VLE.
- Consistent usage of VLE by facilitators and participants disappear and does not persist throughout the semester thereafter, as expected.
- Yet most activities of the programme oblige the facilitators and participants to be always working on the VLE.
- Need to identify the dynamics behind continued usage of VLE to work out modalities that ensure continued usage.
Objectives of the study:
- find out frequency of usage of VLE.
- determine factors of usage and qualitative usage.
- Students spend little time at the VLE and went there infrequently. People prefer other forums more than the VLE because of lack of access. Besides, they prefer Facebook or Whatsapp.
- People find matters unanswered at the VLE, but find support elsewhere.
- More training and support for the facilitators.
- Encourage them to spend more time at the VLE and be more conversational.
Tarek Abdel Fattah, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University Dubai
The new faculty rule in e-Learning
We have to get over traditional roles of teaching and go into smart-leraning.
Faculty should be able to develop course curricula, choose course materials, deliver lectures, etc. but should not be do it alone. The move to online programs necessarily requires a team-based approach (unbundling of the traditional lone-ranger approach).
We need coaches, not teachers.
All lecturers now follow a specific training on e-learning until they get their certificate. They have to be able to encourage substantive interactions; to provide guidelines; to design , develop and maintain course content with an instructional designer; to set up discussion forums, probe for student responses, etc.
Recommended pedagogical approach:
The whole process is managed as a factory, with pre-production, production and post-production of courses and its related assets/processes: instructional design, module structure, etc..
Dugje Kadiri, University of Jos, Nigeria
Human Capacity: A Challenge to the Realization of the Benefits of eLearning in Nigeria
eLearning occupies a central position in running the educational programmes of the University of Jos.
The eFellowship course content includes learning how to operate on the University’s Learning Management System (Moodle). The course comes with incentives for the trainees, to sustain the interest on the course.
There are, though, serious challenges, such as inadequate broadband-width, intermittent power supply, lack of interest or phobia to technology, etc. All these for both faculty and students.
A more functional follow-up programme has to be conducted on faculty who have benefited from the scheme so to assess progress and performance of the programme.
Keith Magee: what is actually the main barrier and the main approach to get over it? Fattah: training and support is, by far, the most important approach we have found for a better eLearning uptake.
Q: Is there opposition from teachers? Kadiri: yes, there is. But once they get used to it, they find out it is very effective to advance quickly on your content. Fattah: it is advisable to make small steps in subsequent stages, i.e. first e-learning then mobile learning.
Q: Are there many dropouts in teacher training and online learning? Kadiri: there are none, because the selection is very tight and there is a strong follow-up with their progress. Concerning students, they are eager to participate, as they can only access continuous assessment through the online version.
Q: can eLearning be used at high school? With what tools and methodologies? A: yes, they can be used, though some adaptations should be done.