ERT training reveals e-Learning potential
In the week of 17 to 21 August 2020, academic staff at Chancellor College underwent training in Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT). This was a way in which the institution prepared for online teaching of students. At the time, since the physical opening of the college was still undetermined, Chancellor College management resolved that its academic calendar would continue through the online mode. As a result, academic staff had to be trained in the use of ICT related facilities to be used in the new teaching method.
With this in mind, the college organised a week of training for its staff. Since most of the college staff were not on campus during this period, and as a way of avoiding physical proximity, the training was conducted on the Zoom platform. There were various topics covered during the orientation sessions. The Acting Director of e-Learning, Dr Frank Mtemang’ombe led the path with a talk on eLearning instruction design and pedagogy, where he showed participants that the eLearning platform was not as alien as some had thought. The Acting Director of ICT, Ms Bridget Nyirongo, and her team, gave talks on using Zoom, Google Meet and MOODLE. There was also a session on using Google Classroom, where staff were reminded of lessons learnt during earlier training sessions. Representing the library, Mr Blessings Katuma gave a presentation on Digital Information Literacy.
According to Dr Mtemang’ombe, there was a very good response to the call for training. A lot of people logged in for the live sessions. Those who missed the live sessions requested access to recorded sessions. “There will be more training sessions,” Mtemang’ombe says. “We are encouraging faculty to make use of the available platforms to supplement face-to-face delivery which still faces some restrictions due to COVID-19 measures.” Mtemang’ombe points out that Faculties and Schools are now being encouraged to identify modules that may be fully offered online, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Faculty of Science, for example already has a Diploma in Statistics that will be offered through e-Learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the college with an opportunity to review its systems. Judging from the response to the ERT training, there is now an ongoing mindset shift in favour of online teaching and learning. What remains is to invest in ICT infrastructure, so the college is able to handle any volumes of traffic that are created through online teaching and learning.