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Varsity Embraces E-learning to Counter Covid-19 Disease Constraint

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) has upgraded its Open Distance and Learning (ODEL) platform, which offers online classes to accommodate all courses in the University to facilitate learning during the covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to KNA from the ODEL coordination centre at the university on Friday, the acting director of ODEL Victor Dinda disclosed that learning at the institution is going on as usual courtesy of the online platform.
Dinda disclosed that up to 12,000 learners are currently utilising the platform which allows lecturers to avail video lectures, essential learning resources and continuous assessment tests through online classes.
“Students are able to access and download the learning material, sit for tests and submit their assignments by ODEL as well as interact with lecturers for feedback through various forums provided for on the platform,” he narrated.
He said the online programme is run by a directorate comprising of a five-member support team responsible for coordinating and facilitating smooth learning and operation of the platform as well as carrying out capacity building exercises for both lecturers and learners.
“We use projectors to train our staff and learners on how to use and manage the ODEL platform to ensure smooth transitioning from traditional to the digital form of learning,” he added.
The coordinator stated that they have trained 420 lecturers on how to conduct e-learning across all courses offered in the various schools and departments at the institution.
He said that the directorate offers continuous support to students and lecturers through calls and follow up through a 24-hour helpdesk to ensure grievances and hitches that may arise are addressed immediately.
The director said e-learning has been running in the university since 2014 but has mainly been serving students from the school of medicine before being expanded to the school of arts and social sciences in 2019 to help tackle the problem of congested classes during common courses.
The first batch did four of their common courses online including Computer, Communication Skills, HIV and AIDS and Development Concepts
“We have been producing between 20 to 40 nurses every year since 2017 who study through the ODEL platform but we are now integrating our format to accommodate all courses in the university to continue with our learning programmes and schedules uninterrupted, “he observed.
He stated that plans are underway to integrate an exams software to the platform to enable students undertake their end semester exams online.
However, he pointed out that ODEL is constrained by unfavourable geographical positioning and inadequate connectivity resources for learners.
By Sammy Mwibanda/Remigius Maloba

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