Increasing use of elearning at Mekelle Uni

I was just having a look at the statistics for the Mekelle Uni Moodle and am very pleased to see how much the site has increased in usage over the last year. Great to see students making up a large proportion of the hits. Last year we were seeing more hits from teachers, probably due to their course development and issues with lab opening. The drop is hits during February and March this year is likely due to three factors: (a) one of the labs being closed following theft of some terminals, (b) end of semester exams and (c) subsequent inter-semester break. I hope the site usage continues to increase.

Improving ICT Support and Opportunities in Ethiopia

Over the last few months, we have been looking at ways in which we can move Digital Campus away from being a one-off project and into an ongoing programme. Our focus is now on how we can help improve ICT professionalism, creating more career opportunities and better career paths for those who work in IT.

We have been investigating the various options for this and our plans now revolve around Digital Campus supporting (through a partnership agreement) an ICT company based in Ethiopia to provide quality ICT services. Digital Campus in Europe would stay not-for-profit, but we would like to steer clear of being seen as a charity or donor organisation. Although we’re able to source and provide hardware very close to being free, we would only want this equipment to be used in environments where there is a clear support structure in place. I know far too many donated computer labs either permanently locked up or hardware reduced to doorstops because it simply hasn’t been properly maintained.

Digital Campus Ethiopia (for want of a better name) would initially provide the first line of support, being directly based in the client organisation and Digital Campus Europe would initially provide the second/third line support, but also giving training, work experience and internships, with a view to the Ethiopian based company subsequently taking over this role, building into a viable self-sustaining business. This should help offer a higher level of service quality as well as being able to offer better paid career options to local staff.

The challenges are very high, especially in finding a suitable team of staff (or an existing company) to partner with, as these people will be critical to the success (or otherwise) of the venture. But everyone I’ve spoken to recently seems to see it as the ‘right way’ to go.

I’d be interested to hear thoughts and opinions on this approach.

Certifying another 20 elearning teachers

Last night we presented the Certificate in Online Education to another 20 teachers from Technology Institute and Health Sciences. Over the past week we’ve been verifying that everyone has completed the assignments and other requirements. We’re still learning about the best way to deliver the course to get active participation especially when we’re not present in Mekelle. Before coming to back to Mekelle we were a little worried that few teachers had completed any of the assignments or their courses. But actually most had completed what was asked of them, just that we didn’t know – either they’d started to develop a different course to the one they’d first told us about, or they’d created the required activities, but not submitted the links to notify us.

Most of the teachers are now moving onto the advanced course which we started this week. We’re not starting a new basic course this semester, as we’d really like the elearning team to deliver this themselves with our support from a distance, rather than Jaime and I continually running the workshops.

Has been a fun couple of weeks in Mekelle, but hard work and much more to do, as ever. I have a few other blog articles to finish writing and get posted up, so hope to do this over the next few days. With such a short visit, I didn’t get the time to catchup with everyone I wanted to, but hopefully I’ll be back again in May/June time for a slightly longer visit.

20 new teachers with Pedagogical and Technical skills for e-learning – Mekele University

COEThis week Alex and I have completed the introductory module of the Certificate in Online Education for teachers of Technical and Health Sciences faculties of Mekele University in Ethiopia. This course began in October 2010 with 1 Face-To-Face week. During the online period from October 2010 to February 2011, the participants had the opportunity to create course Web using tools that are useful in teaching, converting traditional courses and learned to use Web-based components to enhance face-to-face instruction.

All course materials are placed on Moodle and include module content (course outline, lecture notes, additional resources, audio and video lectures, assignments and open educational resources) and communication (forum, chat room, e-mail).

This material is intended to strengthen the current teaching of the courses to the current students in learning activities through access to computer labs on university campuses.

In this version of the Certificate in Online Education, we have included the evaluation of the developed courses based on peer review and on action plan for the future development work.

  • Peer Review: participants gave the opinions and constructive feedback on the peer’s course. The completed form was uploaded as submission for this assignment.
  • Course Review and Action Plan: each participant completed this form based on the feedback from the trainers, from other course participants and from their students.

Of the 26 participants who started the Certificate in Online Education in October 2010, 20 have completed the requirements to receive a certificate conferred by the Computation Sciences School, University of Alcala, Madrid Spain.

Mekele University has 20 new teachers with Pedagogical and Technical skills for e-learning and at least 20 new courses provided in a blended learning environment, taking the best of the classical classroom training (face-to-face instructor-led learning), and the best of online learning (self-paced learning, follow-up mechanisms on the Web and greater flexibility to meet the different learning styles).

Jaime

Elearning training at new ICE Addis

Elearning participants

This afternoon Jaime and I finished delivering our updated Certificate in Online Education to over 25 elearning team staff from 7 universities across Ethiopia, who had all gathered at the new ICT and Technology innovation hub (ICE Addis) at the Ethiopian Institute for Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC).

We’d been invited by the on.e elearning team (part of ECBP), who have been setting up eCompetence Centres at many Ethiopian Universities. So was a really good chance for us to work with staff from other elearning teams.

We were really pleased how well the training went, all the participants seemed to enjoy the course. We arrived in Addis last weekend, but have been quite flat out with the training and meetings, so haven’t had much chance to blog. Heading up to Mekelle tomorrow afternoon, so for now will just post up a photo of all the participants – will post some more details in the coming days.

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