Some university eggheads have underscored the place of technology in the development of education, saying the new normal in education would largely be characterised by online learning and education.
This was disclosed during the graduation of some 38 Masters and PhD students from Nigeria, Burundi, Ghana and Democratic Republic of Congo at the Lagos State University African Centre Innovative and Transformative STEM Education (LASU-ACEITSE) Short Course.
The short course, which is the 15 in the series according to the LASU-ACEITSE Facilitator, Prof. Peter Okebukola commenced five years ago, as part of efforts to develop Africa education.
Okebukola, who said that the three-week intensive programme, tagged: ACES 802 -902 Setting Up and Managing E-Learning Platform for Quality Education,” noted that the course was set out to provide a model or training for African universities in building the capacity of their staff in Open and Distance Learning.
The programme, according to him, is to prepare the graduates of the Centre (Masters and PhD holders) for the emerging world of blended learning. “The world we are in is a world where Open and Distance Learning (ODL) will play a major role, whether it is a face-to-face institution or an institution that is strictly for ODL. Blended learning means bringing together delivery and ODL models.
“We are training our graduates for this world and we want to kit them with knowledge and skills to be able to set up and manage e-learning platforms for quality education,” Okebukola said.
The Vice-Chancellor of LASU, Prof. ‘Lanre Fagbohun, while congratulating the participating students, he reiterated that “the new normal in education would largely be characterised by online education.” He, therefore, described the graduating students as the pioneers at the forefront of this rapidly new innovative form of education, saying that Africa will be greatly relying on them to deliver.
He said: “You have joined the elite team that will lessen the frustration of students and deepen new models for online teaching and new types of virtual environment. I urged you to be creative, confidence as this is your opportunity to leave a trail of distinction and excellence in education development.”
The guest speaker, and Vice- Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Abdalla Adamu, who spoke on “What is Blended Learning,” described blended learning as a historical transformation of higher education from elite to mass education.
The don, therefore, categorised blended learning into four models, which are rotation model, flex model, self-designed and enriched- virtual model, but added that “blended learning will give way or emerge to online learning.”
The Professor of Science Education and Professor Media Studies said that elite education is a form of education given to people of higher status at higher social environment, while blended learning is accessible to all irrespective of socio-economic background of the learner.
This, he noted, was made possible by commodification of technology, saying the world was moving from inclusive education to a revolutionary and exclusive education.
“Through blended learning we are moving education from school to learners through application of what the learners have been taught and not what he has learnt.