On the 6th of April this year, the board of the Management Information System (MIS), Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto held a meeting with the Students’ Union Executives and Campus Journalists concerning the commencement of e-learning by the University.
The Director of MIS made it known during the meeting that the e-learning will commence with 200 level science students and also all 200 level General Studies courses. Likewise, any other lecturer who intends to make his course online will be also welcomed. Though, not all courses would be taken online due to insufficient facilities.
The MIS Director also disclosed that the lecturers who will teach courses must have the skills to do so, and likewise, the students must be introduced to the system.
He said: “We allow students to use their android phones for the classes, such as uploading assignment, classes discussions, etc, and there will be enough Hotspot as we’ll make provision for that.”
In its efforts to actualize this stress-free learning and also to create a conducive learning environment, the Varsity has trained some of its academic staff on the blended-learning, started from Monday 26th April 2021 till Friday, 7th May 2021 and has also made provisions for the E-learning platform for the students and the staff.
The provision made by the University was disclosed in a circular that was released on Saturday, 8th May 2021, titled: “Take-Off of e-Learning at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.”
The circular entails what is meant by e-Learning within the context of the University and modes through which it would be conducted in the University, adding that the Online classes will commence in this second semester of the 2019/2020 academic session.
The circular reads: “E-learning is the delivery of learning through digital resources such as computers, tablets, and even phones that are connected to a network or internet.
“It is usually delivered through a Learning Management System ( LMS) that will allow lecturers to upload their course content including text, audio and video which students access from anywhere and at any time.”
According to the circular, the system supports both online and offline lectures delivery, can be accessible, using electronic gadgets, both within and outset the campus network. Also, the students and the staff using the system will not be charged for data subscription except where external resources from the internet are accessed.
The circular contains: “The system will support online and off-line lectures delivery, assignments, collaborations, quizzes, examination and management of the learning environment.
“The system can be accessed using Android phones, iPhones, iPads, laptops e.t.c both within and outside the campus network.
“Access by users ( staff and students) using these devices will be at no cost provided the user is within and using the network of the university, except where external resources from the internet are accessed.”
The circular also contained that, about 1,200 computers are available in ICT laboratories of the University, including libraries (Main & Faculties-based), within the three campuses of the University for access to the e-learning module. Also, wireless hotspots are available across the campuses for access, using personal devices.
“About 1200 computers are available in ICT laboratories of the University, including libraries (Main & Faculties-based), within the three campuses of the University for access to the e-learning module.
“Wireless hotspots are available across the campuses for access, using the personal devices.”
The students of the institution have, however, began to show their reactions towards the new development made by the Varsity to their education system.
A 200 level student of Agricultural science, Muhammad Bashir Shuaib has commended the effort of the management for the introduction of e-learning, saying that it is a good development as the technology is going globally.
Bashir said: “e-Learning to me is a very good move from the school as the world is growing technologically.
“E-learning is going to be a step forward in our school. It is going to enable the students to at least have access and know more about learning outside the classrooms. It will also save the students stress of not having enough seats in the lecture halls or the lecture environment not being conducive enough.
“It will also enable students who normally fear to ask or answer questions amidst the crowd of their colleagues to answer or ask questions as nobody will be able to see them physically.
“Special thanks to the school management for making hotspot available on the campuses. It will really save students from the cost of spending money for data to attend the classes.”
However, Bashir expressed his thoughts about the negativity of the virtual lectures. He was worried about the management of the moodle and proper distribution of services by the lecturers in charge.
He complained: “Howbeit, the main problem I’m having about this E-LEARNING of a thing is how it will be properly managed by the lecturers, some lecturers’ physical lectures are not well understood [by] some students not to talk of online lectures
“Also, not every student has access to smartphones or PC. This will also hinder them from attending most of the classes.”
Abdulrahman Na’imah Bello is a 200 level student of Education and Chemistry who also lauded the effort of the UDUS management for the introduction of e-learning. She said that the moodle will be of help to every student on campus to have access to convenient lectures, both online and offline if one doesn’t meet up with the time stipulated for online.
She said, “Big thanks to UDUS management for this wonderful development. E-learning is a very great achievement in which each individual get easy and convenient delivery of learning through digital resources which allows lecturers to pass their lecture or course contents such as videos and audio to us student, to have access to them at any time we wish.
“Also, we students can have access to both online and offline lectures. This will surely help students that are unable to participate at the specific time scheduled for online, maybe due to not having gadgets. They would surely have access to the material on their friends own when the online sessions are over.”
Abdulateef Otuyiga, a 200 level student of the English Language also commended the effort of the management for the beautiful innovation and development the school has brought to them, following the technological growth of the world.
Abdulateef said: “I really commend the effort of the University for this development. The program [provides us with] progress to better our education system.
“As the world grows in innovation and technology, we need to embrace things like that. It will facilitate the learning process even at your home.”
Another student, Abdullahi Idris, a 200 level student of Education and Biology also said that the moodle is really good for those students that have been exposed to computer before and the process will also curb examination malpractice in the school.
He said: “The e-learning moodle is quite good, very comforting to those that have been exposed to computer before now.
“The most substantial aspect of the e-learning module is the process of the examinations which we had before the break. It was the comfortable state that the exam can be taken in.
“More or less the malpractice which at times are the problem to examinations was less compared to the formal form of the examination and our grades are been released in a short period of time, compared to before. It’s also advancing, fast, easy to relate and very comfortable. The system is indeed a welcoming one.”
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