Niyi Akinnaso

Because the novelist William Gibson as soon as mentioned, “The longer term is already right here – it’s simply not very evenly distributed.” The identical may be mentioned of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, typified by new methods wherein the applied sciences and infrastructure of the Third Industrial Revolution have gotten embedded inside societies and numerous sectors of social life.

One of many main offshoots of the Third and Fourth Industrial Revolutions is the evolution of strong on-line platforms, higher generally known as Studying Administration Programs, which permit for the digitalization of information and its simultaneous transmission by way of textual content, voice, and video over area and time.

Nonetheless, as Gibson as soon as mused in regards to the future, whereas it’s not hype to tout the digitalization of information made doable by on-line platforms, it stays an elusive purpose for a lot of universities in Africa, Nigeria inclusive.

That’s, nevertheless, not the case for Elizade College in Ilara-Mokin, Ondo state, the place all programs provided by the college went absolutely on-line, following the shutdown of main, secondary, and better schooling by the Federal Authorities as a part of the measures to comprise the unfold of the COVID-19 pandemic.

True, the Federal Ministry of Training would love all Nigerian universities to supply their programs on-line through the interval of the shutdown, only some, largely non-public, universities have been in a position to take action. In addition to EU, others embrace Covenant College, Ota; Bowen College, Iwo; American College of Nigeria, Yola; and Nile College, Abuja.

Lengthy earlier than the arrival of COVID-19, every of those establishments has built-in one on-line studying system or the opposite into its instructing and studying practices. For instance, Covenant has been utilizing the Moodle system for fairly a while, whereas EU has lengthy been utilizing iLearn to add course outlines and lectures, which college students can entry from wherever at anytime. It was, subsequently, simple for these establishments to enhance the related system to be able to put all its programs on-line.

At EU, a mixture of iLearn and Google Suite for Training was deployed. Particularly, Google Meet helps digital lecture rooms and conferences, enabling instructing, studying, and dealing from wherever with video capabilities. Every college, employees, and pupil of Elizade College has an e-mail account mapped with the College account, and these accounts have been designed for each college and pupil to provoke and take part within the on-line lessons.

This platform permits college to arrange their lessons and invite the scholars by way of e-mail which is distributed to the scholars to ‘meet’ the lecturer for the category on-line. That is accompanied by video entry, giving room for the lecturer and the scholars to see and work together. Nonetheless, the scholar can select to pause the video and make do with the audio solely.

EU’s on-line success is made doable by the strong IP Community spine, a contemporary Tier three Knowledge Heart, an STM1 MPLS backhaul Broadband web pipe, and 24/7 energy provide wherein the College’s Founder, Chief Michael Ade.Ojo, OON, had invested from the start and which he continues to enhance as really useful by the College’s ICT crew. The current system permits for the seamless supply of on-line instructing  and studying.

This isn’t to say that each one has been properly with EU’s on-line studying nor has the college been in a position to optimize cutting-edge sources for the aim.  For instance, some college students have discovered it tough to log in all the time due largely to a number of of the mitigating elements mentioned beneath. Nonetheless, with the tradition of on-line studying being developed within the college, a great template has been set for transiting into a sturdy system, corresponding to Blackboard or edX. Thankfully, the college is already exploring the potential for transiting to Blackboard.

The sweetness and flexibility of Blackboard is demonstrated by the Blackboard App, out there on IOS and Android cellular units. It’s designed particularly for college students to view content material and take part in programs,  by way of textual content, voice, and video concurrently, even with out the trouble of a pc or pill and the attendant energy provide drawback. Consequently, college students can be taught from wherever, with out having to hold alongside a cumbersome laptop or pill.

Surely, it has not been clean for on-line studying in Nigeria, as a result of there are far too many mitigating elements: How strong is the college’s ICT infrastructure? Does it have a top-end Studying Administration System? Do the scholars personal computer systems or tablets? Have college and college students been correctly skilled on the right way to use and navigate the system? How enough and common is energy provide? How strong and regular is Web connectivity? What’s the scenario with the Tutorial Employees Union of Nigerian Universities-are they on strike or at work?

It’s not clear what number of of those questions had been raised and completely answered earlier than the Federal Ministry Training mandated the colleges to supply their programs on-line through the COVID-19 shutdown. It’s equally unclear why the Vice-Chancellors agreed to conform, understanding full properly the quite a few mitigating elements, a few of which the Vice-Chancellor of the College of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, just lately communicated to the college neighborhood.

To make sure, faculty closure is required to comprise the unfold of COVID-19. It’s equally pedagogically agreed that college students are likely to neglect 30-70 % of what they realized, if there isn’t a alternative for reinforcement for a protracted time period. Nonetheless, it’s disingenuous of the federal government to seem like fixing this pedagogical drawback by mandating on-line studying within the universities wherein it has not correctly invested. It’s even doubly disingenuous when the federal government has failed repeatedly to resolve the commercial dispute between it and ASUU.

This, in fact, doesn’t absolve ASUU from culpability at this vital interval, when its members ought to have put their mental capital on show in fixing quite a few issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Right here once more lies within the benefit of personal universities and why they’ve been in a position to rise to the problem of constant to teach their college students through the nation-wide shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the Government Secretary of the Nationwide Universities Fee indicated in his convocation lecture at Elizade College’s first convocation ceremony in 2017, the way forward for college schooling in Nigeria could properly lie with non-public universities like Elizade College.

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