USIU-Africa leads the way in successful adoption of online teaching and learning amid COVID-19 outbreak

USIU-Africa leads the way in successful adoption of online teaching and learning amid COVID-19 outbreak

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in the country, institutions of higher learning have been forced to fully embrace e-learning.

The teaching solutions are part of the measures being taken to curb the spread of the disease through social distancing.

In a circular sent to faculty and students on March 19, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza mentioned the importance of ensuring the faculty continue delivering lectures until the end of the semester and for students to ensure that they attend classes online as scheduled.

During this period, faculty are expected to deliver their lectures through Blackboard but are at liberty to use other modes such as Skype, Zoom, BlueJeans, WhatsApp and e-mail for learning and communication with the students.

They are also required to record class sessions where necessary for students who are not able to attend a synchronous class through the use of video conferencing applications.

In addition, supervision of students undertaking their dissertations and theses is a continuous process that is conducted through email and online communication.

Academic advisors continue to offer academic advising and pre-registration support to students until the end of the semester through the various learning sharing platforms available.

Students are expected to attend online classes, submit assignments on time as instructed by their lecturers, and participate in and manage group work.

The University is in the final stages of putting in place examination protocols that will accommodate the changed mode of learning.

These protocols will aid in exam proctoring to ensure that students sit for their end of semester exams that will be conducted from April 14.

In order to ensure a seamless transition, USIU-Africa has partnered with Safaricom to launch a subsidized mobile data bundle dubbed ‘Remote learning Mobile Data Bundle Subsidy’ to students and faculty in order to enhance online e-learning and teaching at the University.

Through the partnership, students and faculty will get a 10GB data bundle at a discounted cost of Ksh. 500 for a period of 30 days to enhance their access to e-learning platforms.

The same data bundle costs Ksh. 1,800 in the market. In addition, students and faculty who may have challenges accessing a device will also have an option to procure one through this service.

“We have been conducting online learning and teaching over the last three weeks in a bid to complete the Spring semester. This was as a result of the government’s directive to close all universities in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 after Kenya reported its first case on March 15, 2020”, explained Prof. Paul Zeleza.

“Despite the closure of the university, we have been able to continue our classes through the use of online learning platforms such as Blackboard as a mode of instruction, Zoom for video conferencing and through e-books, e-journals and other e-resources from the library to ensure academic continuity and maintain quality of education,“ he added.

To ensure business continuity during this period, the University has maintained a skeleton staff to support students remotely, across key departments such as Security, Health Services, Finance, IT Operations, Academic Advising, among others.