E-Learning is basically utilising electronic technologies to access educational curricula outside of a traditional classroom. In most cases, it refers to a course, programme or degree delivered completely online.
Uganda Christian University (UCU) is slowly but steadily adopting the e-Learning system through which students will access course material from their lecturers and submit assignments provided they have access to an Internet-enabled computer.
Ms Dorothy Mukasa, the university’s e-Learning manager told The Standard that course material such as notes, power point presentations, and course outlines will be made available online to ease access for the students and cut on the stationery costs both the lecturers and students incur in the process of attaining and disseminating hard copies.
Mukasa, however, noted that the university will not go entirely virtual, a system in which students and their facilitators have no face-to-face lectures, but will adopt a ‘blended’ approach that allows for both virtual and traditional classroom lectures to thrive.
“E-learning has been at UCU for a long time and has been used by both staff and students at will. But now we have structured it in a way that all faculties will have to integrate their curricula online and that process has already started,” she said.
UCU’s 2016-2018 Strategic Plan includes the introduction of e-Learning and growth of distance learning programmes and the establishment of the e-Learning infrastructure extending them to regional campuses by September 2016.
The plan also seeks to train staff and develop an e-Learning curriculum, a programme that Mukasa said has already been rolled out starting with sensitisation of faculties about e-Learning and later on the training of staff on how to use and benefits from it will commence.
“We shall identify at least three subjects in every faculty especially postgraduate programmes and run them on the system as a trial as we monitor the progress before rolling out the rest,” she said.
Some courses such as Law (BA & MA), Master’s in Nursing Science, Master’s in Public Health and Leadership (Save The Mothers) and Mass Communication (BA) are already partially using the e-Learning system.
The students who are already registered for wireless Internet with the University ICT Services department can access the e-Learning services using the same login credentials if they log onto elearning.ucu.ac.ug.
“If one can maintain the necessary self-discipline, the benefits of e-Learning are almost too numerous to count. You can cover the material when you have time, go over it as often as you need, all without traveling to the classroom.
“There are no transportation fees as you can take the class from any location with internet access,” Mukasa explained.
The e-Learning facility will be hosted in the recently constructed Stephen and Peggy Noll Building.