10 lessons from supporting eLearning development in the RUFORUM Network
The RUFORUM information and communication technology (ICT) program was established in 2009. One of its goals is to support the member universities to implement technology-mediated teaching and learning. The intended outcome is member universities improving the quality of learning delivery. When this happens quality students would be produced and in turn contribute towards solving Africa’s development challenges.
In 2009 the RUFORUM Secretariat carried out the ICT Readiness Analysis. One of the findings was that only 38% of the member universities provided incentives for staff to use ICT for teaching, learning and research. As a follow up to the 2009 study, a series of eLearning workshops have been held in selected RUFORUM member universities. In Sudan, Kordofan University and University of Gezira have been the beneficiaries.
In December 2011 fifty academic staff from Kordofan University were trained in eLearning concepts and the MOODLE learning management system. From 22nd – 28th March 2015 forty academic staff from the University of Gezira were also trained in eLearning concepts and the MOODLE learning management system. At both universities time was also spent engaging the senior university leaders on how they could create a supportive environment for eLearning development. The RUFORUM Secretariat believes that these capacity building initiatives will build a necessary pool of eLearning champions.
- A policy and strategy for eLearning is priority for universities to implement eLearning in a coordinated manner.
- Champions and leadership – The senior university leaders must be the first champions of eLearning. Senior university leaders must play a big role in creating the required awareness and buy-in to the eLearning agenda for the university.
- Organizational structure for supporting eLearning – An eLearning Unit must be established and staffed with requisite skills.
- Content – the strategy for organizing eLearning content and quality assuring the materials is a key aspect of the overall eLearning strategy.
- Capacity Building – there is need for regular capacity building to develop skills to support and deliver eLearning.
- Learning from others – there are great opportunities to learn from other universities and from those that are members of the RUFORUM network.
- Technical review of infrastructure for eLearning – needs to be conducted as part of the planning process. A critical review of the adequacy of the teaching equipment and facilities for eLearning must be included.
- Funding eLearning projects – universities need to consider both innovative and bold funding strategies such as charging technology fees.
- Partnerships for eLearning development – prioritize attendance to online or face to face eLearning forums
- Role of the RUFORUM Network – the network provides a vibrant platform for sharing good practices and experiences. It is also a resource in terms of technical expertise from those member universities that are eLearning champions.
RUFORUM continues to strengthen its member universities in the area of eLearning. There are some successes within our network and we need to tap into those successes so that all our universities achieve eLearning maturity. You can also download the article on the RUFORUM Network: Changing Pedagogical Paradigms, Priorities, and Practice.