USIU-Africa Online hosts two-day workshop on Content Development

By Ernest Andugo

USIU-Africa Online recently organized a 2-day workshop attended by 133 faculty members on content development for online/remote teaching and learning. This was a hands-on workshop whose main purpose was to work with faculty to develop and implement quality online courses using a new Blackboard course template. The workshop covered different aspects of online learning facilitated by faculty and a keynote address by a visiting Carnegie fellow.

Prof. Onesimus Otieno, a Carnegie Diaspora Africa Program Fellow (CADPF), gave a speech on online course quality assurance/control and best practice, where he took participants through the 8 standards of Quality Assurance of a data driven life cycle. He also spoke about different types of assessments and mentioned some of the best practices in offering quality learning.

Dr. Joshua Rumo took participants through a topic on starting online class on a high note, which was designed to equip faculty with the skills to engage learners before and during an online class. Later on, the Director, eLearning, Dr. Philip Machoka introduced the new Blackboard course template designed using best practice standards that models the recommended online course structure. It provides faculty with a straight forward starting point for online course design and a consistent framework based upon recognized quality standards. The new template enhances students’ experience by providing ease of navigation, consistent and coherent learning environment from one course to the other.

The second day of the workshop began with a presentation by Prof. Josh Maiyo on the broader perspective of course design. He explained the pedagogy in practice indicating the role of the faculty as a mentor, tutor and facilitator during the session on Online Learning Pedagogy. This was followed by a session by Dr. Juliana Namada, who took attendees through how to align learning outcomes to course content and activities. She explained some formulas used to calculate the time students need for assessment. She did a practical demo of course alignment on learning outcomes. Prof. Damary Sikalieh explained the need to design for significant learning including foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring and learning how to learn. She pointed some of the challenges including student antipathy towards group work, group selection, free riders, and inequalities of student abilities.

Ms. Mary Ngure from the Library took faculty through how to access different Library resources including databases, magazines, and newspapers among other resources. She showed the faculty how to use Library OPACs and VPN. There was a practical session on development of weekly content facilitated by Dr. Philip Machoka and Dr. Ermias Terefe. Issues of copyright were also addressed during this session. In the last session, Dr. Terefe gave a short presentation on the quality assurance checklist. The session was moderated by Dr. Michael Kihara.

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