IERIS holds public lecture on open distance and e-learning in tertiary institutions
Fri, 08/05/2016 - 13:39
The Institute for Educational Research and Innovation Studies (IERIS) has organised a public lecture on “Open Distance and eLearning in Tertiary Institutions” at the Jophus Anamuah-Mensah Conference Centre on 1st August, 2016.
Introducing participants to the work of the Commonwealth of Learning, the President and Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Asha Singh Kanwar who was the guest speaker at the lecture said that the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organisation established by Commonwealth Heads of Government.
Explaining further, she indicated that COL is to help Commonwealth governments and institutions improve access to learning in support of development through the use of technologies. She added that COL has been working with UEW even when it was a University College of Education. She commended Ghana and UEW for its contributions to the commonwealth, highlighting personalities such as Dr. Esi Sutherland-Addy, Prof. Anamuah-Mensah and Mr. Joshua Mallet, who played roles in the educational policy directions of COL.
Speaking on the subject “Skilling at Scale: What are the Options” She noted that skills and development remains a top priority for many governments in developed and developing countries. She however indicated that two things that can help the youth are Technology Enabled Learning and Open Education. According to Prof. Asha Kanwar, Technology Enabled Learning and Open Education can prepare the young people of today for livelihood. For example, she noted that Ghana, as at 2014 had 5.3 million young people who were between the ages of 15 - 24 years and unemployment among Ghanaian youth was relatively low at 4%, thus higher education was seen as a way out of the situation. She also noted that Distance Education was believed to reduce cost, increase access and improve the quality of education. She continued that access to technologies has resulted in an increase in online learning since studies conducted have shown that there is no significant difference between different forms of educational provision be it online, distance education and face-to-face.
She explained that Massive Open Online Courses (a form of distance and online learning) and Open Educational Resources (free educational materials available in print, audio or digital) has greatly benefited learners and their teachers. These have had positive influence on career and educational materials, improved teaching and learning methods and practice, increased students interest in learning and grades and development of skills. Prof Asha Kanwar ended the presentation with the statement that both government and institutions have a role to play in helping to improve the lives of young people. Governments should develop and provide opportunities for young people in the area of sound policies in trade, industry and agriculture.
Additionally, institutions need to revise their curriculum to include cognitive and non-cognitive skills, incorporate new technologies like Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and Open Educational Resources (OER) into their systems.