Rector of BlueCrest University College in Accra, Dr. Anand Agrawal has said the phenomenon of online learning has been long in coming and though the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) is unfortunate, considering the many lives it has claimed in many countries, it has also compelled many educational institutions, especially in developing countries, to get prepared to start using online teaching and learning mode.
‘This is a major paradigm shift from what we have been doing for years in our colleges where students are physically engaged in instructional learning in a traditional setting.
Online learning on the other hand, is a more flexible way of learning where geographical location of both students and lecturers is not an impediment in the teaching and learning process. Learning, thus, can take place anywhere and at any time,” he said.
Following a directive from the President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akuffo Addo for all schools in the country to shut down in order to contain the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, many institutions have resorted to online teaching as an immediate replacement for face-to-face contact teaching.
This, according to many education experts, has redefined the traditional ways of teaching where students will have to be physically present together in a classroom for learning.
BlueCrest College’s foresight
Dr. Anand thus noted that BlueCrest University College has been at the forefront of online learning as part of the college’s five-year strategic plan of having a portfolio of programmes using traditional, online and blended modes.
‘The college in 2019, started the use of a learning management system (LMS) called Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (MOODLE) for providing e-support to the students. The MOODLE at BlueCrest College is capable of hosting blended learning, distance education, flipped classroom and other e-learning projects.
The use of the online app for teaching and learning was also in response to the wave of digitization across all sectors that aim at building human capacity including the educational sector’ he emphasized.
“Renowned universities in the world today have adopted online learning as a new and improved step for lecturers to engage their students, and as a university of the future, we have started adopting this mode of learning to inculcate in students the use of technology in their day-to-day scheme of work and at the same time to impart knowledge and hone their skills.
While commending the students and faculty of the college for embracing the initiative, he took the opportunity to call on other institutions in the country to fully implement online teaching and learning if they want to remain competitive and be a global brand.
He stated further that with the experience in the use of online platforms for teaching and learning, the college is planning to offer an online training programme for other educational institutions in the region to build up their capacity so that they can design and implement a high-quality online and blended courses and programmes.
“The training will not be limited to only universities and colleges but also to all educational institutions at the lower ladder, to parents and students and even to corporate organizations, who need to learn the use of online apps to aid their ability to work from home as the nation puts measures in place to eradicate this global pandemic,” he advised.
With this development in the current situation, BlueCrest College is taking a lead as a pioneer to support the regional education industry in capacity building and skill enhancement, and thus, in becoming globally competitive in the near future.