Against the backdrop of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which at the time of this publication has seen 225,253 cases recorded globally, governments, multilateral organisations, civil societies, academia and individuals have sought to find ways of curbing spread of the virus.
On Sunday, March 15, 2020, President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo announced that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, universities, Senior High Schools, public and private schools in Ghana will be closed until further notice to help stop spread of the virus in Ghana. Universities have also been directed to adopt distance learning.
Other precautionary measures taken by the government of Ghana include the imposition of a travel ban on countries with 200 or more cases of coronavirus. At the time of this publication, a total of nine (9) reported cases had been recorded in Ghana.
In response to these developments and directives, Regent University College has suspended all face-to-face lectures as the virus is known to spread from person to person in close proximity.
However, in a bid to ensure that teaching and learning continues unabated – in a manner that does not present health risks, Regent University has adopted real-time and other e-learning technologies to help achieve this end.
Through real-time remote delivery of courses, courses are offered in real-time via Zoom – a web-conferencing software, with additional support from the university’s E-Campus platform. The E-Campus, used since the university’s incipient stages, is an online repository that, among other things, makes it possible for lecture notes to be shared and assignments submitted. Also, through e-Library platforms such as AIDDE, Regent students have access to electronic books, journals and other academic resources from leading universities across the continent and beyond.
Participants are able to connect from any part of the world as long as they have an Internet connection and Internet-capable device. This makes it possible for students to take part in lectures and interact with lecturers from the comfort of their homes, or any other location.
Screen-sharing, another distinctive feature of the Zoom application, allows the sharing of digital material (text, audio and video). Classroom activities can be recorded for later playback.
This real-time and e-learning technologies have allowed Regent students gain access to eminent, experienced and resourceful instructors and professionals world-wide, who would otherwise not be available for travel to Ghana to perform their services in person.
Regent students have joined in lectures from remote locations while using public transportation.
Faculty at Regent are undergoing a series of orientation sessions to enable all the courses offered at the university to be taught in real-time during this period, without the need for physical, face-to-face lectures.
As the world tackles this coronavirus pandemic, and various contact precautions are being taken the world over, technology can play a leading role in promoting teaching and learning through ‘contactless education’.