Academic staff of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in an effort to improve academic quality, went through a virtual training to ensure effective service delivery.

In a press release by the NOUN Media and Publicity Director, Ibrahim Sheme, the three-week training took place via Zoom and was led by the Chairman of the NOUN Governing Council, Prof. Peter A. Okebukola, who served as Facilitator-General of the event.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, was one of the facilitators.

With the theme, “Setting Up a Learning Management System and Implementing an Online Course on Moodle Platform”, the training was convened following a survey on the training needs of academic staff by a sub-committee of the University’s Governing Council.

A total of 158 participants that included members of the Governing Council, Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, Deans, H.O.Ds, professors and academic staff from all study centres, participated in the intensive training.

At the Virtual Graduation Ceremony which took place on Wednesday, Prof. Okebukola announced that 73 participants got a distinction, 23 secured credits, 8 got a pass and others ended up with an honourable mention.

Okebukola added that the Council and Senate of the University had deemed it relevant to set up a process that would lead to a significant improvement in the delivery of best Open and Distance Learning (ODL) education.

He said now that the COVID-19 is over, state governments and universities are looking for teachers in the field of ODL, which the training would equip the NOUN staff to be the master trainers in the current demand for the experts.

On his part, the Vice-Chancellor, who delivered a remark at the virtual ceremony, told the participants that there had been a paradigm shift in the delivery of ODL education not only in Nigeria but also the world over, which was necessitated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Adamu said over the last four and a half years of his administration, the university had undertaken a series of reforms and complied with the approved standards of ODL teaching across the globe.

While urging policymakers to begin to view education beyond its conventional confines, Adamu congratulated the participants for having gone through the intensive training and passing with great results.

The graduation lecture was delivered by the President of LAWEH Open University, Ghana, Prof. Goski Alabi, with the theme, “Agenda for Making Africa Take Leadership Position in ODL”.

She said for that to happen, the need for the African Open Universities (AOU) to place a greater premium on relevance and acceptability was paramount.

Alabi called for authorities in the continent to learn how to invest in ODL, with a view to making it take the lead not only in Africa but the world over.

Some of the courses delivered during the training included “Overview of Learning Management Systems” by Prof. Okebukola, “Overview of ODL and Online Learning” by Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, and “Content Delivery in ODL” by Prof. Patrick Eya.

Other topics were: “Writing Quality Notes for the Distant Learner” by Prof. Mercy Ogunsola Bandele, “Learner Support Service in ODL” by Prof. Gregory Okagbare, “Downloading MOODLE” by Dr Adewale Adesina, and “Key Elements of Instructional Design” by Dr Lukman Bello, among many others.

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