The Provost of the College of Distance Education (CoDE), Prof. George K. T. Oduro, has stated that the newly developed e-learning platform, Virtual College of Distance Education(VCoDE) is the future of quality distance education in Ghana.
According to Prof. Oduro, VCoDE will offer students the opportunity to access their modules and interact with their lecturers frequently even in the comfort of their homes. This will reduce the physical contact hours between lecturers and students at the study centres and also help the students to spend more time on their studies.
The Provost was speaking at a two-day training workshop for Heads of Department, Regional and Zonal Coordinators on the theme “Online Facilitation and Learning for VCoDE” at CoDE's Conference Room. He added that a similar training would be organised for Instructional Designers, Chief Examiners, course facilitators, Administrative staff and the students. He indicated that the University management has approved the e-learning platform and therefore, the Computer Centre, Student Records Management and Information Systems have been engaged to ensure that they conform to high quality standards.
Prof. Oduro disclosed that the Ministry of Education in Liberia and some universities in Nigeria as well as other African countries have called on CoDE to extend distance education to their respective countries. He further pointed out that the government has plans to establish an Open University in the country and the VCoDE could serve as a reference point since the Ministry of Education continue to engage the services of UCC in the area of education delivery.
A Fulbright Professor from the California State University, Prof. Stoner who spoke at the function advised CoDE to tailor the technology towards addressing their specific needs. He urged them to work within their scope of operation and also identify areas where they could create a niche for the college in the deployment of e-learning in the delivery of distance education.
The Coordinator of the Computer Centre, Mr. John Edumadze in his presentation on “Preparation towards eLearning Take off: Before, During and After” called for a policy framework to regulate e-learning as a medium of instruction in the University. He argued that such a policy would set standards and procedures for Colleges/ Faculties/Schools/Institutes/Centres and Departments to follow.
Touching on “Instructional Design for Online Environment,” the Director of the Centre for Teaching Support of the College of Education, UCC, Dr. Douglas Agyei outlined some popular education websites such as Coursera, Mooc, Edx that provide various courses online. He explained the structure and mode of instruction of the courses offered by these educational websites and called on CoDE to make the courses very interactive for better understanding on the part of the students.
A staff of the Information Technology Unit (IT) of CoDE, Ms. Valentina Akorful took participants through the various tools on the VCoDE platform and how to apply them for teaching and learning. Participants also had the opportunity to practice by exploring the VCoDE platform on desktop computers, laptops, Ipads and phones.
An interesting part was the live communication between the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. John Nelson Buah via skype with participants during the second day.