By Patrick Egwu, Enugu
Forty lecturers at the faculty of education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka have been trained on how to design and implement online instructional delivery; the type of curricular delivery designed to overcome the barriers of time and space as well as equip students with 21st-century digital skills.
The two-day train-the-trainer workshop was facilitated by a partnership between the university’s faculty of education and the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego, New York, United States of America.
The facilitator, Prof Benjamin Ogwo, who is also the departmental chair, Career and Technical Educator Preparation, SUNY Oswego, said that the training was necessitated by the need to equip the lecturers with international best practices in online instructional delivery skills.
“Online instructional delivery is the current trend in academics hence the staff of the University of Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind”, Ogwo stated this during the courtesy call to the vice chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The courtesy call preceded the training programmes for the workshop.
He noted that the online instructional delivery pattern affords academics the flexibility of preparing and virtually delivering their instruction to students in different parts of the world without being physically present.
“The world is increasingly interconnected and the University of Nigeria cannot afford the cost of being left out”, Ogwo told the 40 lecturers shortlisted for the hands-on training.
The workforce development expert further advised the trainees to consider their academic positions as a call to evolving solutions to societal problems and not merely as an opportunity to earn a living or embark on research that may never be read outside the academia. “You should dedicate yourselves to your vocation because the society looks up to you for ideas”, he said.
The vice chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Prof Benjamin Ozumba, while receiving the SUNY Oswego delegate, said that the training was timely as it came at a time the university had just launched its distance learning programme.
“Every academic needs the online instructional delivery skills.” Ozumba, who was represented by his deputy in charge of administration, Prof. Charles Igwe, remarked and also advocated for the participation of veteran lecturers in the workshop.
He commended Prof Ogwo for thinking home, stating that the University of Nigeria was open to expanding its partnership and collaboration with SUNY Oswego in areas that would be mutually beneficial to both universities.
The dean, faculty of education, Prof Stella Nwizu, under whose initiative the training was organised, said she considered beginning academics for the workshop because of their favourable disposition and higher skills level on the use of the internet.
She said that those who participated in the workshop would help in training other members of the faculty. The dean, whose tenure will expire in few weeks, said the training was her parting gift to the beginning academics in the faculty of education.
The two-day workshop featured topics on asynchronous, synchronous and blended instructional delivery; designing and development of online syllabus and modules and grant writing techniques. Other topics treated included open education resources (OERs), tips on publication and career advancement and productivity skills for 21st-century academics in Nigeria.
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