E-Learning in Nigeria: is it impossible to have online post graduate programs from Nigerian Universities?
Over the years e-Learning was a relatively new concept in Nigeria and has struggled to gain recognition and acceptance not only in the educational sector but the country at large. Thanks to the many researches, sensitization programs, and workshops, the story is no longer the same. E-Learning has now gained a wider recognition and appreciation in Nigeria and this is evident in the fact that some Nigerian universities have integrated e-Learning into their academic programs.
Let me use this medium to commend the National Universities Commission (NUC) and those few universities for their efforts in taking the huge step towards integrating e-Learning and surmounting the challenges associated with the implementation of e-Learning systems. At this rate, I have no doubt that in the near future, more universities would offer e-Learning programs and Nigerian undergraduates would have more options in obtaining a higher education.
My concern however (which is the reason for writing this article) is the possibility of offering post graduate programs in our Universities through e-Learning. Many Nigerian graduates have the intention of furthering their education and obtaining higher qualifications like Masters and professional certifications but not many can afford to fund their studies for at least 11/2 years without having to work to earn a salary. In other words, the average Nigerian would love to study further and be employed at the same time in other to satisfy their educational needs as well as family and social needs.
Although there are alternatives to full-time study like part-time or weekend programs, one cannot but be conscious of the benefits of studying online. The benefits of e-Learning or online learning are too numerous to count. As a student, you can study at your own schedule, pace and place; you can study course materials at your own time and study it as often as you want to; with your smart phones, other technologies and internet access, you can take classes from any location. With e-Learning, an institution is able to enrol as many students as they can afford to because enrollment is not restricted to classroom space unlike the conventional school setting where enrollment is dependent on the size of the classroom and the number of students each classroom can accommodate. With a well implemented Learning Management System (LMS), Lecturers and Academic coordinators are able to monitor student’s participation and progress in their courses and can easily generate reports of students’ activities. I cannot exhaust the usefulness of e-Learning to both students and institutions but the fact remains that e-Learning has become a well acceptable alternative to education globally.
Many institutions abroad are offering post-graduate and professional courses online and many Nigerians have resorted to enrolling in these online institutions for the benefit of having a flexible learning structure and keeping their jobs. For instance, at the online institution I work for, 60% of our students are Africans and about 35% of these are Nigerians. Unfortunately, most online institutions based in the United Kingdom and the United states of America are very expensive and cannot be afforded by the average Nigerian graduate so this means that there is still a large number of graduates seeking post graduate qualifications and hoping for balanced work/study structure.
The question now is, if there are Nigerian institutions offering post graduate and professional courses, and if e-Learning is a well-recognized aspect of education, is it impossible to have online post graduate programs from Nigerian universities? Are there any constraints prohibiting its implementation?
My guess is that, for those Universities that have integrated e-Learning into their undergraduate courses and those currently in the process, integrating e-Learning into their post graduate programs should not be difficult.
Based on my work experience I do not think that this is an impossible task because the major requirement is getting the appropriate e-Learning software (or Learning Management Software as it is called) and as you may have known there are so many Learning Management systems (LMS) available (Proprietary and FOSS - Free and Open source). Once you are able to identify and acquire the LMS that works for your institution then you have solved about 60% of the implementation process.
If you are reading this, I would really appreciate it if you can share your opinion with me and if possible let me know if there are reasons why Nigerian institutions may not be able to offer online post graduate programs. And if you think they can, your suggestions can be very helpful.
Do not forget to leave your comments and I look forward to reading them.
See you in my next article!!!
E-Learning in Nigeria: is it impossible to have online post graduate programs from Nigerian Universities? Reviewed by Crystal Edge on 11:29:00 pm Rating: