Covid-19 leaves e-learning legacy for higher education institutions – KT PRESS

Left to right: Dr Mathias Nduwingoma, Director of the Center for Open Distance and eLearning (CODeL) at UR, Host Ines Nyinawumuntu, Alleluia Mireille Kirezi, Mastercard Foundation student at Carnegie Mellon University Eric Ruzindana, Marketing Director of Talent Match Inc

COVID-19 has been difficult for all local higher education institutions, their staff and students. But a good legacy he left is that universities have put in place e-learning capabilities that will be used today and in the future.

After the pandemic hit in early 2020, local universities implemented e-pedagogy, a teaching strategy that facilitates and enables online course delivery using technology and digital means of communication.

Online pedagogy trains teachers and students to teach and learn using the Internet and technology. During the pandemic, this system has been implemented in various local universities including University of Rwanda (UR), Carnegie Mellon University Africa, Kigali Independent University among others.

Estimates indicate that 29% of institutions have been able to quickly move teaching and learning online and today there is evidence of an increased appetite and urgency to enable online learning at the tertiary level.

“It was a difficult time. But the pandemic has left a good legacy for online learning. When a student is admitted to the University, he is registered on the online platform. It is easy to identify the students who attended the class and those who did not. Student attendance can easily be recorded,” said Dr. Mathias Nduwingoma, Director of the Center for Open Distance and eLearning (CODeL) at UR.

“Online learning has met with resistance. Some people believe that people who study online don’t learn enough skills compared to those who have attended physical classrooms. At first, some teachers did not think the system could work effectively. Essentially, the students will not hear and understand exactly what the lecturer will be teaching,” Dr. Nduwingoma added.

He pointed out that students who focus while studying online by doing their homework on time acquire the skills needed in the job market, but results can only be achieved by focusing solely on the online pedagogy provided by the university.

On August 29, during EdTech Monday, a program sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning in ICT in partnership with the Rwanda ICT cluster to leverage technology to advance education and learning in the Rwanda, this subject was on the agenda.

EdTech Monday airs live on KTRadio and streams live on YouTube Kigali Today channel once a month, mostly last Monday from 6-7pm.

“We have many things that we urge speakers to do before teaching; allow time for students to express their likes/dislikes. You have to be careful and listen to the students a lot because you might have different students with maybe health complications,” Dr Nduwingoma said.

Hallelujah Mireille Kirezi, Mastercard Foundation student at Carnegie Mellon University and data scientist, said, “In e-learning, you can save. Thus, it becomes easy to revise, even when the teacher is gone. It just takes discipline and focus.

According to the Ministry of Education, about 85% of schools will be connected to the Internet within two years, a model that should revolutionize education.

“We help students catch up digitally. However, they must be ready if they want meaningful results,” Eric Ruzindana, Marketing Director of Talent Match Inc, a social enterprise that aims to close the skills gap in Rwanda.

“We also share job opportunities for people with digital skills. First of all, you have to be willing to learn and acquire the skills needed in the job market,” added Ruzindana.

Norma A. Roth