As the country marks the National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) Kibabii University students have a lot to be proud of after the university’s adoption of Open Distance and Electronic Learning (ODEAL) in the year 2019.
Speaking to the media, Kibabii University Vice Chancellor Isaac Ipara Odeo lauded his management and students for adopting the Open Distance and Electronic Learning that has produced tremendous academic success to the university locally and internationally.
“We first thought about open distance and electronic learning in 2017,” professor Odeo said. The University started to set up the structures that would support this mode of learning in 2019.
“We first established the directorate of open distance and electronic learning which was officially launched in 2019,” the chancellor said.
The University then went ahead to acquire approvals from the Universities Council on the mode of learning and approvals for the procurement of the necessary infrastructure which included laying of the cables and buying the computers.
“We then had to work on the connectivity in coordination with The Kenya Education Network Trust (KENET) that connected us to their fiber after which we trained students and lectures to fully operationalize this mode of learning,” professor Odeo added.
According to professor Odeo, the E-learning system was the greatest support to the University during the Covid 19 pandemic. Professor Odeo said students were able to continue with their semesters in the middle of the pandemic since they only required a smartphone.
“We also have an opportunity to offer our courses to international students who can log into our E-learning platforms and access our courses from the convenience of their countries,” professor Odeo added.
According to the University Academic affairs registrar’s office, international students who have been fully adopted into the university system using distance and electronic learning systems include those from Burundi, Rwanda, South Africa, United Kingdom and Canada.
This mode of learning also came up with a monitoring system known as the ERP system which helps the university management to manage their student’s affairs such as payment of fees, registration of units, follow up of both lectures and students attendance of lectures, student’s accommodation and academic progress of each student.
Some of the students who have been conducting their studies using distance learning led by Mogaka Hesbon Murang’a lauded the University for the Adoption of the system which has enabled them to carry on with their studies as they work to earn a living.
“We were supposed to be in our second year of study following the suspension of learning by the head of state during the Covid pandemic but through the Open Distance And Electronic Learning we carried on with our studies while at home and we can say the pandemic did not affect our academics,” Murang’a added.
According to David Barasa the KUPPET chairman Bungoma branch, Open Distance and Electronic Learning has enabled teachers to offer their subjects to the largest number of students since space is no longer a limiting factor compared to classrooms.
“Other than the flexibility of this mode of learning, it is also cheap and students who do not understand the mode of teaching of a particular teacher can always switch to the teacher of their choice,” Mr. Barasa added.
However, professor Odeo also admitted that the system has a shortage in terms of exams sanctity but the chancellor said the university is working on a more improvised system of exams administration.