Staff at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) have been introduced to the Master Card Scholars eLearning initiative, during the onboarding activity conducted on Monday 9th January 2023 at the College, drawing the participation of a number of staff from respective Schools and Departments.
According to Samuel Siminyu, Faculty member, Department of Open and Distance Learning, College of Education and External Studies, and Managing Editor, Makerere University Press said the program that has thirty-two (32) champions spread out through the Colleges will support the development of high quality and inclusive academic online content, develop learner support online content and enhance access to and utilization of online content in the University.
‘Most world Universities have blended programs and in the face of a crisis like it was with COVID-19, they switch to online learning,’ he observed. He said Master card was giving that opportunity cognizant of the fact that there has been a change in the student population with a good proportion of them working, while a big number were upgrading from Diplomas. He said as a University that is moving towards becoming research led, there was need to consider the needs of the clientele, the students many of whom are working adults. He said there were a number of people in the world of work that were registered and taking online programs internationally and that it was time that Makerere University filled that gap by fully embracing online teaching and learning.
Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the Ag.Deputy vice Chancellor Finance and Administration and Principal CEDAT in his remarks noted that the meeting was a rare one in the sense that the CEDAT team was coming together after a long time. He said CEDAT was one of the first colleges to benefit from the onboarding exposure opportunity and affirmed the commitment of the college towards meeting the expectations of the eLearning onboarding team. He said CEDAT was well known in as far as taking on the best students in the country as well as in the delivery of the expected mandates.
Prof. Alinaitwe commended Master Card Foundation, where he is the Chairperson of the Steering Committee, for the continued support in the form of scholarships, trainings, as well as computers that were provided to departments in the University. ‘Now we are getting empowered to be able to write and conduct online programs. Many of us do not have a background in teaching and we rely on our personal experiences as students, ‘he observed while emphasizing the need for the teaching staff to get some training in teaching and learning in order to facilitate their skills set in knowledge transfer. ‘We embrace online teaching and learning but let us ensure that we fully embrace it and get good content for the betterment of the University’, he emphasized.
The MasterCard Scholars program was designed to support the University recover from the effects of COVID-19 which greatly constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, Research and community engagement activities. Although MasterCard provided support for their scholars for continued learning, it was realized that they belonged to the wider university community, hence the extension of the support. It is expected that by December 2023, the time when the project comes to an end, the University will have a number of online programs up and running.
The project will transform Two Thousand, Five Hundred Sixty Courses (2,560) into well instructionally formed e-courses and have them uploaded onto MUELE, taking into consideration the people with special needs. It will also develop well instructionally formed e-courses for wrap around learner support services that include psychosocial support, counselling and wellness as well as leadership development.
During the deliberations, it was revealed the Margaret Trowel School of Industrial and Fine art (MTSIFA) had already taken the initiative in identifying programs and all other schools were urged to follow suit, specifically targeting the graduate programs where issues of attendance were a concern. Each School was assigned a mentor to support the process. Each quarter, 32 champions will work with 10 faculty to transform 2 courses