E-learning, my new old passion?

Posted on Updated on

Looking at Blackboard, July 2006, i was indeed fascinated. But sitting in the same class as my mom had its issues. I was glad it was a certificate, i was impressed at her tenacity, and she doesn’t know how much that week long certificate has grown into a full fledged career path. Blackboard has since grown by leaps and bounds – See Here

So when one of my classes in FOSSFA’s FBT Training had an online module, 3 years later, i was more than happy to ‘study online’. Online learning is not necessarily the same as e-learning – with the advent of Flip classrooms, anything is possible with e-learning, but perhaps the most common form of electronic enabled/supported learning is Online Learning – we are happy to call it E-Learning.

Online education is education that is delivered via the internet. Throughout the world, e-learning is fast becoming an important mode of education delivery, not only for online students, but also for full-time students at many of the larger universities. However, online learning and the provision of learning materials via the internet necessitates a change of paradigm – a recasting of the traditional conception of a university. Classrooms, lecturer’s offices, sports facilities, and student residences are largely made redundant, while servers (whether local or in the cloud) become the centre of the university’s education provision. – source

FOSSFA’s elearning happened on a platform called DOKEOS. Beautiful, but somewhat tacky, but that was 2009! Dokeos has beautiful features – See Here. On here, i was able to quickly transform from a Student, to hosting an entire class, successfully.

You can say this transition freshened up my desire, and suddenly, i was ready to reunite with a lost passion. In all this time, i had carried out numerous trainings, and i had even used my laptop in most of them. But you see, that is not quite it.

In 2010 when i started out at IHSU, i found Moodle! I had heard about it, had even used it on a few online courses, but now i had the honor to administer it. IHSU runs Moodle 1.98, but that was only until a few months ago, as Moodle’s upgrades are much of a temptation!

Moodle is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS), also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It has become very popular among educators around the world as a tool for creating online dynamic web sites for their students. To work, it needs to be installed on a web server somewhere, either on one of your own computers or one at a web hosting company.

Moodle is perhaps one of the more popular Online Learning Environments – Check Stats Here – and has served at IHSU, faithfully, for over 4 years and 2 graduation classes now.  As you can imagine, being a Moodle administrator is alot of fun. My work is technical, some tasks daunting, and others, well, simply magical – like the smile of a successfully logged in first timer! Now we are in the middle of upgrading to 2.2, then to 2.4 the latest!

Loiusa is from Malawi, she is a Lecturer, speaks lovely french (not that i know better); and Sabina is a recent graduate from a Beninese University – she understands Louisa, and all i can do is look on! In 2012, this small West African nation was the host to the annual e-learning Africa Conference – website – and my second time in attendance. Dubbed as Africa’s premier networking event for educators pursuing e-learning, and service providers of the same,  i have to say, I have met more than my match for passion, excellence and practical e-learning across the African continent. Its addictive, and this year in may, i hope to be in Namibia.

Only last year, Hospice Africa Uganda approached me and asked to be helped with setting up their online learning platform – Now Up – and i could not believe my excitement. Hardly quarter and the list is growing. But that’s not it, its the happiness with which i approach everything e-learning! Its exciting, installing servers, training staff, via a platform they are new to, I have even submitted (my first ever) a session proposal to e-learning Africa, because i feel there is something about e-learning missing from my google searches.

The Uganda Centre for Open Source Software is now running Linux Certification and Training via http://coss.ug/elearn.

At IHSU, we have our firsts cut out for us – the first ever e-learners pre-course survey; the first ever IHSU e-learning survey (hope to become annual). And for once, i have alot to learn, but it feels so good, i feel like a wall onto which you can throw anything, and it will be transformed into something about e-learning.

I guess when ICT and Training are your life passions, Training Online, using ICT should come natural, and for me, the timing couldn’t be better.

Some Definitions

Learning Management SystemHere

Virtual Learning Environment – Here

Distance Education ( or distance learning) is a mode of delivering education and instruction, often on an individual basis, to students who are not physically present in a traditional setting such as a classroom. Distance learning provides “access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.”[1] Distance education courses that require a physical on-site presence for any reason (including taking examinations) have been referred to as hybrid[2] or blended[3] courses of study. [Source: Wikipedia]

Advertisements

One thought on “E-learning, my new old passion?

    marzma said:
    February 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    First of all let me express my ignorance i didn’t think there was a difference between online learning and e-learning… i am glad to have a real explanation. This is a beautiful piece and it is nice to have someone express their passions that have only been enhanced over the years.

Comments are closed.