27.11.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Strengthening capacity of the University of Rwanda staff to deliver open and distance ELearning

Moodle Platform Training for ELearning officers of the University of Rwanda developing capacity to transform education for online platforms, Kigali, November, (c) UNESCO 2017

9-11 October; 6-8 November 2017, Kigali, Rwanda – The University of Rwanda, in cooperation with UNESCO and with financial support from the UNESCO-Korean Funds-in–Trust (KFIT) initiative, organized two three-day capacity-building workshops to enhance the knowledge and skills of ELearning officers to enhance the capability in administrating and enhancing the UR wide Learning Management System Moodle.

Rwanda is finalizing its National Open and Distance ELearning (ODeL) Policy with the goal to broaden access to educational opportunities by offering high quality, innovative, responsive and affordable educational programmes online. Advantages of promoting ODeL in Rwanda include meeting the growing demand at all levels of education as well as the previous establishment of a specialized School of Open and Distance Learning (SODL) at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education. Yet, despite growing demand and institutional support, the University of Rwanda faces challenges to promote ODeL, including the lack of quality instructional teaching materials, qualified staff, an adequate information technology infrastructure and management capabilities. Currently, SODL’s only programme is the Distance Training Programme for Teachers, which remains largely paper-based since the ELearning component is not yet fully functional.

Due to the variable knowledge level of participants, trainees were divided into two groups covering: i) Moodle Administration, and ii) Moodle programming. Under Moodle Administration, participants built their capacity to import data, such as users and course structure data as well as enrolment data to their local Moodle test environment. As Moodle Administrators, participants also learned about how to create simple SQL queries and how these can be used to produce meaningful reports.

Meanwhile, participants in the second group trained on programming in the Moodle platform and becoming familiarized with the Moodle programming interfaces. They implemented one simple plugin for Moodle including the most relevant components Block and Access to the database. Finally, participants discussed the need for server migration due to the UR’s out of date hardware, which risks system shutdown. To support the UR staff during the server migration, which will begin in 2018, participants supported by UNESCO are developing a step-by-step reference guide for the Moodle migration team; moreover, UNESCO will continue to provide instant online support during the procedure. Another crucial task regarding the UR Moodle is the integration of the Moodle platform of the College for Medicine and Health Science (CMHS), provided by the University of Tulane. UNESCO will further support the UR team with the development of additional systematic guide.

While ELearning officers have enhanced their Moodle administration and programming skill set, there is an urgent need to conduct a server migration. Consequently, the EBMIS - Moodle Connector implementation will be postponed until 2018. After completion a number of further capacity-building activities could be implemented including a workshop on strategy related to the roles and processes for successful implementation of the Moodle Platform, further training on ODL implementation, content development, and for lecturers themselves. Combined, these current and potential activities are important to strengthen ODeL in Rwanda and the transformation of traditional education.

These activities are part of the ICT Transforming Education in Africa project (2016-2018), that intends to support the integration of ICT-based innovative approaches for education in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. It is a developed within the framework of cooperation between UNESCO and the Government of the Republic of Korea through the Korea Funds-In-Trust initiative and was launched at the 2015 World Education Forum, in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The project is aligned with the Education 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goal 4 on Education, the Global Education First Initiative, and the Qingdao Declaration on ICT and Education.

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