A professor of science and computer education and former executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Peter Okebukola, has said the only way for academic institutions, especially at the tertiary level, to remain relevant and effective in performing their roles after the coronavirus crisis is to embrace ‘blended classrooms’ learning environment.
He described blended classrooms as the combination of the regular face-to-face classroom lectures with the virtual/online mode.
Professor Okebukola made the remarks as a keynote speaker at a webinar lecture and award ceremony organised by AdasiScience, an international online academy, last week.
He was conferred by the academy with the ‘Pillar of E-Learning in Africa’ award at the event, which also had the vice-chancellor of King’s University, Ode Omu, Osun State, Professor Adenike Kuku, as a guest speaker.
Speaking on ‘Stereotype to New Trajectory in Delivering Higher Education in Nigeria post-COVID-19’, Okebukola underscored the importance of blended classrooms as a new normal for schools’ survival post-COVID-19, and that any institution that fails to develop capacity to work along that direction would be left behind.
He explained that online learning is not only about use of Zoom and WhatsApp, but includes use of course-ware, digital library resources, assignments, quizzes\tests, virtual tutorial rooms, learners support, among others.
He said though the virtual/online learning method, especially in underdeveloped countries including Nigeria, is beset with challenges such as human capacity deficiency and unwillingness to change, poor internet connectivity, poor power supply, high cost of internet data, among others, those challenges would ease out with time.
He, therefore, asked relevant authorities to come up with a national plan on online courseware development and lowering cost of data, capacity building programmes, and to also conduct progress assessment.
On his award, AdasiScience said Okebukola was selected from among several other scholars in Africa for the award based on his outstanding contributions to science education and e-learning operations in the continent.
On his part, the vice chancellor of the Lagos State University, Ojo, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, congratulated Okebukola, who is the director of LASU Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education (LASU-ACEITSE) on the achievement, saying the university is particularly proud of him.
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