A 20-member delegation from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) was on a two-day visit on October 11 to understudy AUN's e-learning infrastructure.
The ABU Director of Distance Learning Center and head of the delegation, Prof. Hassan Adamu Zoaka, said the Vice-Chancellor inaugurated his university’s e-Learning Project Committee recently.
“The [committee's] primary purpose is to streamline its e-learning so that we now have a focus and direction and everybody moves in that direction.”
Prof. Zoaka also said that the committee wanted to see e-learning in practice and therefore scheduled a visit to an e-learning-compliant university.
“For us in this part of the country, AUN stands out as one such university… so that when we get back to our university, we would be better informed about what to do, and how you have been able to deploy e-learning in this environment.”
The delegation included a representative of each of the 13 faculties of ABU. “We hope that at the end of the day, we would have instituted a system of collaboration.”
AUN Librarian, Dr. Carlos G. Wong-Martinez, who received members of the delegation, led them to President Dawn Dekle's office. Receiving the delegation, Dr. Dekle said the collaboration idea was welcome.
“I want to applaud ABU for being innovative… We have a very small campus compared to yours [with a student population of more than 40,000]. We hope we can generate ideas for you that will [help] partnerships. We know you have come to learn from us--that humbles us--but we see you as partners; we have a lot to learn from you as well.”
Vice President of Academic Affairs & Provost Prof. Muhammadou M.O. Kah also addressed the delegation, followed by an interactive session with a cross-section of ABU’s academic leadership. He emphasized that ABU and AUN exploring collaborations to learn and share best practices around adoption and deployment of learning technologies, with their respective academic leaders with an aim and commitment to enhance and improve the classroom experience enabled by digital technologies, is a great departure point for a possible collaboration beyond e-learning.
“We are quite honored and impressed to receive academic leaders from ABU who are focused and committed to ensuring that they do e-learning right with the expected quality and standards… This is the beginning of a mutually beneficial partnership. I am optimistic, we will forge together a substantive collaboration and partnership to be thought leaders in the digital learning technologies space for higher education and our universities with the expected quality assurances and standards, optimism and embracing change, with the right attitude and mindset, to facilitate and enhance quality learning success and research for our respective learning communities ….”
Provost Kah emphasized that digital learning is undoubtedly “disrupting” education and revolutionizing teaching, learning, testing and assessment, collaboration, knowledge creation and sharing, providing unprecedented opportunities and access to quality content and resources and facilitating learning and research.
He underscored that AUN and ABU must be at the forefront of the disruption of higher education and use of digital learning technologies. "We have what it takes with access to competent human resources, quality technical infrastructure, quality assurance measures and technical and academic experiences and competencies to adopt and deploy effectively across our campuses and beyond."
In addition, he suggested that “collaboration would provide joint capabilities and competencies to share, lead and mentor other institutions, ensuring full compliance with globally and nationally defined and expected standards, rigor, quality, and readiness to subject both institutions to periodic review and accountability. The needs of learners and researchers of today demand that we adopt, deploy and provide these platforms and access to them and to rapidly facilitate responding to the needs of our learning communities and position and prepare them to be competitive and competent.
“We at AUN are looking forward to taking this journey with you; we convey our most sincere appreciation and gratitude to your vice chancellor and academic leadership for the foresight and support to send you our way... We are ready and welcome you.”
After a seminar presentation by the Academic VP, members of the delegation interacted with the AUN team that deployed the IT infrastructure and teaching staff who use the e-learning platforms. They also interacted with students as well as the staff members of the AUN Library. Overall, they said the learning experience, insights, and exchanges with AUN’s academic leadership and learning community were worth their journey from Zaria.
By Omorogbe Omorogiuwa