Siaya Institute of Technology recently concluded an e-learning training for its teaching staff in order to bridge the gap brought about by the government directive on cessation of movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The advent of the pandemic led to the order by the President to shut down all learning institutions in the country in March 2020. This brought learning to a temporary halt as the government together with education stakeholders sought solutions to mitigate the pandemic. Learning institutions have since been advised to put in place the required infrastructure for readiness to reopen amid the flattening of the curve.
The five-day training conducted by the institution’s ICT staff offered skills to trainers and heads of departments on online course management; the training covered areas such as creating courses online, creating units, assigning instructors, creating cohorts and creating examinations as well as general exams management. The training began by guiding the instructors on the key concepts of online learning and finally the HoDs on managing the courses.
The institution developed this web-based e-learning platform that shall be used to offer online training to its students from their diverse locations. The portal is user-friendly and will connect trainers and trainees enabling normal classes to resume via face to face interactive sessions while also providing trainees with a rich cache of resources which they can easily download and go through at their own time.
“We must provide innovative solutions to even as we await re-opening of institutions for physical learning to take place. With this e-learning platform at the click of a button our learners will be able to take lessons and examinations” the SIT Principal Mr. John. W. Okumu emphasized the institutions commitment to continuity of learning.
The institution projects to launch the e-learning platform by late September, 2020 and this will enable more than 2000 trainees resume classes. The ICT Services department has linked the platform to its core MIS to ensure that the enrollment process takes the least time possible; “using only their usernames, passwords and an enrolment key provided to the students after vetting, within three minutes the learners will be able to access the e-learning platform and its resources” ICT Officer Mr. Kevin Musoli confirmed.
Onboarding of new students into SIT community has been incorporated in the functionalities, “After admitting the new students into institution’s MIS, we shall enroll them into the new e-learning platform where they shall have introductory sessions with their trainers before the actual learning sessions” added Mr. Musoli.
The two systems would add value by creating room for a greater number of students from diverse locations to gain access to SIT and her learning resources even after Covid-19. However, the system just like many has implementation challenges and the department with support from the management is committed to ensuring that the platform provides sufficient data for all trainers to efficiently carry out their duties.
The institution is also making infrastructural adjustments to adhere to the social distancing and World Health Organization (WHO) and Government of Kenya (GoK) guidelines in readiness to re-open. Some of the on-going projects include the construction of handwashing units and expansion of learning spaces and other facilities to manage the recommended capacity as guided.