Tharaka University a constituent college of Chuka University has come up with various online ways to keep their students learning even as schools remain shut.
News Flash 254 made a spot check in the university to figure out the progress of the initiatives even as the institution was registering new students placed in the school to pursue various courses.
According to the institution’s principal prof. Muriungi, since the issuance of the president’s directive to close down schools from risks of spreading COVID-19 the school has established a number of initiatives that have seen continuity of learning in the institution. This was after being given a go ahead to carry out online learning as a result of the closure of schools.
The principal says the first initiative they started was online learning and engagement. Learning was to help students who had not completed the pending semester to do so while engagement was to help students who had completed learning to stay busy to avoid idling.
This initiative was facilitated through the launching of E-learning portal using the module learning management system and google Classrooms. It was further complemented by other systems like whats app groups, institutional emails, and SMSs to keep students notified.
However, to achieve the desired performance, Prof. Muriungi says the institution had to carry out a survey to find out the accessibility of learning gadgets to learners. Prof. Muriungi told NewsFlash 254 that through Kenya Education Network a consortium for university internet providers, they acquired relevant data for prudent decisions on the viability of the initiatives.
“Students were asked to register for E-learning discounted bundles and in the process of filling the forms, they could indicate on their costs on bundles, their accessibility to laptops and smartphones and such. We, therefore, used the data to find the viability of the online initiatives,” Prof Muriungi said.
The principal further said that the medium has been very reliable and they are improving to have a complementary system. The institution is currently on a synchronous and asynchronous system. In synchronous, students interact live with their lecturers through video conferencing, zoom, and such platforms while in asynchronous the lecturer uploads digitalized notes on a learning management system where students can read from.
Mr. Kelvin Tuei the head of the IT department explained that the initiatives had hitches in the beginning as students were reluctant to adopt the new mode of learning but with time they are getting used.
Having started in the recent past years, Tharaka University college has taken bold steps in terms of quality education to learners especially during this pandemic that even established universities are getting it rough when it comes to online learning.
Mr. Kelvin thanked the entire management for supporting the IT department to make the great strides in keeping the students learning.” I can say that without the management’s support on us, the institution would not have achieved this technology mileage so far,” he said.