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African Virtual University launches new portal for mass learning

By Kurian Musa | Updated Fri, March 11th 2016 at 16:48 GMT +3

The continent’s pioneer E-learning institution of higher education, African Virtual University (AVU) will on Monday launch a new online portal to deliver Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) targeted at increasing training opportunities in various fields.

Through the programme AVU seeks to attract more education, ICT practitioners and researchers to have discourses on integrating Mobile learning so as to open up access to quality high education and training opportunities in Africa.

AVU says it wants to boost the continent’s e-learning resources so as to help bridge the existing skills gap.

“We have continued to promote and develop Open education resources (OERs), doing research and cultivating on mobile learning. Governments have gained from Technical assistance and e-learning policies and strategies that can be implemented,” says AVU Rector Dr Bakari Diallo.

Why MOOC?

MOOC is non-formal course of AVU.   As a result of MOOCs, the continent is set to benefit from the ability of reaching many participants at once to learn various topics. The aim is to have teachers keep up with the ICT changes by updating their pedagogy and the study materials they use.

The Free Open online course provides opportunities and exposure for teachers and teacher educators. They can interact and learn from one another.

 “You can study about a topic, take assignments, submit and continue studying from where you left, and one can download an e-certificate and print once the course is satisfactorily done,” says Dr Diallo.

There are two key areas of focus by AVU which include Open Distance and eLearning Professional Development (ODeLPD) and Peace Management and Conflict resolution. 

Peace Management and Conflict Resolution Course

Bakari said that on Monday AVU will launch an overview of Peace Management and Conflict Resolution (PMCR) study in Africa. He said the programme is aimed at minimizing the risk of conflicts within the continent.

 “You don’t have to be a peace and conflict expert to seek peace, hence this course gives a basic knowledge of how to manage peace and deal with conflicts,” says Dr Diallo Bakari.

‘‘In Africa, there is continued conflict in governance, scramble for resources and boundary disputes as well as family conflicts. Hence this course comes in handy to help people in Africa and Beyond on conflict management and resolution. There are more causes of conflict such as power, identity, culture, and resources among others.’’

At least 19 countries have signed the AVU charter to offer formal and non-formal courses in three languages, English, French and Portuguese. 

“In Kenya we have partnered with Kenyatta University, University of Nairobi, and Egerton University, where we have installed equipment for Online Distance Education Learning. We enhance their capacity of distance learning, and this enables them accommodate more students,” explained Diallo.

At least 53 universities across Africa have benefitted from AVU programmes, most of them supported by the African Development Bank.