The president of the University (UL) Rev. Dr. Julius S. Nelson has announced here that the university will resume a special eLearning semester on 28 July, several months after the institution, like all other academic entities here, shut down due to coronavirus outbreak.
“Students and members of the UL faculty, with support from the government of Liberia, in collaboration with local partners, I am pleased to announce that the flagship University of Liberia will commence classes for the second semester of academic 2019/2020 on July 28, 2020 as a special eLearning semester,” Dr. Nelson disclosed Thursday, 2 July.
Addressing a press conference on UL’s Capitol Hill Campus, Dr. Nelson says the online learning semester will be conducted on Moodle, the leading and globally supported learning management system, along with the digital registration and enrollment management system.
He continues that the huge shift is a transformation that will challenge all students and faculty, adding that deep integration of technology in learning is the future of higher education.
“When the Visitor announced the digitization of the systems at the University of Liberia two years ago, that set in motion a process which was ultimately leading us to the actualization of eLearning. This pandemic has only hastened the process,” Dr. Nelson reveals further.
He narrates that the university acknowledges the magnitude of the challenges of conducting a novel online learning semester and to ensure its success, the university considered the needs of students. According to him, an agreement has been reached with a local partner for the provision of data packages and computing gadgets at affordable rates for registered students.
He details that in order to provide academic freedom of creative thinking, the university through the assistance of USAID, installed a fiber optic internet connection on the three of its four campuses, with StrazSinje to soon be connected via microwave technology by a local provider.
Dr. Nelson continues that they have begun a comprehensive review of their academic curricula to ensure that their courses conform to contemporary learning and teaching in the 21st century.
The UL president also discloses that there will be no “sell – pay” for any student during the eLearning semester, narrating that the university is [in] talks with Orange Liberia to give affordable prices for smartphones and tablets for registered students in order to have access to the lessons. Meanwhile, Dr. Nelson says the Department of University Relations, Academic Affairs will release the revised schedule for the second semester, academic 2019/2020.
“Progress comes through deliberate action and this Coronavirus pandemic presents a rare opportunity to embrace the inevitable change of welcoming technology in our learning environment from the 14th century to the 21st century. If eLearning is the future, now is the time,” Dr. Nelson says. “Administration, faculty, staff and our wonderful students welcome to the dawn of a new era of distance or eLearning at the LUX-IN-TENEBRIS,” he concludes.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley