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Newly Renovated Nsubuga block officially opened

 

Mr. Hans Peter Christophersen the Counsellor, Trade and Energy in the Norwegian Embassy on 29th June 2016 officially opened the renovated Nsubuga block and launched the Institute of Open, Distance and E-Learning on behalf of the Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Norway to Uganda H.E. Susan Eckey.

 

Located next door to the CCE complex, Nsubuga block is a historical landmark on Makerere University’s main campus that houses the Institute of Open, Distance and E-Learning formerly the Department of Open and Distance Learning. Nsubuga block and lecture rooms at the College of Education and External Studies were renovated as part of the activities of the Distance Education Leapfrogging Project (DELP) funded through the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED).

 

DELP is aimed at increasing access to flexible quality education at Makerere University by increasing capacity to integrate ICTs into pedagogical processes through leapfrogging the current 1st generation distance education provision into 4th and 5th generation distance education provisions.

 

In a ceremony full of reflection and high hopes for the future of Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) at Mak, Mr. Christophersen thanked the project team. He said the Norwegian Government is prioritising skills development and education and observed that the NORHED programme was strengthening education programmes in Norway and Uganda.

During the same event, Mr. Christophersen presented certificates to Makerere University staff who had undertaken e-Teaching 1 (The International Online Tutor Course and e-Teaching II (E-Course Development and Implementation) courses. E-Teaching 1 and II are tenable online from the University of Agder and are equivalent to a Postgraduate Diploma in ODeL.

 

The Acting Vice Chancellor and DVC Academic Affairs Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang observed that Makerere University has benefited from Norwegian Government funding since the 1960s and thanked the Royal Kingdom of Norway for its continued support. He said Makerere University was taking a bold step. “This is a landmark. However there is need to plan on how the facilities will be sustained. Partners will support us to the extent of doing a good job”.

 

The Principal of the College of Education and External Studies, Dr Fred Masagazi Masaazi said that the DELP has improved the capacity of staff, improved the visibility of the college and renovated Nsubuga block and lecture rooms.

 

The Dean School of Distance and Lifelong Learning and DELP Project Principal Investigator/Coordinator, Makerere University, Dr Paul Birevu Muyinda said, “other infrastructural improvements by the DELP include acquisition of ICTs to support Open, Distance and e-Learning and the remodelling of  the CEES Lira Centre to support distance learners in Northern Uganda”.

 

According to the Director Estates and Works, Eng. Fred Nuwagaba the renovation of Nsubuga block included expanding the size of the computer laboratory from a capacity of 40 computers to 100 computers including a server room as well as improvements to the office space.

 

Block Technical Services was contracted to undertake the renovations of the Nsubuga block and AVU room which began in January 2016.

 

The event began with the viewing of the renovated Nsubuga block, AVU room and the ICTs procured and concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open Nsubuga block. A cocktail was held thereafter.

 

Nsubuga Block is an outstanding monument in the university. This is because it was the residence of Africa’s greatest statesman Mwalimu Julius Nyerere during his student days at Mak. At the time, it was part of the four blocks in the old Mitchell complex which housed male students. Nyerere’s room was the current Room D11.

 

 

Achievements under DELP so far include:

 

  • Development of the first ever online/blended learning undergraduate and master’s programmes, namely: the Bachelor of Youth Development Work (BYDW) and Masters in Instructional Design and Technology (MIDT) programmes respectively. All online materials for use in these programmes have been developed and ‘onlinised’.

 

  • DELP is supporting three (3) staff from the School of Distance and Lifelong Learning to pursue PhD studies at University of Agder and University of Nairobi DELP has supported several staff to present research papers at international conferences and publish in referred journals

 

  • DELP has procured all the necessary ICTs needed in enabling production of and access to resources for online distance education. These include, among others: 2 servers, 98 desktop computers, 4 laptops, 4 LCD projectors, 2 iPads, 1 mobile phones, 7 Internet modems, 4 interactive smart boards, 2 video cameras, 1 document camera, 1 heavy duty multi-purpose printer, 2 video conferencing facilities, 2 scanners, 2 light duty printers, 2 heavy duty printers and bandwidth support for Lira.

 

  • The Project has seen the refurbishment of spaces for hosting modern ICTs for online distance education. Nsubuga block, the home of the newly formed Institute of Open, Distance and eLearning (formerly, Department of Open and Distance Learning) has been refurbished and the ICT laboratory therein expanded to host over 100 computers and their accessories

 

  • The former AVU Viewing Room, Control Room and Studio have been revamped to host video conferencing facilities. Equipment for video conferencing

 

  • The CEES Lira Center is being remodeled to house a modern computer laboratory (1), video conferencing facilities (1), resource center (1), boardroom (1) lecture room (1) and offices for center coordinator and ICT staff.

 

  • DELP is supporting short and medium term skills improvement training programmes. Staff have received training/continue to receive training in use of learning management system for teaching and learning, ODeL materials development, ODeL facilitation, using video conferencing in teaching and maintenance of video conferencing facilities.. 40 staff to train in e-Teaching 1 (The International Online Tutor Course and e-Teaching II (E-Course Development and Implementation) courses. E-Teaching 1 and II are tenable online from the University of Agder.  The trainees therefore receive real-life/hands-on experience of online teaching and learning.

 

Group photo with Mak staff who undertook E teaching 1 and E teaching 11