The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is to offer free virtual training programme on some selected digital short courses from May 4, to enhance academic activities.
A statement issued by Mr Ambrose Gowong, Communications Officer, Africa Centre of Excellence on Technology Enhanced learning (ACETEL), stated that the training programme would be anchored in conjunction with CISCO Academy amidst the COVID-19 lockdown.
The statement quoted Prof. Grace Jokthan, Director of ACETEL, as saying that the training was part of the skill-based training at NOUN.
Jokthan added: “ACETEL is expected to run academic programmes in Artificial Intelligence, Cyber security and Management Information systems all at post graduate levels.
“This short training on IT Essentials, Internet of things, and Get started by the University is part of ACETEL skill-based programmes aimed at identifying and reducing ICT skill-gap in the country thereby preparing the individuals for technology enhanced learning.
“In this regard, the University, through the Centre, will subsequently run other short courses to the public that are skill-based; these courses will include cloud computing, data analytics, artificial intelligence and so on.”
Speaking further on the programme, NOUN Director of Learning Content Management System, Dr Adewale Adeshina, said the training would focus mainly on digital literacy.
Adeshina, who is also the coordinator of short courses at ACETEL, said that each of the courses would require about thirty to forty hours depending on how fast participants can finish.
“Some can complete their courses in a week, two or three; for now, we are starting with three courses — IT Essentials which is basically about computer apprehension, Internet of things, which is a more trending computer science programme which anybody can take part.
“The third is ‘Get Connected’, which basically is on the principles of the internet; how can people get connected to the internet.”
Also speaking, NOUN’s Director of Academic Planning, Prof. Nebath Tanglang said the training would be a revolving one, as the university would continue to admit and train more people after three to six weeks to ensure they are busy at all times.
According to Prof. Tanglang, who is also the Coordinator, Academic Programme of ACETEL, NOUN is already having an online facilitation for students, as the university has not stopped running its programmes even at this period of COVID-19.
“Let me also add that NOUN is ready and willing to partner with any university in this regard because the COVID-19 came as a surprise to many institutions that were not prepared.
“Unless these institutions key into online or e-learning as the surest way to beat any further disruption of academic activities like strike, COVID-19 and other unforseen situations.”
Dean, Post Graduate Schools in NOUN, Prof. Samaila Mande, said ACETEL, as a world class Centre assisted by the World Bank, was running the programme to keep the students abreast with what was expected of them.
“Globally, people were asked to stay at home and observe the WHO instructions with regards to the outbreak of COVID-19; this has the potential of affecting the mental psychic of our students.
“So, as a means of keeping them abreast with what is expected of them, ACETEL is running these three short courses which is part of the centre’s mandate to get these students engaged and exposed to modern digital literacy.
“You’ll need also to understand that ACETEL is basically to work towards enhancing learning by the use of science and technology with a mandate covering West Africa.
“This is why the whole exercise is about working remotely.
“Since the mantra now is about working remotely, there is nothing anyone can do about it other than embracing technology enhanced learning which is what we do at the NOUN.”
Participants are encouraged to log on to the website https://www.aceteladmissions.nouedu2.net/short-courses-registration and complete the application form from where names would be harvested and migrated to a learning platform.