From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The incoming Vice Chancellor, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters, has picked holes in online learning mode as being adopted by several institutions especially during the COVID-19 lockdown.
He posited that a mere online delivery may not meet the contextual philosophy of Open and Distance Learning (ODL), as the former often lacks attention to the basic educational standards.
Prof Peters identified standard as the weak-link in the recent flurry by the single-mode universities in Nigeria to offer online education in the race to find answer to the COVID-19 challenge, insisting that without standard, an industry would fail to meet its definition and purpose.
Speaking in an inaugural lecture he delivered virtually, Prof. Peters, observed that many otherwise single-mode, face-to-face (f2f) universities are fast converting to dual-mode institutions due to certain reasons.
The professor of Chemistry, while presenting the lecture on the topic: “Weak-Links: A Structural Phenomenon to Systemic Efficiency,” observed that the altruistic nature of ODL to Nigeria and its instructional delivery has an established standard, which may be the weak-link to the latest “converts” offering online education.
He explained that the conversion to the dual-mode was partly necessitated by factors such as the pedigree of the ODL people in the country, the improved delivery channels and COVID-19, which is the new social reformer in the land.
The Don added: “Practitioners in ODL philosophy and operations are now being increasingly created. However, in order for the practice to be comparable in the product assessment with its f2f counterpart, standards have to be set.
The lecture, the 16th in the series for NOUN, was streamed live on various online platforms from the university’s headquarters in Abuja.
The Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, principal officers and some deans of the university were the few participants at the largely distanced venue, while hundreds of officials, staff, the general public, families and friends followed the presentation virtually.
While summarising the presentation, Prof. Adamu, lauded the presenter for what he described as a 3-in-1 presentation, with each aspect capable of standing as a lecure of its own.
He described the occasion as unique and special for being the first time it was held virtually and presented by the incoming Vice-Chancellor of the university.