E-learning: Take everyone on board-CUT

GOVERNMENT and internet service providers have been called upon to come up with a holistic and affordable package for inclusive learning in view of limitations brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This comes as learners from disadvantaged families and those in remote areas with limited or non-existent access to the internet which has become the backbone for education in the absence of face-to-face interaction.

In an interview, Chinhoyi University of Technology marketing and public relations director Mr Musekiwa Tapera said while prices of data have been marginally reviewed, most people still cannot afford while some areas have no network coverage.

While CUT has a virtual learning platform, challenges of access for some students remain and there is need to fine-tune the system for that no-one is left behind.

 A self service portal to facilitate e-learning of Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) which like all education institutions are adopting the new normal of dispensing education through the Internet owing to the Covid-19 restrictions which have led to schools closing.

“Power glitches and network challenges force students to complement lecture material delivery from CUT VLE and BBB through other social media platforms such as audios, emails, facebook and WhatsApp,” said Mr Tapera.

“For VLE to function it relies on data from CUT SPP. Students find all learning materials such as Course outlines, Question papers, assignments, video tutorial links, tests, all that students think can be used for asynchronous teaching and learning in the CUT VLE.”

He said there was need to address the availability better priced basic gadgets which can be afforded by most people.
The virtual learning platforms, he said, were home-grown solutions to the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and would continue to perfect the system.

“It is difficult to have everyone on the same page because there is need for cheaper gadgets and service providers need to spread their network coverage including growth points and rural areas,” said Mr Tapera.

Students are now downloading material from the main system which is then shared to other students via social media platforms including WhatsApp to ensure access.

“These are only fall back alternatives and not the mainstream modes of online lecture delivery. We will continue to perfect these ONLINE learning modes and try to address other challenges associated with the use of VLE and BBB,” he said.
“Material that students share amongst themselves via common social media platforms such as WhatsApp and other digital media platforms is downloaded from the official Learning Management System (LMS): CUT VLE and CUT BBB.”
Internet access is around 60 percent leaving out large swathes of the country without access to information super highway.