Solutions to ICT challenges in universities discussed at global forum

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Dr. Collins Oduor attends the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum

By Diana Meso

While universities across the world have moved a step higher in integrating ICT in their learning experience, there are still major setbacks that hinder this incorporation to realize its full potential.

This was discussed during the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum themed “New teaching approaches for higher learning institutions in the digital era” that took place in April in Geneva, Switzerland where Assistant Professor of Information Systems Dr. Collins Oduor was part of the panelist.

The forum aimed to demystifying how capacity building, using ICTs, supports the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030, narrowing down to target 4a, which aims at ensuring, building and upgrading education facilities that are child, disability, gender sensitive and provide safe, non-violent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all.

Some of the key ICT achievements in universities pointed out include introduction of information theory and coding in their curriculum, introduction of digital syllabi and curriculum, e-management of classrooms and e-office hours and interactive lab simulation.

On the other hand, the challenges identified include increased competition from other forms of learning and knowledge production, difficulties in measuring knowledge received from the virtual classrooms, commodification of higher education and lack of online solutions to manage large classes among others.

In his presentation, Dr. Oduor emphasized that implementation of ICT based teachings ought to begin from basic ICT training of faculty and students, procuring hardware, software and maintenance of the equipment. Giving an example of USIU-Africa, he pointed out that lectures are not only delivered through classroom interactions, but also through Blackboard (e-learning platform) and LAN School where students are able to interact, carry out group work and share presentations.

In conclusion, it was recommended that institutions of higher education should create an international network of professional collaborators that can help sustain institutional partnerships between the university, industry, government and civil society, adapt curricula to new ICT tools and interactive technologies, design curricula to ease students’ entry into the workforce among others.

WSIS Forum is a global United Nations (UN) multi-stakeholder platform and the world's largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community, facilitating the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing SDGs, co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD.

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