The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative holds second cohort content development workshop

By Brenda Odhiambo

On Wednesday, November 22, 2023, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative held its second cohort content development workshop, as part of the ongoing training of faculty for the development of course content of 17 new online programs that will be launched by the university next year.

The three-day workshop brought together faculty from the Chandaria School of Business (Online MBA revamp), the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (Online BSc. Epidemiology and Biostatistics), the School of Science and Technology (Online BSc. in Data Science and Analytics), School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Online BA Criminal Justice Studies) and faculty developing online General Education courses. Other departments represented at the workshop were Quality Assurance, USIU-Africa Online and Mastercard Foundation e-Learning initiative.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Transformative Teaching, Learning and Research (TTLR) Professor Amos Njuguna noted that the workshop was in line with the University’s strategic goals, namely education for complex global challenges and the development of programs that would boost employability and contribute to global citizenship in addition to being fully inclusive.

Prof. Njuguna further emphasized the importance of adopting transformational teaching methods aligned with the evolving needs of students in the digital age. He highlighted the role of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning initiative in supporting the delivery of high-quality education at USIU-Africa by bolstering the university’s capacity to deliver high-quality and inclusive online instruction.

In her remarks, the Director, Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative at USIU-Africa, Ms. Everlyn Anyal noted that the workshop underscored the need to have a truly inclusive education that would cater to all learners regardless of their backgrounds.

“Right now, with all the challenges going on in the world, many learners are not able to access higher education. As educationalists, we have a right to engage in this exercise that will mitigate these challenges and enable us to take USIU-Africa’s quality education beyond the confines of our institution. Through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative, we have the chance to create innovative online programs that will also contribute to the achievement of Social Development Goal (SDG) 4, inclusive, quality and equitable education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all learners,” she said.

“Online learning has become increasingly vital to higher education. These workshops will therefore ensure that our faculty are equipped with the necessary pedagogical skills to support seamless delivery of online instruction,” she added.
Dr. Philip Machoka, Director, USIU-Africa Online, shared valuable insights into the role of online learning in expanding access to quality learning opportunities. He discussed the innovative strategies employed by the university to ensure that online courses maintain the same high standards as traditional face-to-face classes, focusing on the Online MBA, the only fully-accredited online course in the country. His presentation emphasized the importance of leveraging technology to enhance accessibility, inclusivity and quality delivery in higher education.

Over the course of the workshop, participants engaged in insightful sessions designed to explore innovative approaches to content development, focused on creating transformative and impactful learning experiences for students. By the end of the workshop, the subject matter experts in each of the represented online program areas will be able to develop the complete course Detailed Design Document (DDD), as a roadmap to guide the content development process.

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