E-DIFFUSION IN TEACHING AND LEARNING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA: A PRACTITIONER’S PERCEPTION
The University of Botswana of eLearning (UBel) has not just begun. Housed at the Educational Technology (EduTech) Unit in the Centre for Academic Development (CAD), UBel initiative was launched in 2001 to transform teaching and learning through the use of appropriate technologies. In its strategy for excellence which defines its strategic plan from 2009 to 2016, the University of Botswana outlines six priority areas. These include, expanding access and participation; providing relevant and high quality programmes; strengthening engagement; intensifying research performance; improving the student experience; and enhancing human resources for excellence in delivery. As Botswana’s Vision 2016 is a key point of reference for the longer term development of the University, so do various departments in the University key into the six priority areas for their programmes.
With implementation of several training programmes lined up for the staff and students at the EduTech to improve teaching and learning in the University, other sections of the University including the Library, are also not relenting in various engagements. For instance, the Learning and Teaching Unit formulates the policy which drives the academic cadre to incorporate into their teaching some (graduate) attributes to be achieved by all students. Information and communication technology knowledge and skills, self directed, lifelong learning skills, interpersonal skill and problem solving skills etc comprise some of the attributes that teaching and learning are to encompass. The University Library has also been involved in establishing learning commons, blogging and use of other social media.
This paper examines the dispersal of electronic paradigm in teaching and learning at the University of Botswana from the point of view of the University’s strategy for excellence. It explores the diversified training development of EduTech and how other departments key into the strategy of the institution. The involvements of the teaching staff, as well as the librarians in their support for teaching and learning are also given focus. How did the students fair? With their seemingly heavy load to carry in teaching, research and service, how far have the lecturers been able to go in e-teaching and e-learning process? To what extent are the graduate attributes being imbibed or inculcated? What has been the impact of the Library? The paper concludes by offering some recommendations.