LUPANE STATE UNIVERSITY LUPANE STATE UNIVERSITY. P O Box AC 255, ASCOT, BULAWAYO ZIMBABWE. Lupane State University E-learning Policy

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1 LUPANE STATE UNIVERSITY Lupane State University E-learning Policy LUPANE STATE UNIVERSITY P O Box AC 255, ASCOT, BULAWAYO ZIMBABWE Lupane State University E-learning Policy Date effected : / / Date Last Updated : / /...

2 Introduction The university was established through an act of parliament in 2004 and opened its doors to 14 pioneer students in the faculty of Agricultural Sciences in August The expansion of university education in Zimbabwe is part of government policy adopted at the onset of independence. In 1980 the government of Zimbabwe embarked on a major programme to extend educational access to the hitherto under served at both primary and secondary school levels. The University now has about 2,000 students and has three functional Faculties namely Agriculture, Humanities and Social Sciences and Commerce and with great prospects for growth. The success of e-learning depends on the effective interoperation of all systems supporting the learner, including the various Management Information Systems, financial and student record systems, those providing resources such as e-library as well as a stable network, appropriate bandwidth and appropriate culture and attitudes. Bandwidth is a major issue in the deployment of e-learning. Successful e-learning relies on high quality and quantity of audio, video, interactivity and processing tasks. The University s strategic vision and mission are: Vision: To be ranked among Premier Universities in the world in research based knowledge, teaching and learning. Mission: To contribute research based knowledge and learning for the development of humanity by working closely with communities and attracting the best academics, researchers and students in Zimbabwe and beyond. The University s core values are: Professionalism, Excellence, Integrity, Innovation, Equity, Diversity, Social and environmental responsibility. This e-learning policy is focused at consolidating some of the strategic directions that LSU wants to pursue namely: Strategic direction 1: Undertake research to yield knowledge and technologies required to improve development outcomes in communities and to enhance teaching and learning Strategic direction 2.1: Embrace technology and improve quality of content and lecture delivery. Strategic direction 2.3: Induction of new lecturers on teaching methodologies Strategic direction 3.5: Improve Information Literacy Skills ILS

3 This e-learning policy is intended for the University management, staff, students and partners including communities that interact closely with the University. The E-learning and other systems and services that it supports must be supported by other policies such as the Intellectual Property and Copyright Policy, Privacy Policy, Acceptable Use Policy and other relevant policies to avoid infringements. Rationale for E-Learning The university may not have the luxury to ignore the technological drive that has revolutionarised the learning and teaching space. In today's world, a new level of commitment is required in order to educate today's generation and e-learning is emerging as the definite standard and a desirable tool of imparting knowledge and information. Learning is now student centred and not teacher/lecturer centric. Technology brings about diversity in delivery of learning and teaching. E-learning provides opportunities to increase student numbers without a heavy demand in teaching staff and space which is so pricey to LSU as well as through the use of e- assessment and online tutoring. ICTs enable greater interactivity and potentially quicker feedback for learners than conventional teaching methods. The increased variety of learners, including block students, greater numbers of older students, demands greater attention to individual learners needs. E-learning provides much simpler solutions to personalization and flexibility of instruction than conventional instructional methods. Additionally, ICT s provide advantages such as easy reproduction of materials, negligible storage space requirements, potentially very strong security and capability to offer multiple concurrent channels for content access. Mobile technology is rapidly evolving to support data applications. Mobile phones can be used to send and receive short message services (SMS), take and send pictures, send and receive data files (music, text files, video), and browse the Internet. Third-generation (3G) mobile technologies can transmit data at speeds of up to two megabytes per second. At such speeds, mobile phones will be able to offer a vast array of new services and would support e-learning. This is now called m-learning. M-learning is defined as learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies where there is no fixed learning venue/environment.

4 Definitions For the purposes of this policy the following definitions apply: LSU means Lupane State University ICT means computer and electronic systems used for the acquisition, creation, processing, storage, retrieval and transmission of electronic information. E-learning means all forms of interactive instruction which is enhanced, supported, mediated, delivered or assessed by electronic means. E-Learning content means e-learning resources specifically developed as part of official University courses. E-content in this policy document is used as a short form of E-Learning content. E-Learning module means a complete e-content package designed and intended for a single University course. Module means a package of instructional materials for a complete University level course ICTS means Information Communication and Technology Services department CMS means Content Management System such as Moodle, which allow development, management and integration of learning material. Benefits of E-learning For LSU, e-learning is will bring the following: Deepens understanding and raises instructional standards, Provide students with high quality instructional materials, Increases instructional flexibility to the advantage of University students, Increase student motivation and scope of learning, Increase time on task for students thereby improving student performance, Contribute to automation of student assessment, Improves tutoring without increasing classroom time or number of staff, Improves efficiency both in learning and teaching, Promotes collaborate learning and provides new ways of interacting, and Resolves conflicting schedules Less contact with students leave lecturers with more time for research. Cost of hand outs can be reduced. Submission of assignments on time.

5 E-learning Methodology We intend to implement e-learning to enrich classroom learning through the Internet, interactive multimedia and social networks. Online learning will be blended with face to face learning to enjoy the benefits of the two. E-Learning resources will ensure the delivery of learning material and interaction with the students over the Internet, using free open source CMS such as Moodle, Claroline and others. This will allow students to log in from anywhere in the world to access their class materials and interact with each other. The CMS must be able to present course material including course synopsis, assignments, quizzes, and in the future develop it further to provide online assessment, chatting, video and audio lessons. Students must be able to interact with lecturers, access course materials and stimulate debate. Courses are lecturer led and will generally follow the same semester schedule as traditional courses. All specific course information such as how to reach the lecturer, what work is expected, and deadlines to submit assignments and take tests will be made available online. E-Learning cannot totally replace the traditional classroom teaching and the traditional classroom setup is slowly being challenged and this requires a new model that combines the best of both e-learning methodologies and classroom teaching techniques. POLICY STATEMENT The University will use e-learning where appropriate to support the achievement of its goals in providing learner-centred learning experiences that are flexible, responsive, effective and meet the needs of all its learners. E-learning will be used to innovate both learning and its delivery and will be delivered through effective and efficient use of all resources whilst maintaining the quality standards the University is committed to. Academics at tertiary level are interested in the use of technology in education and appreciate the importance of e-learning. A typical course site contains instructor posts such as announcements, module syllabus, notes and presentations, and other learning materials for students. Advanced e-learning may facilitate forums and chats, ability to receive and return student assignments, online quiz administration and tests, and an online grading system. Policy aspects pertaining to e-learning will, where relevant, be embedded in all University policies and procedures to ensure a consistent and corporate approach to associated systems, processes and responsibilities.

6 Policy Components This policy will guide LSU s E-learning initiatives and programs. The implementation and enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of the Vice Chancellor and (Academic) Deans. This policy has the following components: 1. Quality Assurance: E-content development shall adhere to the University s learning and teaching quality assurance processes and meet all required standards. Successful E-content presentation structure shall be standardized and pass a departmental level peer review process. 2. Intellectual Property Rights and Ownership: E-content whose development is initiated and fully supported by the University belongs to the University. 3. Staff Incentives for Development of E-Content There is a need to compensate staff members for the time and effort spent developing e- content at the prevailing rate which will be determined by an appropriate committee. 4. Capacity Building for E-Learning: All staff involved in development, management or use of e-content shall be provided with continuous appropriate training. Regular refresher courses shall be provided to staff based on needs assessment. 5. E-learning centre As the university grows, a centre for e-learning will be established. In the interim, the ICTS department will work with academic staff in the development and adoption of e-content and provide related capacity building within the University. This unit will be responsible for publishing completed e-content on behalf of the University and the maintenance of e-learning servers. 6. Security and Access Rights Access to e-content that belongs to the University will be restricted to bona fide University students and other authorized people. 7. Access to E-learning Content: The ICTS department shall be responsible for providing and maintaining appropriate and sufficient infrastructure for access to e-learning resources.

7 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I have read the e-learning policy. I understand the contents and I agree to comply with the said policy. Location :. Name :. Employee s Signature : Date :./../. Supervisor s Signature : Date :./ /.

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