Monrovia — State-run University of Liberia, has launched an E-Learning program (online learning) for students attending classes for its 2019/2020 academic semester.
The move by the UL administration is geared toward preventing the spread of COVID-19 amongst students as confirmed cases keep rising in Liberia.
There has been series of debate among students and opinion leaders in the country on whether the university should resume classes after senior high school students recently resumed classes to prepare for the regional exams.
UL President, Dr. Julius J. S. Nelson, told a press conference Thursday, July 2, that following negotiation with Orange GSM and support from government, students who will complete registration will begin classes on July 28 as a special E-Learning semester.
"This online learning semester will be conducted on Moodle, the leading and globally-supported learning management system along with our digital registration and enrollment management system," Dr. Nelson said.
He noted that students will not have to go on campuses but will use laptop or smartphone to access lesson.
Dr. Nelson furthered that the platform will not compelled students to attended classes online at a time like zoom, but students will be able to access their lessons anytime.
Howbeit, he stated that this is exceptional for those who will have special classes that needs physical interactions like lab classes.
Already, according to him, negotiations have been carried out to ensure that students buy smart phones from Orange GSM at an affordable price, while data charges will also be affordable for students who will compete registration.
"This is a huge shift. It is a transformation that will change us all (students and faculty), but, deep integration of technology in learning is the future of higher education," Dr. Nelson asserted.
"Acknowledging the magnitude of the challenges of conducting a novel online learning semester and to ensure success, we have considered the needs of our students. An agreement has been reached with a local partner for the provision of data package and computing gadgets at affordable rates for registered students."
Currently, according to him, teachers have completed several weeks of training on the usage of the online platform and students can visit the school's website to learn the process of using the 'Moodle Platform'
At the same time, he noted that students who were processing readmission or are about doing so will not pay fees for that process.
He also maintained that students who are doing professional courses and graduate level will have some reduction in fees.
Dr. Nelson clarified that the process of free tuition will remain in tight.
However, he said the UL Department of Public Affairs will keep updating students on processes leading to the start of the semester.
If all goes well, this will be the first time the state own university regarded by many in some quarters as "Old Age University" will be offering a full online program for its students.
It comes in line with a statement from President George Weah for the digitization of learning activities, which witnessed the installation of a fiber-optic internet connection on three of its four campuses, with the support of USAID.