Port-Vila, Vanuatu – 18 August 2023: A training about eLearning course creation was organised last Wednesday 17 and Thursday 18 August for teachers and lecturers from the University of Vanuatu (NUV), its School of Education (SOE), the Vanuatu Agriculture College and the Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT).
Attended by 27 motivated participants, the training provided technical insights and methodological advice to enhance learning experience, develop collaborative teaching and engage with students using the remote learning platform Moodle.
The training for NUV and its partners institutions aligns well with the objectives outlined in the society pilar of the National Human Resource Development Plan 2020-2030 (NHRDP), reflecting on the country's priorities of quality education system with life-long learning for all. The training was organised by NUV through the DIgital REsponse Connecting CiTizens (Direcct), a program supported by the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OEACP) and funded by the European Union managed by the AFD - Agence Française de Développement.
Investing in lecturers to improve remote learning access to all
During health or environmental crises, physical attendance to classes can become perilous or just impossible. To provide continuity of learning, NUV’s strategy is to develop a robust open-source learning platform for remote learning using Moodle.
During the training, lecturers developed better understanding of Moodle functionalities, its user-friendly interface and adaptability to various devices (desktops, laptops, mobile phones and tablets), enabling teachers to deliver lessons, share resources, and communicate with students through various means. This accessibility ensures that students, regardless of their location, can access educational materials and maintain their learning trajectory on and off-line.
Annette Theophile, senior lecturer from the Department of Sciences, lecturer for more than 25 years, attended the training. She was just back from Torba province where she supervised practical works with primary teachers enrolled in the Distance Education Bachelor. She was grateful to be able to spend time with her students from all the provinces of Vanuatu without disturbing her class program in Vila, hence ensuring the continuity of her teaching while being away.
Providing new tool to control plagiarism and wrong resourcing
Lecturers were impressed by the new innovative functionalities of Moodle that bolster the fight against plagiarism and wrong resourcing to promote academic integrity. This module can be used by teachers but also students, to assess the originality and honesty of their work by comparing the assignment with billions of resources and research worldwide. The collective effort to uphold academic integrity is strengthened, ultimately benefiting both educators and students alike.
Lincoln Hlatywayo, newly arrived at SOE from Zimbabwe and contracted to develop a new program on inclusive education, has been working with Moodle for more than 10 years in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, nevertheless he was really impressed by the new functionalities. Moodle will allow him to teach from Vanuatu and his home country. For him this training came at the perfect moment, as he thinks that it will support innovative and creative teaching methods to improve students' enrolment and motivation of Vanuatu’s students.
Accessibility, inclusiveness and gamification.
The facilitator of the training, Dominik Maximilián Ramík, ICT teacher since 2017 at Collège technique et Lycée de Lowanatom in Tanna, IT consultant and responsible for the national ICT curriculum for Secondary Schools in Vanuatu, emphasised in his straining on how e-learning platforms go beyond traditional learning by prioritizing accessibility, inclusiveness, and gamification to create a more enriching educational experience.
Through features like customizable text sizes, screen reader compatibility, and alternative content formats, Moodle ensures that learners of all abilities can engage with course materials seamlessly. The platform provides collaborative tools, discussion forums, and peer assessment capabilities, fostering diverse interactions and perspectives among learners. Furthermore, Moodle embraces gamification elements, incorporating badges, leaderboards, and interactive quizzes that enhance engagement and motivation, transforming the learning journey into an enjoyable and rewarding adventure for students of various backgrounds and learning preferences.
During the wrap up of the training, those functionalities were largely acclaimed by the lecturers who are excited to incorporate them into their classes starting from next semester to fight the ‘feel lonely’ effect that can generate distance teaching.
During the closing ceremony, NUV Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Jean-Pierre Nirua, congratulated and acknowledged the participants for their commitment and collective effort to train and develop their expertise with Moodle. He confirmed NUV's desire to facilitate and invest in more training to ensure the success of the University digital transformation.