Teaching online requires skills, technological know-how – ICT expert

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PROF. Mudathir Yusuf, an ICT expert, has said that online teachers required basic knowledge and skills in the use of technology for effective synchronous and asynchronous instructions.

Yusuf, the immediate past Director of the Computer Services and Information Technology (ICT) Unit, University of Ilorin, made the assertion on Wednesday during an interview with newsmen in Ilorin.

According to the don, the most critical element in effective online teaching is the teacher.

He said that COVID-19 pandemic had opened a vista of the capacity of ICT to revolutionise Nigerian education.

Yusuf said that the pandemic had underscored the need for access to education beyond the brick-and-mortar walls of the classrooms.

According to him, online teaching is not only about technology, but more about basic techno-pedagogical knowledge and skills.

He said that it was erroneous to believe that anyone that can teach can also teach online.

“With our current mindset, inadvertently, we would succeed in creating a community of online cheaters and not online teachers.

“The reality is that technology on its own can never assure quality and productive online instruction.

“Individuals, institutions and nations teaching online did not start teaching online during COVID-19; they only stepped-up teaching online during the epidemic.

“These are teachers who have the expertise for online course planning and design; interaction, assessment, giving students feedback; getting feedback from students; and new technologies,” Yusuf said.

He added that the online teachers were instructors who can structure and implement their subjects and courses using enlivening techniques, for fully online or hybrid courses.

According the don, online teachers are not just subject specialists; they are adept in the art, craft and science of online instructional delivery.

He therefore said that Nigerian teachers were not prepared for online teaching, adding that practicing and pre-service teachers, lecturers in higher institutions are also not prepared for quality online instruction.

The professor added that the real fact was that contemporary teachers in Nigeria were for traditional teaching in conventional classrooms, with or without technology.

According to the expert, if forced to move online, the contemporary teachers will bring their conventional pedagogies which may not be effective for online instruction.

“Critical stakeholders need to embark on aggressive training and re-training of teachers for blended learning.

“We must make conscious efforts to prepare teachers who will promote not only technology-enhanced but also technology-enabled learning environments.

“A new generation of teachers who can adapt their existing materials for online and also help produce learners who use technology to extend their classroom learning.

“We must sow to reap. The nation needs to move the existing teachers to the level where they can be productive as online teachers,” he said.

Yusuf called for professional development as this, he said, was vital for online teachers to maintain mastery of both subject matter and instructional methods.

The don further suggested that a robust professional development programme anchored by experts would empower practicing classroom teachers and lecturers to become effective online teachers or tutors.

“Such professional development programmes must occur partly online, the medium in which the teachers were to deliver their courses,’’ the don said.

He advocated using the model design so that teachers and lecturers experience for themselves both the medium and the methods they will adopt to teach online.

The ICT expert also advised that pre-service teachers must be the next generation of online teachers, saying that the teacher education curriculum in Nigeria should undergo restructuring.

The don observed that traditionally, the Nigerian pre-service teacher education programme has no component on the element of online instruction.

“The benchmarks for teacher education by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) do not require pre-service teachers to take even a course in how to instruct online.

“With the promise of online education, pre-service training in online teaching skills should be a prerequisite for teacher education certificate or degree.

“The Nigerian Teacher Registration Council must ensure that part of its requirement for teacher certification is evidence of pre-service or in-service online teaching competence,” Yusuf further recommended.

The don also said teachers must be motivated and supported to go online. (NAN)

– May 6, 2020 @ 15:17 GMT |

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