17th August, 2021
By Ibukun Emiola
The management of the University of Ibadan (UI), on Monday, proposed moving teaching and learning, for the rest of the second semester, online due to rising COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country.
Mrs Olubunmi Faluyi, the university’s Registrar, disclosed this in a statement made available by Mr Tunji Oladejo, Director of Public Communications, in the office of the Vice-Chancellor.
“It is clear that going fully online or adopting a blended approach to teaching is one of the steps to take to ensure the safety of all staff and students, given the increasing rate of infections being experienced in Nigeria and on our campus.
“Management commends all departments engaging in virtual/blended teaching since the commencement of the 2020/2021 Session.
“All departments are urged to immediately take advantage of existing arrangements and commence virtual/blending teaching.
“The Directorate of Information Technology and Media Services (ITeMS) and the ERTC are on the ground, available to provide technical support,” the registrar said.
Faluyi said the university had earlier requested faculties to identify courses to be taught online and those to be taught physically, for the rest of the second semester.
“The Emergency Remote Teaching Committee (ERTC), in its proposal to the Committee of Provosts and Deans (COPD), at a meeting, held on the 11th August 2021, had noted and recommended thus:
“As more cases of COVID-19 are being announced nationwide. These call for caution and proactive actions, which should take into consideration, in the main, the review of the mode of teaching and learning in the second semester and, as a consequence, provide a safe way to undertake pedagogical activities on Nigerian university campuses.
“With the daily rising cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and with several cases within the main campus and the College of Medicine/UCH campuses, the ERTC considered a proposal of blended teaching for the second semester in the university.
“The blended learning model should be officially decided in terms, either of availability of sections of the student population for online or physical encounters or the categorization of courses as online or physical.
”This neutralizes the choice of location or keeps all students, in principle, in physical presence within and/or around the campus,” she said.
Faluyi said the proposed platforms and tools to be used, according to the ERTC, include: LMS, Zoom, YouTube Gsuite accounts, Telegram fora, Solution clinics, which should be maintained for use by students and staff in all cases.
“Google Meet, which is practically free, should, in addition, be encouraged for lectures, since all academics have access to Gmail accounts.
“Firm decisions and systematicity should be applied on the preference for the operations of blended learning to ensure effectiveness,” she said.
She noted that the management had decried the poor compliance with COVID-19 protocols by the entire university community and emphasised the need to ensure strict compliance through the university’s COVID-19 Committee.
“If the situation worsens on campus, full online engagement should be mounted for all courses as was done in the first semester, exempting only departments and units with special needs, on the condition that evident strict compliance with the protocols will be observed.
“Bigger Zoom rooms for courses, with more than 1,800 students, should be purchased and added to the existing pool”, Faluyi added.
The registrar enjoined everyone to take personal responsibility for his/her safety by obeying all COVID-19 safety protocols.
“If we do this, there will be no cause for panic on our campus,” she said.
Faluyi also disclosed that arrangements were ongoing to make vaccines available for all staff and students, as soon as possible, the details of which would be provided as more progress is made, she said.