by Duke Muchindu
Online Learning is a buzzword that has been around in the Technology world for some time now. Sadly, this buzzword is not so common to many African nations because the advancement of technology in Africa is at a very slow pace. Fortunately for Zambia, the government is now encouraging all sectors of the economy to integrate Information Communication Technology, commonly known as ICT, in their daily operations. The education sector has embraced this effort with open hands. The Minister of Information and Communication Technology recently announced that the E-learning Conference for Africa would be held in Zambia. This is an annual event that looks at advances that African countries have made in integrating ICT in all sectors of their economies.
Since its inception, Northrise University (NU) has integrated ICT in teaching, learning and research. January 2010 took this integration one step further; Northrise launched the first online learning programs. These are Professional diploma in Human Resources Management offered in conjunction with the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management and a Certificate in Theology. The programs are delivered via NU’s Virtual Learning System (VLS). The program modules are designed for working professionals who do not have the time to leave work and engage in full time study. On their time and with Internet connectivity, they can earn their diplomas. It must be recognized here that Northrise is the first educational institute in Zambia to offer online learning in the true sense of the word. This is not distance learning but rather learning in a virtual classroom (online) where students are able to interact with their lecturers and fellow students in real-time.
“Am glad to be a part of this innovative approach to learning. This is the first of its kind in Zambia and am proud to be one of the first online students with a Zambian University” Victor Mulenga.
It’s hoped that as this innovation gains momentum and the Zambian public realize the convenience of online learning, Northrise will be their first choice. Online curricula are already under development for Bachelors programs in the School of Business and the Center for ICT.