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MKU is fine-tuning and enriching the DIBL module

Students are finding blended learning at Mount Kenya University (MKU) an increasingly exciting and enriching experience.

The university’s Directorate of Distance and Institution Based Learning (DIBL) is helping them sharpen their computer literacy skills, and is as well granting them greater access to the online portal.

The technical support staff helps students navigate the platform. DIBL Director, Prof Pamela Ochieng, confirmed last year that the university had embarked on increasing access to the student portal, targeting 100 percent by December 2017 from 75 percent.

Since September 2017, the directorate has been implementing procedures and schedules on the training of staff and students on the use of the digital platform.

“My vision as the director is to improve the quality of education offered, possibly through benchmarking and collaboration, both locally and internally,”

Prof Ochieng said. The university created the DIBL Directorate in October 2016 to offer blended learning and distance education programmes. It serves students who are separated from their lecturers by time
and space.

The university ensures that the distance learning provision is of equal quality to classroom study in terms of teaching methods and scholarly rigour. This is in accordance with conventional provision to ensure satisfactory delivery of programmes and provision of support and assessment of students.

MKU has put in place the necessary administrative, technical and ICT infrastructure to support digital and distance learning.

The delivery modes include traditional distance education by correspondence courses, online provision and interactive CD ROMs, e-learning and blended learning to open learning centres, and face-to-face sessions.

A significant element of flexibility, selfstudy and learning support is an integral part of this mode of delivery, which relies on a mix of multimedia technologies, such as e-learning, video conferencing, internet and print.

E-learning technology creates web-based learning and virtual classrooms. Audio technologies entail the use of pre-recorded lectures and video conferencing. These technologies enhance interactive learning.
Prof Ochieng says the learners should be equipped with modern ICT skills for the country to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of mainstreaming information technology in schools. It is embedded on the philosophy of education globally.

The MKU Directorate of DIBL aims to:
• Expand access to higher education;
• Provide an alternative way of obtaining quality academic qualifications to those who cannot attend the face-to-face mode of learning;
• Allow students to access education without changing areas of residence;
• Reduce the cost of education;
• Allow the university to offer teaching that is appropriate to the digital age;
• Enable the university to build on its international reputation by recruiting students worldwide; and
• Enrich students’ perspectives and learning experiences.

Prof Ochieng notes that the DIBL has generally improved the teacher training programme in Kenya and globally. The programme includes teaching practice, which is carried out during the students’ final session. The students are assessed by both the internal and the external examiners.

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