eLearning outreach: ICT training for UWC Metro cleaning staff members

Metro cleaning colleagues have taken the initiative to empower themselves, by attending the eLearning basic computer literacy programme. The participants will engage in Microsoft Office Packages during hands-on training and support sessions. These packages include: Introduction to Windows; Word; PowerPoint; Excel and Publisher. They will also be equipped with basic Internet browsing skills; and how to access email. The first ICT training session (Introduction to Windows) has been attended by fourteen eager participants.

This eLearning outreach programme is similar to the one we embarked on for the Hope Foundation (NGO) in 2008, whereby adult learners were trained on how to use Microsoft Office Packages. The E-Learning Development and Support Unit (EDSU) is dedicated to outreach community projects which endeavours to enskill learners with basic computer literacy competencies.

Mobile eLearning site for UWC: “Mobivarsity” 

The eLearning Support and Development Unit (eDSU) embarked on a project with the Free Software Innovation Unit (FISU) at the University of the Western Cape, for the development of a mobile eLearning site. The various possibilities were discussed and Phase I of the Mobile project encompassed the development of a student mobile site: http://m.eteaching.uwc.ac.za. Thus our vision for a “mobivarsity” – “a mobile university” for students unfolds.

The eLearning mobile site is a mini version of the eTeaching site that has been optimised to function on the mobile phone. The site will enable students to access various eTools via their mobile phones namely:

    * Course content

    * File manager

    * Assignment

    * Discussion forum

    * Internal mail

    * Calendar

    * Announcements

    * Multiple choice questions (MCQs)

There is a need to re-conceptualise learning for the mobile age in order to support virtual communities that transcend barriers of age and culture. Thus we need to recognise the essential role of mobility and communication in the process of learning; and to indicate the importance of context in establishing meaning [Sharples, 2005].

As Merryl Ford stated at a South Africa – Finland Knowledge Partnership on ICT Programme (SAFIPA) conference held in Pretoria, the cellphone is poised to become the ‘PC of Africa’, and hence provides a gateway for eLearning. Many mobile phones are now Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) enabled, which allows users to browse the internet from their mobiles anywhere at any given time provided there is network.

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