Leapfrogging Distance Education into Fourth and Fifth Generation at Makerere University

TitleLeapfrogging Distance Education into Fourth and Fifth Generation at Makerere University
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsMuyinda, PBirevu
Conference Namee/merge Africa online International Conference

Makerere University has prioritised Distance Education as the number one strategic action for offering flexible education and increasing access to its academic offerings. The university has put in place a policy for open, distance and eLearning (ODeL) to provide a framework for mainstreaming ODeL into all programmes of study at the University. It is also mobilising resources to develop greater human and infrastructural capacity. The Distance Education Leapfrogging Project (DELP) is a project through which resources are being raised to promote online based distance education. Since 2013 the DELP has been running with the aim of increasing access to flexible blended education at Makerere University. DELP is implemented in three work packages, namely: i) Education and Training; ii) PhD and Research; and iii) Institutional Development.

DELP has resulted in a number of new developments these include the development of two (the first ever) online learning programmes as well as scholarships for Ugandans and nationals of South Sudan on the online learning programmes. Three faculty have also been provided with scholarships to complete/pursue PhD studies in ODeL. One post-doctoral researcher is completing work on online student support. Three annual international research workshops have been held with an output of over 30 research publications in ODeL. An online journal and international conference on ODeL are planned for 2018.

DELP has also set up physical and virtual infrastructure in addition to building greater capacity for enabling ODeL programmes and courses to be offered. An off-campus model student support centre has been established and equipped. The Project has yielded a number of outcomes including:

Increased capacity to enrol students on open, distance and e-learning programmes,

Increased ubiquitous student support; and
Increased integration of e-learning within conventional programmes,

increased number of programmes being ‘onlinised’