WDU is in the process of starting its online/distance education programmes. Three types of programmes are planned:
- Short-term Certificate programmes/course of one to six months duration depending on the courses.
- Diploma programs of 12 to 24 months duration
- First degree programmes of 3 to 6 year duration
- Post graduate degree programmes of one to 4 year duration.
WDU plans to start with the Short-term Certificate in October 2020. It is currently working on submitting its application to the National University Commission of Nigeria (NUC)for the accreditation of the online degree programmes. The online First degree programmes will start as soon as the NUC approved the application. WDU also plans to submit an application to the National Board of Technical Education to approve its diploma programmes.
Vision: WDU aspires to have the best online higher education program in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of the quality of its programs, the quality of its instruction, alignment of programs to the needs of the labor market and needs of students, student success, degree of satisfaction by stakeholders and international rating/ranking.
Mission: The mission of WDU online higher education programme is to provide quality, affordable and flexible online higher education opportunities to eligible/qualified students at a place, time and pace of their choosing.
Goals: Consistent with the Nigerian National Policy on Education and the NUC’s Guidelines for Open and Distance Learning, the goals of WDU Online Education Program are to:
• Provide access to quality higher education opportunities for those who for one reason or the other cannot enrol in traditional (face-to-face mode) programs offered by institutions of higher education.
• Meet academic needs of workers and employers by providing online certificate and degree programs focused on requirements of the labour market.
• Utilise the services of highly qualified and experienced instructors and professionals located in different parts of Nigeria and overseas, especially the Nigerian Diaspora, to provide the quality of education that meets international standards, based on best practices and up-to-date technology.
Values: The following are the values that will underpin the delivery of WDU online education program:
- Student-centredness and success: Our primary focus is on how our students can succeed in their academic pursuit/goals
- Integrity: We uphold the highest standards of ethical behaviour, honesty, transparency, accountability, fairness and social justice.
- Partnership & collaboration: We believe in the dictum “together we do it better”, and as such we believe in partnering and collaborating with other (local and international) institutions, businesses, industry, private foundations and philanthropists.
- Excellence and continuous improvement:
- Stakeholder satisfaction, especially students and staff:
- Assessments and Evaluations:
Approach: WDU Online Program will be offered in two formats: hybrid (dual) mode and full (100%) formats.
- Hybrid: Some of the courses/classes will be taken online while others will be taken in a traditional classroom (face-to-face) mode in designated study centres or online in a synchronous mode, typically during weekends or a time that is convenient to all students.
- Full online: All courses/courses will be done completely online at students’ location and schedule.
Whether in a hybrid or full online format, students will be given weekly assignments, quizzes and tests as part of formative (continuous) assessments and due dates for assignments will be given by the instructor. Instructors will also communicate directly with each student or groups of students by video conferencing/chartrooms (Zoom or Google hangout or Webex meeting/training or Skype business) to respond to questions and discuss. This way, instructors will be able to put “faces” to the names of the students and foster some level of personal bond between instructors and students and among the students. Group assignments will also be given to groups of students within a class to foster team work and collaboration among students.
Some of the services that will be provided to all students enrolled in an online program include
- Initial training on the use of the online Learning Management System (LMS) and other technology tools such the relevant applications in the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
- Online tutorials and advising (in both synchronous and asynchronous mode).
Online Learning Coordinating Team: The program will be situated within the College of Online Education, headed by a Director, and will be managed by a Coordinating Team lead by the Director. The team will meet on a monthly basis to address current and future needs of the program
Online teaching can be done in asynchronous and synchronous learning environments or modalities. Asynchronous learning environments are online spaces where work is supported through the use of digital platforms in such a way that participants are not required to be online at the same time. This is “anytime-anywhere” online learning. A benefit of asynchronous learning is the learner having more time to generate content-related responses to the instructor and peer postings; they have time to find facts to back their written statements. The additional time provides an opportunity to increase the learner’s ability to process information. One of the main limitations asynchronous learning is the greater potential for a learner to feel removed from the learning environment. Asynchronous learning is viewed as less social in nature and can cause the learner to feel isolated. Providing the student a feeling of belonging to the university or institution will assist with feelings of isolation; this can be done through ensuring links to university support systems and the library are accessible and operable.
Synchronous learning takes place through digital platforms where the learners are utilising the online media at the same time. When compared to asynchronous learning, synchronous online environments provide a greater sense of feeling supported, as the exchange of text or voice is immediate and feels more like a conversation. If platforms such as web conferencing or video chat are used, learners are able to hear the tone of voice used by others which may allow for greater understanding of content. Synchronous environment, with real-time responses allows for students or instructors to provide clarity to what was said, or alleviate any possible misconceptions. In a sense, a synchronous learning environment is almost like face-to-face learning except for use of internet rather than physical contact.