By Abdulyassar Abdulhamid
An expert in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) mode of education, Professor Olufemi A. Peters, has questioned the recent flurry by some universities in Nigeria to offer online education in the race to find a solution to the challenge posed by COVID-19.
The don disclosed this during an Inaugural Lecture delivered virtually on Thursday, a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity, NOUN, Ibrahim Sheme said, on Thursday.
The professor argued that a mere online delivery may not meet the contextual philosophy of ODL, as the former often lacks attention to the basic educational standards.
Peters said many otherwise single-mode, face-to-face (f2f) universities are fast converting to dual-mode institutions due to certain reasons.
The professor of chemistry said that the altruistic nature of ODL to Nigeria and its instructional delivery has an established standard, which may be the weak-link to the latest “converts” offering online education.
The statement added that the lecture, which was the 16th in the series for the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was streamed live on various online platforms from the university’s headquarters in Abuja.
Peters, who incidentally is the incoming Vice-Chancellor of NOUN, explained that the conversion to the dual-mode was partly necessitated by factors such as the pedigree of the ODL people in the country, the improved delivery channels and “the new social reformer in the land: the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The don added: “Practitioners in ODL philosophy and operations are now being increasingly created.
“However, in order for the practice to be comparable in the product assessment with its f2f counterpart, ‘standards’ have to be set.
“Without standard, which can be an obvious weak-link, an industry would fail to meet the definition of an industry.”