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More Smart Boards Underway, VC Assures

Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye will soon take delivery of more SMART Boards in its bid to optimise online teaching and make learning more convenient in the institution. The digital interactive boards will be allocated to various Colleges, Faculties and Departments of the University.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, disclosed this at a training workshop for academic staff held recently at the Senate Chamber, Main Campus, Ago-Iwoye. At the event, resource persons were on the ground to take lecturers through “the Use of Microsoft Teams.”

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which forced many meetings and lectures to move to a virtual environment, Microsoft Teams gained much global interest and prominence among other softwares which offer videoconferencing, file storage and application integration.

Speaking at the training workshop, the Vice-Chancellor, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Prof. Deji Agboola, said with the ongoing investments in digital technology, the University was determined to make it easier for lecturers to do their teaching and research.

Prof. Olatunde explained that following the Governing Council’s approval for the University to fully go digital, orders were placed for 50 interactive boards to enhance online teaching. According to him, 14 SMART Boards have so far been delivered by the contractors while the remaining 36 were being awaited. He attributed the delay in delivery to logistics challenges occasioned by the pandemic. He, however, stated that the equipment would be promptly deployed to Faculties and Departments upon their receipt.

The Vice-Chancellor restated the commitment of the University to observing and maintaining the COVID-19 protocols even as students resumed for the 2020/2021 academic session. He assured that the University Management would embrace measures that would make tertiary education easier and more accessible.

He said the essence of the training for academic staff was to further hone their skills in information and communication technology and address emerging issues from the migration to virtual environment.

His words: “If you don’t know how to use the Microsoft Teams very well, the smart boards become difficult. Smart boards look simple but they’re also a bit more complex because all the buttons there, you need to be taught how to make use of them. You can download on the smart board, you can write on it, you can clean, you can share laptop with it, you can share your phone with it.”

“But the truth of the matter is that if you follow this very well, you yourself would be more comfortable with teaching by using the Microsoft Teams than coming to class. What you need to do is to lecture, put your power point there, hide the one that you’re supposed to hide with you and then speak to it. You can just prepare if it’s an hour lecture, within 45 minutes you should be done and then spend remaining 15 minutes to interact with your students. That will help us to get to where we are going.”

“What is important now is that we want you to be able to do it on your own, not that you depend on the ICT Department. Because if you are depending on the ICT all the time, it will also waste your time. Imagine a lecture of one hour and you use about 30 minutes to be calling ICT? But if you know how to do it yourself, you don’t need them,” he added.

Prof. Olatunde declared that OOU would not relent on efforts to sustain the virtual teaching, pointing out that the laying of fibre-optic cables on the campus and improvement in internet services underscored the commitment of the Management to ensure efficiency.

The Vice-Chancellor also used the occasion to explain why the University decided to move students’ clearance online, saying it was aimed at assisting the lecturers in reducing pressure.

“In a way, we don’t want the students to have much interaction with you anymore.
But by and large, we want to make it easier for all our colleagues to just do their teaching and be able to spend more time on their research. They should not be bogged down with things that are not necessary,” he submitted.

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