Today’s rapid advancement of technology has enhanced and brought in other simple ways of studying anywhere in the world. One of the most hindering aspects of education was distance and the possibility of accessing quality education very far away from your location, OnlineU – an Online Distance e-learning platform is part of International University of East Africa (IUEA)s’ course offering mode that offers you all the perks of attending your dream programs in a university, with the added convenience of a learning experience tailored to your schedule. With courses available in almost every program accredited by the National Council for Higher Education, and flexible timetables to suit almost every lifestyle, students are increasingly turning to OnlineU as a viable alternative to on-campus study.
As a technological university of choice, IUEA’s advanced technology now allows students to study entirely online while still socializing with classmates, watching lectures, and participating in course unit – specific discussions.
While some universities consider online learning to require a greater degree of self motivation, IUEA recognizes that educational support is just as important as tutor feedback, and takes great care to ensure that their students receive the same levels of support that they would receive on campus.
OnlineU Learning resources
At International University of East Africa, when taking an online study program you encounter resources like:
- Recorded lectures;
- Discussion forums
- Live Q&A sessions; and
The resources offered to you by the IUEA ‘OnlineU’ will depend on the program you are undertaking. Some programs may require you to use simulation programs especially to attain practical experience in hands-on course units, students can expect to study using a combination of cutting-edge technological resources with no need to travel to attend lectures, exams or in-person discussion sessions!
Taking an online learning program at IUEA, you’ll be an officially registered student at the university and have access to the same resources as an on-campus student, like your IUEA’s digital library, learning management system (OnlineU), student union membership and more!
- eBooks, textbooks & journals
These written materials are essential resources in almost every course you’ll take when studying at IUEA. Using the reading list for each course, or on the advice of your course instructor, you’ll need to dedicate the amount of time you need to reading and understanding the topics in the literature. The main advantage of using this medium (particularly eBooks) is the fact that they are completely portable, allowing you to study on the go from your computer, phone, or tablet.
- Recorded lectures
An essential way of absorbing a large amount of information in a relatively short amount of time, lectures are a staple of online and campus-based learning. With online learning, you can attend lectures from your bedroom!
- Interactive sessions
The greatest challenge an online education provider faces is how to replicate the face-to-face interaction and in-person discussions that on-campus institutions can easily provide. The solution? Online degree programs often use a combination of discussion forums and interactive question-and-answer sessions to give you the interaction with other students and instructors you need.
How is Online Learning Delivered at IUEA?
Online students and some universities often think that their learning resources will or should be delivered via email, or even by snail mail! IUEA has moved away from this unreliable method of delivery.
The course or module’s learning resources at IUEA are delivered via the institution’s OnlineU learning environment or platform. The learning platform is a software used that consists of a central online platform that students can access from their personal PC, mobile or tablet. One of the major benefits of utilizing resources that are hosted entirely online is unending flexibility!
As an online student at IUEA, you can choose to access your course information and complete your assignments at any time as per the flexible time table prior arranged. This allows you to fit study time in around your work, family and other commitments. This also means that students who wish to continue working while studying do not have to put their careers on hold. Get the best of both worlds!
How is OnlineU is Assessed at IUEA?
Students taking a program or an individual course online will still be tested at regular intervals throughout their study period to assess their understanding of the course materials. For those new to online education, this process can be intimidating. But there’s no need to worry! IUEA’s OnlineU is being managed and monitored by experienced professionals, they’ll ensure that your assessments are fair, comfortable, and designed to help you make the most of your learning experience.
These are the methods of assessment that students will have the most experience with. For each assignment, you’ll receive your topic, deadline and word count. You’ll be required to produce a structured, reasoned argument within the boundaries set out by your course instructor and guided by the National Council for Higher Education.
- Discussion activities
Face-to-face discussions between friends and colleagues is something that we all do every day. However, an online academic discussion requires a different set of skills, and might not come as naturally when you first start your online learning journey.
Not to worry, IUEA ‘ll get the hang of it! These activities will differ depending on the program you are undertaking, but your course instructor will generally start each discussion off with a question or topic for debate. Students then need to research the topic and post their responses to the task demonstrating their own knowledge and understanding. Often, you’ll end up in a debate with the ideas and views posted by fellow students, these at times are done live or through chats.
- Journal activities
Like discussion boards, journal activities tend to be specific to online courses. A journal entry is an ongoing update giving you the opportunity to reflect back on what you’ve learned during the period under review, and how you’ll apply what you’ve learned in the future.
Online learning doesn’t take place in classrooms, and journal entries are straightforward ways for course instructors to get a grasp of how you’re progressing through the course and if you’re gaining knowledge in the right areas. Unlike other assignments, it is acceptable to use a subjective, personal style of writing in journal entries and refer to yourself in the first person.
Although they can be nerve-wracking, exams are a key way to test your learning. Institutions may choose to allow students to complete their exams on their own personal computer, in a location of their choosing.
At IUEA the OnlineU exams model makes it realistically hard for students to cheat, bringing out the quality of the exams and its integrity.
How Does OnlineU Prevent Cheating?
Misinformation abounds that online students can simply cheat their way to success by purchasing assignments or using revision materials during virtual examinations. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Online learning doesn’t mean easier learning! Online institutions should adhere to the same standards of excellence as brick-and-mortar institutions. As online learning technology has developed, virtual institutions have perfected digital processes to prevent cheating and/or plagiarism.
Course instructors and online institutions work hard to ensure that cheating is almost impossible in an online course. By making use of advanced plagiarism detection software, all submissions you make for your online course, from examinations to assignments are scrutinized electronically using anti-plagiarism software, and then will also be subject to additional checks by your instructor.
IUEA’s additional measure to mitigate cheating.
- Browser lockdown (While undertaking exams the student cannot access the computer applications other than the exams page)
- Scrutinizing the photo against system records (Before the start of exams the software takes a picture by activating the camera and compares this with the system records to ensure the candidate is the registered student for that program)
- Ensuring the candidate is alone (The software constantly at an interval of five seconds takes a picture and runs a system check to verify that the same candidate or student is the one doing exams to avoid cheating)
- Making sure the candidate does not get help from a third party etc. ( Through taking pictures and verifying the system tries to detect other additional faces and the angle of the student viewing his or her computer hence eliminating any third party help from behind the computer)
Recognition of Online Qualifications
Many online institutions are fully accredited institutes of higher learning. IUEA will clearly state the type of qualification you’ll gain from pursuing an online program – from bachelor to master degrees, graduate certificates, and everything in-between.
Support for Online Learning
An important aspect that determines the quality of a study experience is the level of support that students receive. Many students worry that online institutions will not be able to provide the support that they need. This concern is recognized by IUEA, and there is a 24-hour support team that helps students who study online so as to have the best experience from IUEA.
The main concern that potential students have regarding support is the lack of face-to-face help that an online course provides; however, by using technology like video calling, 24/7 chart forums geared to help, and a standby call center that handles traditional phone calls and email, IUEA is increasingly bridging the gap between online and on-campus student support.
Building an online system is not a one-day job. It takes a lot of dedication and the interest of being a technological university to do so, luckily IUEA started on this journey way before the push brought by Covid 19 as a result it was a smooth transition for our students and staff to adopt to the new normal.
Akasa Albe Omar
Quality Assurance Manager
International University of East Africa