In spite of the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis Botho University has embarked on digital learning to continue its quest for academic excellence. The University’s continued effort to become leaders in innovation has seen them intensify their digital learning platforms for continuous learning process without disruption and successfully following coronavirus health precautions.
According to Mr. Golekanye Setume, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Communications, BU through the good use of existing Distance Learning resources such as the state of the art learning management tool “Blackboard Learn”, a reliable learning infrastructure, was made available across their student community for uninterrupted learning. This learning management system used by BU is fully capable of working online and only requires limited connectivity for submission and receiving content in frequent intervals proving very effective to students who are challenged with continuous data connectivity. This has proven effective to equip learners with innovative mind to be able to prosper in the midst of obstacles and utilise the digital mediums as a way of adaptation to change by continuous learning.
Setume, asserted that they forged partnerships with mobile network providers to be able to facilitate ease of connectivity, with Mascom providing Zero rated access to Blackboard during lockdown while Orange also afforded students low data rates to access the learning portals. BU also hosted virtual training sessions or webinars to teach students how to use the online learning platforms as well as provide free tablets to empower them to learn from anywhere. Furthermore, the University offers online support via WhatsApp to ensure smooth digital learning experience.
“Blackboard is Botho University Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) which allows students to access course materials online. All BU community, including those in conventional learning have been using Blackboard Learn and its mobile App in a blended mode to access learning resources even offline which has cut data costs by 90%” cited Setume
BU has also embarked on different efforts and have measures in place to control the spread of coronavirus by observing health precaution prescribed by MOHW such as having a limited number of students and staff in the campus, which is done by encouraging working from home, sanitizing and screening at entrance and exit points as well as extreme social distancing. The university has also responded to the plea by the government to help in the fight against the pandemic by donating P150,000 in total to the Covid-19 national relief fund and continue to make an effort to educate as well as encourage its students and staff to follow health precautions as well as initiatives that could help them to succeed during the scourge and beyond.
As another milestone, Botho University will be the first institution in Botswana to conduct a fully virtual graduation ceremony for the 2019 graduates on 10th July 2020.