Welcome to the first issue of the IDE Newsletter in 2022. This issue is published as we continue to entrench our online learning systems at the Institute of Distance Education. One sure way of institutionalising digital teaching and learning is by developing the capacity of the course instructors. Hence this issue of the IDE Newsletter foregrounds professional development through open, distance and e-learning. Knowledge, skills and expertise in teaching and learning should be developed in line with the digital age. It is the responsibility of individual course instructors to ensure that they possess relevant skills in order to remain relevant.
The Institute developed and launched the Certificate in Online Teaching for Educators (COTE). As covered in this issue, the COTE is an important short course meant to enhance the capacity of course instructors in online teaching. The course equips participants with a variety of skills in online instructional design, digital learning material development, online facilitation and assessment. Acquiring these skills positions course instructors to successfully navigate virtual learning spaces for enhanced online learning experiences for the learners. In imparting knowledge and skills in the COTE programme, we value theorising issues by embracing contemporary theories and frameworks which inform teaching and learning in the digital age.
Furthermore, course participants learn by practising what they learn, hence the provision of numerous opportunities for active engagement on Moodle, UNESWA’s Learning Management System.
COTE has been a very popular course judging from the number of applicants and successful completers of the course. More than two hundred participants (200) have successfully gone through the six-week intensive and rigorous online course and are now proud holders of the Certificate in Online Teaching for Educators, with the capacity to deliver meaningful online courses. We also applaud the Eswatini Communications Commission (ESCCOM) for sponsoring twenty special education needs’ practitioners who successfully completed the COTE course. A number of educators at different levels of the education system in Eswatini and beyond the country’s borders have successfully participated in the COTE course. The COTE has buttressed the beauty of online learning as flexible, cost-effective and convenient for the learners.
As reported in this issue staff members from the Institute of Distance Education and the Computer Science department conducted a week-long workshop for special education needs’ educators at the Pigg’s Peak Hotel, courtesy of ESCCOM sponsorship.
We appreciate the partnership between UNESWA and ESCCOM, and the assistance extended to staff members from the Ministry of Education and Training in developing capacity to utilise technology for inclusive teaching and learning.
Enjoy this newsletter!
The Institute of Distance Education provides educational and training opportunities for individuals who are unable to undertake conventional and professional university programmes and courses.