Digital university takes shape

A first assessment of Côte d’Ivoire’s national digital university, Université Numérique de Côte d’Ivoire or UNCI, has taken place, with plans to launch a teacher-training programme for the production of open online courses in September.

The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, or AUF, which began developing French-language digital campuses in 1990, is helping the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to develop UNCI, which was established in December 2014.

The aims of the new institution are to improve the quality of higher education by production of innovative courses; update the system with new teaching methods through information and communication technologies; and increase the number of courses to cater for the exponential growth in student numbers due to open distance education. The AUF’s plan includes:
  • • Training teachers to create appropriate courses from a selection of its online programmes, including both those that are free and those that charge and lead to a diploma.
  • • Setting up a ‘MOOC factory’ to film massive open online courses, and train teachers to produce them.
  • • Devising a course for students in computerisation and the internet.
The first UNCI assessment was carried out in January by Professor Jemaiël Ben Brahim, director of the West African bureau of the AUF.

It entailed a presentation of more than 4,000 educational resources corresponding to 3,000 hours of coursework; visits to universities, particularly institutions connected to the Ivorian telecommunications network for education and research, and multimedia facilities for distance education; and designation of an area at University Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan for recording courses on video and for digitisation of educational materials.

The next stage is to train teachers and students to use the new methods, says the AUF. For this, it is about to launch an international call for applicants to produce MOOC coursework for its ‘Certice’ – certification for ICT skills for education – programme which is due to start in September.

Bernard Cerquiglini, director of the AUF, said the partnership between the Côte d’Ivoire government and the agency was in line with the support AUF had given to universities during reconstruction of the country.

“This project is decisive for the development of the Ivorian system of higher education. It is the outcome of the digital investment that has taken place over a long time, in Côte d’Ivoire as well as the AUF,” said Cerquiglini.

This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.