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Workshop on Open and Distance Learning Policy for UESD

A two-day Capacity Building Workshop on the development of an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) Policy has been held for forty-one (41) Teaching and Administrative staff members of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD) in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL, UK). The forty-one (41) participants were made up of thirty (31) Lecturers and ten (10) Administrators including the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson, and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Edward Wiafe Debrah.

The workshop, held on the 4th and 5th of April 2024 at Somanya Royal Hotel was highly interactive and was aimed to equip the participants with knowledge and skills to develop an institutional ODL Policy that is aligned with UESD’s Mission and Vision. It also discussed key issues to be considered in developing and implementing ODL policy.

Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson

In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor indicated that UESD aspires to attract students from all over the world, especially the working class who may not get the opportunity to attend regular school, as open university operations are growing. He underscored the need for the ODL policy to grow with the young University and applauded Mrs. Rose Nandara Faanu, Head of Human Resources of UESD for facilitating the collaboration with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) for the workshop.

The Registrar of UESD, Mrs. Mary Abena Agyepong commended the organisers of the workshop for putting together the programme and urged participants to actively contribute to deliberations.

On day one, the Consultant, Prof. Samuel Amposah, focused on the overview of ODL in the 21st Century in Higher Education, the need for ODL at UESD, and Justification for ODL at UESD. The Consultant discussed different concepts relating to ODL with participants to equip them with a profound comprehension of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) including its principles, benefits, challenges, and global best practices, and facilitate the collaborative construction of a complete institutional ODL policy. Other topics included policy development processes, outlines of key stages, and relevant stakeholders in ODL policy development and implementation. Seven groups were formed to work on different sections of the policy, facilitating a guided discussion to co-create the ODL vision and mission statements, aligning them with the institutional vision and mission, and group presentation on group work.

Day two of the workshop focused on the following topics: understanding the ODL Policy Development Process; Essential Elements of ODL Policy; Integrating Quality Assurance Mechanisms and Standards into ODL Policy Development; Review of Sample Policies; Workshop Evaluation and Networking.

Seven groups were tasked to work on different sessions of a draft ODL Policy for UESD in preparation for its finalization during the second phase of the workshop in May 2024.

At the end of the two-day workshop, the participants collectively agreed that an ODL for UESD is necessary. In separate interviews, the participants described the workshop as informative and educative and came at a perfect time for the university to develop the best policy and strategies to enable more students in the world of work, rural, and remote areas to access education more conveniently.

In his closing remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eric Nyarko-Sampson expressed appreciation to the Consultant for the remarkable way and passion with which he handled the workshop. The Vice-Chancellor concluded his remarks with the following statement, “if we have an ODL Policy, it will cut a path for us and we will work with few challenges.’’

The Consultant, Prof. Samuel Amponsah, stated that the level of participation has been great, and he looked forward to a solid draft proposal from participants for finalisation during the next phase of the workshop.

The Head of the Academic Planning and Quality Assurance Unit, Dr. Richard Amfo-Otu who coordinated the workshop thanked participants for their active participation.