IIOE was launched online to build an ecosystem of joint contribution and shared benefitsApril 20, 2020
As COVID-19 sweeps through many countries worldwide, schools in most countries are confronted with unprecedented challenges in education and teaching. To support developing countries to mitigate the adverse impacts of school closures, on April 2nd 2020, the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) was co-launched on cloud by the International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI) and 11 partner higher education institutions (HEIs) in Africa and Asia-Pacific, and 4 HEIs and 8 high-tech enterprises in China.
In the past three years, UNESCO-ICHEI has worked closely with universities in developing countries in Asia-pacific and Africa, and found that the biggest challenge for these institutions is the lack of quality learning resources, especially ICT related resources. Based on need analysis, IIOE determine to focus on cultivating teachers’ ICT application ability. The course is divided into 3 categories: Discipline-related courses, Technical and vocational education and training courses and Teacher professional development courses. By providing cutting-edge ICT related quality online courses and teachers’ professional development opportunities, IIOE aims to improve access and quality of higher education in developing countries.
So far, more than 130 courses in Chinese, English and French have been brought together on the IIOE platform. The courses cover cloud computing, big data, IoT, AI, block chain, intelligent robotics, digital image processing, machine recognition vision, e-commerce, enterprise certification, application of ICT in teaching and other fields. The first batch of courses mainly come from Chinese universities and enterprises. In the future, the platform will bring together more courses from partner HEIs to create an ecosystem of joint contribution and shared benefits, integrating and producing more locally tailored courses.
Additionally, IIOE has designed a quality assurance framework and mechanism for online learning to guide partner HEIs in developing and implementing high-quality courses. It also provides ICT assessment tools for teachers to evaluate learning results, and conducts online and offline professional development training for key teachers in partner institutions. “Expertise and experience would have been gained from running some of the programmes and in developing online versions of courses/modules offered for the conventional programmes. When expertise has been developed, some of these programs can be extended to disadvantaged local entities to enhance their abilities of acquiring basic IT skills”, said Muhammed Bashir Mu’azu, Head of Department of Computer Engineering, Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria.
Over the next five years, IIOE plans to expand to more countries, providing more high-quality online course resources, and professional trainings for teachers in partner HEIs which serves to train more ICT-related cutting-edge talents in developing countries to support their own economic development. At a time of uncertainty and new challenges, we encourage more institutions and enterprises from China and other countries to join IIOE and provide rich online course resources for teachers in developing countries, and support colleges and universities in developing countries in Asia and Africa to carry out online teaching.