International Centre for Higher Education Innovation
under the auspices of UNESCO

IIOE Global Partnership Webinar successfully held

June 10, 2020
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On June 8, 2020, IIOE Global Partnership Webinar was successfully held by International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI). Mr. LI Ming, Director of ICHEI and Secretary-General of the IIOE Secretariat, Ms. HAN Wei, Executive Deputy Director of ICHEI and Deputy Secretary-General of the IIOE Secretariat, and other members of ICHEI attended the webinar in the International Meeting Hall of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech). Other guests who joined the event online include deputies from UNESCO Headquarters and regional offices, Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Education Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality, and ICHEI’s Asian and African partner higher education institutions (HEIs), domestic partner enterprises and HEIs.

The main page of the webinar

The webinar was chaired by Mr. Lim Cher Ping, Chief Expert of IIOE, Visiting Professor of Center for Higher Education Research of SUSTech, Chair Professor of Learning Technologies and Innovation of the Education University of Hong Kong.

During the opening ceremony, Mr. DU Yue, Director of Division for Cooperation, Intersectoral Follow-Up and Partnership of Africa Department, UNESCO, mentioned that African countries have huge demands in quality higher education. He delivered heartfelt appreciation for ICHEI and IIOE’s contributions to ICT related education in the developing countries. Mr. ZHOU Jiagui, Deputy Secretary-General of Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, said that Chinese Natcom would actively support the development of IIOE. He hoped that IIOE could focus on users’ needs to strengthen international communication and seek progress while maintaining stability to turn the excellent experience, practices and achievements into a management system. Mr. ZHAO Li, Deputy Director of the Education Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality added that with the joint efforts of ICHEI and all partners, IIOE was launched on April 2 as scheduled during the pandemic. He looked forward to sketching out a way of developing online education during the pandemic and in the post-pandemic era. Mr. LU Chun, Vice President of SUSTech and Deputy Director of ICHEI said that SUSTech provided a dozen of online courses on different subjects to IIOE and helped IIOE boost online education during the pandemic.

Opening speeches

Then, Professor LI Ming reported on IIOE’s operation across the board. According to the statistics, after two months of operation, the number of IIOE platform visits reached 5721, covering more than 120 countries and regions around the world, of which 51% were from mobile terminals and 47% from web visits. During the outbreak of COVID-19, IIOE organized a series of trainings on the theme of university management and teaching during the pandemic. So far, IIOE has organized 9 online trainings successively, and 1756 people from 233 institutions/agencies in 46 countries participated in the trainings, half of which came from the 11 IIOE co-initiating partner institutions.

Report by Prof. LI Ming

When it came to the Case Sharing section, ICHEI’s Asian and African partner HEIs introduced their own practices in a fine-grained way including how to use IIOE and smart classrooms effectively. In Ain Shams University, Egypt, during COVID-19 crisis, Smart Classroom Utilization Workshop was implemented, and recording of lectures for students started from March 18th and continued till the end of the semester on May 21st. The outcome was 54 video lectures for 18 instructors in 18 different courses that were viewed by more than 17,000 students. In University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, since 2017, staff capacity building/orientation was proved very useful. UoC’s quick response makes itself remain top rank in the country. UoC will continue to participate in the upcoming IIOE trainings.  Mongolian University of Science and Technology, Mongolia, is going to transfer existing OER and MOOCs in Mongolian language to the IIOE with English subtitle, adapt MOOCs & OERs from IIOE platform and enhance ICT and language skills of MUST teachers through IIOE platform. Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, initiated discussions on establishing a Content Distribution Network (CDN) hub in Nigeria. They have had 179 applications for registration on the IIOE platform.

Case sharing by representatives of partner HEIs

In Royal University of Phnom Penh, the launch and training of Weidong Smart Classroom was finished in February. During the COVID-19 crisis, departments and HEIs including the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) used the smart classroom to record courses. In the University of Djibouti, the teachers’ and students’ reaction to the smart classroom is enthusiastic and intuitive. The potential utilisation of the smart classroom includes untapped potential, other academic disciplines, teleconferencing, MOOCs, and interuniversity cooperation. As the first-ever partner HEI that has the smart classroom launched, the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan, proposed a “Smart Classroom: One Year Plan”, with the target of providing 100 university degree courses for undergraduate/ graduate students, organizing workshops on disruptive technologies for 500 students and professionals, etc. The University of Nairobi, Kenya, plans to develop a policy to require students to have access to a laptop on joining the University for online learning “Bring Your Own Device”, and valuate the needs and requirements for staff and students to support continuous online learning and teaching beyond Covid-19.

Case sharing by representatives of partner HEIs

Partner enterprises and institutions that provided course resources and technological support to IIOE also came up with their experiences. Huawei set teacher training centers in partner institutions and cooperated with IIOE partners to support local courseware development. It planned to produce over 100 online courses, certify 1,500 teachers and train 50,000 students this year.  Weidong Cloud Education donated several smart classrooms for partner institutions including Pakistan, Cambodia, Egypt, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Sri Lanka, laying a rock-solid foundation for them to implement IIOE initiative. CreateView Edu-Tech actively participated in ICHEI’s project “Digital Education Link” and also built smart classrooms for institutions in 6 less developed countries along the Belt and Road Initiative so as to galvanize growth of online education in these countries. Jiker not only provided core technical support and solutions on online education for the IIOE program, but also established a multi-terminal online learning platform for IIOE by leveraging its rich experience in this field and technical strength in professional capacity building accumulated for years. Thus IIOE has fulfilled the requirement of users, who would like to learn at any time anywhere. Jiker introduced the ability assessment mechanism, using quantitative indicators to evaluate, guide and reflect the process of improving the teacher’s ability. CIO Times offered its curriculum to IIOE for development and training of digital competences, including Application of Enterprise Big Data, Big Data Analysis of E-commerce, Big Data Analysis of E-commerce.  Shenzhen Polytechnic, as a supplier of courses, provided 7 ICT related courses to IIOE, including 4G&5G Mobile Communication System, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. It will provide more quality teaching resources to the platform of IIOE.  Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology also cooperated with IIOE and provided a series of courses including Competition-driven Application of Artificial Intelligence, Android Application Development Foundation, Basic Java Programming.

Case sharing by course providers

Then, Professor Lim Cher Ping elaborated on IIOE teacher ICT-related professional development and certification, and provided suggestions on the ICT capacity growth to teachers in partner institutions. Professor Lim Cher Ping introduced the framework from three dimensions: Competencies for Online and Blended Teaching and Learning (OBTL), Competencies for ICT-enabled Administration and Management, and Competencies for Emerging ICT in Industries and Higher Education Teaching and Learning. Teachers need to acquire Certificate of Evaluation of ICT-enabled Teaching and Learning, Certificate of Big Data in Higher Education, and Certificate of Artificial Intelligence in Higher Education, etc.

Speech by Prof. Lim Cher Ping

Mr. ZHAN Tao, Director of UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE) said ICT was increasingly significant in education against the backdrop of COVID-19 raging through the world. Mr. WANG Libing, Chief of Section for Educational Innovation and Skills Development, UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education also put emphasis on the importance of ICT and commended IIOE’s arduous efforts in this field.

Speeches by Mr. ZHAN Tao and Mr. WANG Libing

In the webinar, Mr. ZHAO Jianhua, Senior Expert of UNESCO-ICHEI, Deputy Director of Center for Higher Education Research of SUSTech, showed Guidance for Online Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic to the guests. When touching upon the contents and features of each volume, he also said that these books would provide targeted guidance and help to different stakeholders in online teaching, including students, teachers, technology provider, platform operator, parents, communities, presidents and managers of institutions.

Introduction of the Guidance by Prof. ZHAO Jianhua

Last but not least, Mr. Peter Wells, Chief of Section for Higher Education, UNESCO summarized many partner countries’ practices in the speeches and pointed out that the online learning and teaching was not only an expedient to the pandemic but also a prelude for the digital transformation in education that every higher education institution should steel itself for it.

Conclusion by Mr. Peter Wells

As a flagship project of ICHEI, International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) has served as a platform for teachers’ ICT capacity training in Asian and African partner institutions since it was launched on April 2nd. During the pandemic, teachers record MOOCs in smart classrooms and ameliorate their ICT capacity by learning courses in IIOE, thus allaying the repercussions of school closures due to the pandemic. As more countries gradually attach importance to online education, IIOE will deliver tangible benefits to more developing countries by helping them build a normalized online education and achieve their digital transformation.