Enhancing course materials in Maun, Botswana

Reading Time: 4 min read

Open schooling involves using open and distance learning (ODL) methods to provide learning opportunities for students unable to access traditional brick-and-mortar provision or who dropped out of the traditional system. Appropriately designed learning materials are an essential component of quality ODL provision, and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) provides extensive support for materials development processes to long-standing partners like Botswana Open University (BOU), as well as new partners at both institutional and ministerial levels.

Dr Tommie Hamaluba, Subject Specialist and Programme Developer at BOU, who recently facilitated a materials development “boot camp” for BOU course developers in Maun, explained that the training was about “enhancing our Senior Secondary School Hospitality & Tourism and Accounting for our Moodle Portal with cutting-edge audio and video lessons.”

Dr Tony Mays, who leads COL’s Open Schooling initiative, observed that materials development is an iterative process,  partly because of the need to address a wide variety of needs – learners and teachers with limited or no devices for whom the curriculum must be mediated through printed materials or basic digital materials which can be downloaded at a Wi-Fi-enabled centre; learners and teachers with limited internet, but with higher-end devices, which can play supplementary audio and video files which can be downloaded at a Wi-Fi-enabled centre; and learners and teachers who have both high-end devices and access to reliable and affordable internet, for whom fully online interactive courses can be provided.

Dr Mays went on to explain that the initial version of the learning materials must ensure the curriculum is covered in text and graphics for the least provisioned users. Other media can then be added to enrich the content. “Another reason for an iterative approach is that open schools typically contract classroom teachers on a part-time basis for content development, tutoring and assessment. Such teachers often do not have experience with curriculum and content development, ODL, or open educational resources, nor do they know how to infuse issues of gender and inclusivity into such approaches. Therefore, a continuous process of revision and renewal is needed.”

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now