Africa Centre of Excellence for Technology Enhanced Learning (ACETEL) domiciled in National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) focuses its research on digitalization of learning in postgraduate programmes using open and distance learning mode. The adoption of open and distance learning is to increase access to education and to improve capacity in digital development in order to take advantage of the affordances of digital technologies. Therefore, a new digital approach has to evolve to improve learning activities of university learners, especially, at postgraduate level.
The aim of research in the Centre is to examine the Information technology needs in the education space with application to public sector; and to develop digital software learning tools which will build digital capacity for learning, skill acquisition and research.
Specifically, the objectives of the research are to:
The resources needed by the Centre are software/virtual/electronic research laboratories, digital multimedia equipment and materials (computers, projectors, screen, camera etc.) software developers, and learning technologists in order to support research areas.
Specifically, the research will focus on:
Within the four years of funding the Centre, researches will be accomplished in phases as stated below:
Preliminary research survey which involves identifying digital technology gaps and needs in both the education and public space
Designing digital research technology learning tools to meet identified needs in phase 1 will be based on specific research areas.
Developing digital software learning tools.
Trial testing of research digital software learning tools to ensure appropriateness and effectiveness.
Modifying research digital software learning tools and making the instruments ready for applications to education and public sector
Education sector: Utilization of the digital learning software tools to find out the learners’ academic achievement, information technology skills and dispositions to learning.
Application of the software learning tools to deliver the content of courses undertaken by students.
The Centre utilises computer professionals at the Department of Computer Science, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Unit, Management Information System (MIS) Unit and educational researchers from the Faculty of Education. Beside these academics and researchers, the Centre also collaborate with other professionals and educational researchers in other universities in Nigeria and beyond. The graduate students in the Centre will be involved as research assistants, and in the process, acquire research skills. The University Management has marked office space for the research section of the Centre. It is anticipated that ICT facilities which are not presently available will be purchased when the funds are released by the World Bank. Our partners will be involved in the research process and development in the areas of learning software design, development and data collection from various universities. International research networks and collaborators include: Open University, UK, the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE), University of West England, Bristol, African Virtual University, Nairobi, and African Council for Distance Education (ACDE).
The report of the studies will be published in national and international journals. Lecturers and Deans of Postgraduate Schools from various universities in Nigeria and West African sub-region will be invited by the Centre to a workshop to exhibit the digital software learning tools and how they work. Similarly, relevant bodies will be invited for the workshop. The complete learning tools will be achieved in electronic portfolio of the Centre. Patency and copy right protection will be placed on each of the digital software learning tools to protect the learning products from unauthorized usage. The revenue generation on research would be modelled on sales and training fees of digital software learning tools. The National Open University of Nigeria has research policy document that spells out ethics, data integrity and results dissemination.