KENET Web Conference Platform Transforms Online Learning Experience
Online learning has become integral to teaching models in universities lately. The sudden shift has been attributed to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The shift to online learning and teaching is expected to persist post the pandemic as majority of learners and teachers will have acquired requisite skills for and adopted to this mode of delivery. In response to the growing demand for remote teaching and resultant platform and Internet accessibility, whose mandate is to transform learning using ICT, offered a free web conferencing platform to its member institutions.
The KENET web conference platform runs on BigBlueButton open source software and supports real-time sharing of audio, video, slides (with whiteboard controls), chat, and the screen. The platform is interactive as it allows instructors to engage remotely with students using polls, emojis, multi-user whiteboard, and breakout rooms. The platform can also be used for group collaboration and remote teaching.
Many Universities have reported successful transition to online learning and are touting the benefits: Dr Muchelule, a Lecturer at JKUAT
who has been using the KENET Web Conference Platform to teach his students says, “It has changed the way of teaching. As one of the key users of KENET Web conference platform, I can confirm that there are many features that are amazingly effective for learning in a virtual classroom. Besides the whiteboard, markers and annotators there are also Breakout Rooms. This is essential for interactive learning. We have not had any challenges, maybe because of the proper training that we received from the KENET team’’. He concluded by thanking KENET for the service.
The digital shift has suddenly thrust universities’ ICT departments to the forefront of managerial attention. Mr. Murimi, ICT Director at the University of Embu, is now playing a direct role in the institution’s Online Learning Initiative (OLI). To achieve their goal in online learning the institution resorted to use the KENET Web conference platform. He says “We needed a reliable audio and video conferencing platform to use for our meetings and online classes and the KENET Web conference platform has sorted us out perfectly. It is easy to implement, use, and administrate and has offered a better experience. The chat, shared notes and sharing an external video feature to the sessions work seamlessly whilst delivering to a wide audience. There is also an option to record- that is quite useful if team members are unavailable to attend”.
The KENET Web conference platform has made concerted effort to provide a platform that goes beyond replicating a physical class and lecture through video capabilities, instead, using a range of collaboration tools and engagement methods that promote interaction, inclusion and personalization all which bring effectiveness on online learning.