In the last decade, Rwanda (in East Africa) has seen a rapid expansion of basic education, with a greater focus on ICT in education and the transition from French to English taught classes. With these changes the country is also seeing a demand for more skilled teachers.
To meet this education expansion and growth, the Government of Rwanda began a number of activities, including the School Based Mentorship Program (SBMP).
Together with FHI 360 – a nonprofit human development organisation dedicated to improving lives through health, education, technology and many more focuses – and with USAID fundings, the Government launched the Mentoring Community of Practice Project (MCOP) to support SBMP.
The project offers English language and pedagogical support to teachers through a school-based mentoring initiative.
MCOP uses online technology to directly connect mentors with peers, giving them access to a library of resources and strategies to help promote effective learning and teaching.
The team at MCOP have been working with the Online Community of Practice platform (TCOP), to moderate and support the mentors through the online forum and enhance teachers’ knowledge and skills in pedagogy and the English language.
Identifying the need to also provide a certified course, MCOP launched the “Continuous Professional Development Diploma Online Course in Foundations of Reading”, using Moodle.
The TCOP is built on a Content Management System (CMS) platform which, although powerful, was not designed to suit the needs of the project, such as running an online class with student management features.
The project leadership recognised that they needed to find a cost-effective online platform to run alongside it.
It was identified that they needed a Learning Management System (LMS) that, amongst other functionalities, will allow them to run a course for educators, completely online.
After discovering that the University of Rwanda and the Rwanda Education Board used Moodle, MCOP decided to try the Moodle platform to build and deliver their course.
Deputy Director and Head of Technology for the MCOP, Ildephonse Bikino, commented that Moodle’s affordability, sustainability and usability are key factors in MCOP’s decision to use Moodle as the learning platform for their course.
Moodle’s compatibility with SCORM files also positively influenced the decisions.
Following his research and the webinars, he implemented the following Moodle features to be used within the course:
- Management of students’ courses. Teachers were able to add resources and activities for their students to complete. Students were also able to be enrolled manually by the teacher or automatically by the administrator.
- Online quizzes. Teachers were able to design and build quizzes consisting of a large variety of question types.
- Tracking student activities. By enabling completion tracking in their sites, teachers were able to see which activities their students had completed using a checkbox.
- Grade results. Teachers were able to see the date and time the quiz was started, when it was completed, the time taken and the final results.
The Continuous Professional Development Diploma Online Course in Foundations of Reading in Kinyarwanda was build into Moodle and publicly launched in February 2017.
The initial response from participants was that Moodle is user friendly. Teachers and students also commented that they found it easy to become familiar with their courses as only the features needed to enhance their learning were included. This resulted in participants completing their assignments within the time frame.
To date, a total of 148 primary teachers have completed the Continuous Professional Development Diploma Online Course in Foundations of Reading in Kinyarwanda, which is delivered using the Moodle platform.
MCOP is now currently working to connect more Rwandan teachers to the course, so that they can empower their country’s educators to improve our world by providing quality education to students and learners all around the country.
For more information about the project or to get involved and be updated on the progress of the project:
Visit the FHI 360/MCOP website: https://www.fhi360.org/
Visit the TCOP ECourse: http://www.education.rw/ecourse/
Visit the Online teacher Community of Practice Platform http://www.tcop.education.rw
Or follow @RwandaTCOP on Twitter.