Learners Support Services
We welcome you to the web pages of the Directorate of Learner Support Services, National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN. The main focus of the Learner Support Services, LSS, in NOUN is to help learners maximise the gains, and the purposes of their studentship in all ramifications. We are set up to help learners go through their education at the university with the most minimal difficulties and concerns and to support all categories of learners as they try to go up the educational ladder, thus ensuring that they put forth their very best. This includes getting students develop a sense of belonging to the university, the pride of been university students, cultivating a sense of direction and becoming self motivated to do their work the best they can and going on to graduation at the shortest possible time. We implore you to go carefully through our pages so as to become familiar with what we do, how we do it and our expectations in doing what we do. Please ask us questions, send your suggestions to us, get to know us better and support us to support you to enable us jointly reach the following goals we had set for ourselves:
- Publicise and provide usable information about NOUN.
- Facilitate student learning.
- Provide tutoring and instructional facilitation for students willing to benefit from such.
- Provide multimedia resources and facilities to support student learning
- Run workshops and conduct seminars on learning strategies and related issues
- Help all learners on matters pertaining to time management, study habits, self-understanding etc all geared towards learning without tears at the university.
- Serve as the bridge between the university and all learners by providing advocacy services.
- Provide personal psychological counseling and guidance in all required dimensions.
- Provide vocational guidance and careers development counseling to all students.
- Provide required support for students with challenges.
- Help students develop side-line capacities needed and useful in enhancing their success at the university.
- Help the general public understand better the concept, philosophy and practices of Open and Distance Learning, ODL.
- Help provide support for supporters across the university.
Learner Support Services came on board as a major arm of the National Open University of Nigeria at inception in 2003. It started as a Unit, but later came to become a Directorate. At the National Open University of Nigeria, an extensive and comprehensive learner support services has been established. It is administered through the Director and his support staff at the Headquarters. The human resources under the director include Study Centre Directors, Student Counsellors and Instructional cum Tutorial Facilitators. A number of ICT staff from a sister Directorate in the University also co-operate with Learner Support Services by providing support services as Knowledge Management Technologists. Yet another Unit, the Visitors Information and Call Centre, VICC, also provides robust information to all callers between the hours of 8.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. Plans are on hand to make services at the centre a 24 X 7 one as well as provide manned chat services for immediate chats and information to clients.
The Directorate, as of now, is made up of:
• Staff in the Headquarters
• Study Centre Directors
• Student Counsellors
• Instructional Facilitators
• We also have the Special Study Centres responsible for providing university education through ODL to the military and para-military organizations; incarcerated individuals in the prisons; women in purdah and individuals residing in difficult terrains and hazardous places across the nation.
The Directorate is headed by a Director who is in charge of the affairs and activities of the other six sub-units of the Directorate with each being headed by a deputy director. Also, there is a Coordinator who sees to the administration of the Special Study Centers of the University in the directorate.The six sub-units are:
This unit is in charge of coordinating the work and activities of the Instructional Facilitators and monitor and supervise matters pertaining to tutoring, TMAs, creation of Learning Circles; matters pertaining to learning habits, and related issues, change of programmes etc.
Vocational Guidance and Career Development Services
This unit is charged with responsibilities for helping learners make needed choices, providing required information services, counseling and on careers related issues
Psycho-social counseling services
This unit deals with matters pertaining to individual and psycho-social issues, orientation, running groups, developmental matters, motivational groups, sensitisation to success and all related matters.
This unit is charged with handling matters relating to special study centres, counseling and relating with special populations including the challenged peoples, following up on their special study materials, linking up with other units of the university to ensure that special arrangements are provided for their orientation, studies, examinations
Capacity and Human Development
This unit handles matters pertaining to workshops, in-service and in-house training for counselors, enhancing their capacity and how to provide support for other support givers within the system, training counselors on the conduct of seminars, workshops, etc for students and staff and the public,
On-line Support Services.
This unit handles on-line support services, training counselors to counsel on-line, facilitators to tutor on-line and students to use and benefit from on-line platforms and LMS, helping students to maximize the benefits of on-line services etc. It coordinates migration of courses on line and monitors the maintenance of on-line courses etc as advised by the web master.
To be seen, and regarded as Supportive people, providing Support Services, playing Supportive roles, within supportive Structures to help Open and Distance Learners adjust to academic life in most painless manner to achieve their academic ambition within Open and Distance Learning environment.
Provide a non-time bound academic and socio-psychological service to students and staff of the University as well as provide usable information, to the entire public on the National Open University of Nigeria
Learner Support Services is one of the non-academic Directorates in the National Open University of Nigeria. There are six Departments.
COMPONENTS OF LEARNER SUPPORT SERVICES IN NOUN
A. Office of the Director
B. Study Centre Managers’ affairs unit
C. Student Counsellors’ affairs unit
D. Tutorial facilitators’ affairs unit
E. Special Study Coordinating Unit
F. General administration
The six sub-units earlier described operate across the various departments.
The Directorate, as of now, is made up of staff in the National Open University of Nigeria Headquarters and study centres:
FUNCTIONS OF THE DIRECTOR, LEARNER SUPPORT SERVICES
Among other things the general functions of the Director, and others include but are not limited to the following:
a) General administration of how Support Services for students are planned, packaged and made available to learners at the study centres and the NOUN Headquarters
b) keeping of records on learner support services rendered as obtained from the Study Centres and Headquarters
c) Monitoring of the functions of Study Centre Managers and the Students Counsellors and Headquarters to ensure that their activities conform with the Open University standard
d) Works with the staff in the Directorate to plan, organise and hold:
I. induction/Workshop for Managers and Student counsellors
II. workshop/seminars quarterly for the Study Centre staff to keep the abreast of the University’s programmes
e) General management of all staff and materials within the Learner Support Services Directorate
f) Attends meeting regularly as a member Committees of Deans and Directors and the University Senate
g) Visit the Study Centre periodically with a view to ensure that the way the Counsellors and Study Centre Managers discharge their duties roles and responsibilities conform with the expectations of the Open University Management
FUNCTIONS OF THE COORDINATOR OF SPECIAL STUDY CENTRES
a) Plays leading role in the establishment of Special Study Centres across the country
b) Plans, packages and makes available the nature of services that can be available to learners in the Special Study Centre
c) Monitors the activities of the Study Centre Managers and Counsellors who are in the Special Centres
d) Visits the Special Study Centre periodically with a view to ensuring that Study Centre staff follow the University rules and regulation in the services they render
e) Attends relevant meetings with the Senior Management and the Senate with a view to discussing issues that concern the Special study centres
f) Be involved in the day to day administration of the Special study centres
g) Receives information about study materials and their distribution to the special study centres within the period required
FUNCTIONS OF THE STUDY CENTRE MANAGERS’ AFFAIRS UNIT
a) Takes part in preparing and providing detailed information on how to organise and conduct orientation services for new students of NOUN
b) Takes part in preparing, organising and holding induction workshops for the Student Counsellors and Centre Managers
c) Takes part in preparing, organising and holding refresher courses for the Student Counsellors and Centre Managers regularly
d) Gathers relevant information from units in the University and sends as required to the Study Centre
e) Answers enquires routinely from students, who decide to visit the NOUN Headquarters and those who want to join the University
f) Communicates to the Study Centre Managers current information from the Headquarters bothering on the administration of the Study Centre
g) Represents the Directorate on academic board of School of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, Science and Technology and Centre for Life Long Learning and Workplace training
FUNCTIONS OF THE STUDENT COUNSELLOR AFFAIRS UNIT
a) Renders guidance services particularly by providing academic information and counselling to students who come to the Headquarters and other members of the public who seek information on how NOUN is operated
b) Disseminating to the Students Counsellors at the Study Centres as quickly as possible by mobile phone and internet any relevant and current information that would enhance their job performance
c) Collecting, receiving and writing excerpt from weekly reports sent from the Study Centres which the Directorates presents to the CDD, and Management committee and the Senate
d) Provides referral services to students or members of the public who require academic and administrative intervention by sending them to the relevant units or staff of the University.
e) Keeping in constant touch with students on phone and sometimes face to face by providing counselling on how to wriggle out of difficulties and sole related proles in their studies.
f) provides on-line personal, social and academic support to students
g) Regularly attends meeting on behalf of the Directorate with the Directorate of Examination
h) Takes part in preparing, organising and holding workshop for student and Centre Managers quarterly
FUNCTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AFFAIRS - OFFICER
a) Receiving of mails on behalf of the Directorate
b) Updating information coming to the Directorate
c) Drafting of letters for administrative replies
d) Preparing of the Directorate’ requisitions and collecting of all needed materials for the Directorate
e) Taking charge of all Directorate documents and making sure that all mails are properly filed
f) Taking down of minutes during meetings
g) Administers the enquiry form on the students who have reported to the Directorate with complaints
h) Carrying out all other Registry related functions
FUNCTIONS OF THE SECRETARY
a) Typing and preparing letters, notes etc. regularly from the Director, Learner Support Services and the Coordinator of Special Study Centre
b) Typing and printing all the Directorate document
c) Receiving all electronic messages from the Study Centres
d) Sending electronic messages as required through the internet to the Study Centre managers and Student Counsellors
a) Filing all mails as directed by the Administrative officer
b) Despatching mail to all units of the University
FUNCTIONS, ROLES AND DUTIES OF THE STUDY CENTRE MANAGER
? In charge of the day to day administration of the centre and regularly liaise with the headquarters through the Directorate of Learner Support Services on matters relating to the distribution of instructional materials to distance learners and instructional facilitators.
? Participates in the recruitment, training and supervision of part-time tutors and makes sure that there are adequate facilitators for courses on offer at the centre
? Plans ,coordinates and executes of tutorial facilitations at the centre
? Gives one day induction workshop or talk on facilitation in ODL to the facilitators before the commencement of facilitation
? Provides a time -table for facilitation
? Makes sure that there are available classrooms, laboratories for theory and practical lessons
? Supervises and monitors regularly the work of the facilitators involved in NOUN programmes delivery at the study centre
? keeps daily attendance of facilitators; that is each facilitator must sign the attendance register after each facilitation session
? Makes sure that the course materials are available to both students and facilitators promptly
? Provides library facilities and resource materials at the centre. Where not possible he liaises with the host institution or neighbouring higher institution whereby NOUN students can have access to the resource materials
? Provides common room or rest rooms for the facilitators
? keeps the records of all the Tutor Mark Assignment and examinations at the centre
? Supervises the marking of examinations at the centre
? Devises a means of regularly monitor the conduct of each facilitator
? Monitors the turn-around of Tutor Marked Assignments and tutorials.
? Coordinates the use, by distance learners the multimedia information and communication technology available at the Study Centre.
? Liaises with course developers, examiners, assessors and advisory groups within the locality of the Study Centre
? Ensures that the contact sessions and tutorial lecture periods in the centres are problem free and adequately well arranged.
THE ROLES OF STUDENT COUNSELLORS
? Provides regular guidance and counselling with respect to several aspects of their studies including enrolment, choice of programmes and courses, when and how to study, and when to seek for special clinic for academic guidance.
? keeps in constant touch with distance learners and to provide early warning signals regarding difficulty with studies in order for prompt remedial actions to be taken by the University, distance learner and other related service providers
? Guides distance learners in the selection of and registration of programme and courses of study at the National Open University
? Devises, develops and manages student database for the purpose of providing counselling and guidance services;
? Liaises with study centre manager and with the NOUN headquarters regarding counselling, examination and assignment related matters.
? Delivers by hand to learners study materials as they register for their courses at the study centre
? Assists the centre manager in preparing facilitation time -table
? Facilitates courses such as Study Skills and The Good Study Guide
? Takes attendance during facilitation and monitors attendance of every student
? Administers Tutor Marked Assignments on the students and submits the scripts to the facilitators concerned and collects the marked scripts from the facilitators for onward distribution to the students after recording the scores
? Keeps records of students assignments, type of work done, when assignment is due, when submitted , how many students have or have not submitted assignments etc
? Maintains and communicates up-to-date information about the learners’ progress, and any special needs to other support staff.
? Invigilates examinations at the centre
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF TUTORIAL/INSTRUCTIONAL FACILITATOR
Woven around the issue of tutoring, specifically, the duties of the Facilitator include:
a) Provides quality learner support which includes guidance about course choice, preparatory diagnosis, study skills etc.
b) Facilitates students’ learning of instructional materials, regular formal and informal learning such as access group, learning in seminar and tutorials
c) Undertakes the delivery of specified course contents using the study centre for purposes of face-to-face interactions with distance learners.
d) Develops and manages essential feedback mechanism characteristic of effective open and distance learning.
e) Reviews, assesses and provides feedback on assignments regularly submitted by students as part of the distance learning instructional package and transmits same through the study centre managers to the NOUN Headquarters.
f) Participates in regular orientation programmes for new students and staff of the NOUN.
g) Monitors distance learners academic progress as/and when necessary or due.
h) Reviews, adapts and prepares instructional facilitation materials for use by the School.
i) Liaises with external examiners, assessors and advisory peer groups.
j) Undertakes examination duties including, where and when called upon to do so, the preparation of examination papers and monitoring of assessment procedures.
k) Provides online learning support for students who have access to and prepares the web-based learning environment of the NOUN
l) Engages in creative and innovative roles and activities which will develop and incorporate a range of local needs for support to the communication and discursive requirements of particular courses or programme and learning groups.
m) Keeps records of students’ progress, maintaining accurate records of each learner’s work, including assignments and examination and submitting these records to the appropriate School or Centre through the Centre Manager
FUNCTIONS OF THE KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGISTS
a) Develops and supports the University’s management information system including project management system analysis, design, programming user liaison technical support and documentation for internet and need technology projects;
b) Constructs, manages and constantly update the university’s web-site and web-based learning environment
c) Undertakes users training for the university’s staff and students
d) Uses java programming especially with flash and multimedia in course development;
e) models, stimulates and visualises communications and simple queuing theories (example coding and decoding time and frequency domain representations, convolutions CMSA/CD, M/M/I, M/M/2 etc)
f) Develops computer applications using internet and client/server technologies as well as the provision of technical and user support of computer systems;
g) Uses and instructs others in the use of a range of software including UNIX/Linux, Windows, Apache/IIS, Tomcat/OAS, Java Servlet/Applications, XML; Per/PHP/ASP, Flash, Photoshop, Dream weaver, NT/2000, Oracle PL/SQL, Developer 2000 and COBOL
h) Set-up, tests, maintains and operates audio visual and editing equipment at Educational Technology and Publishing Units
i) Works on irregular hours and/or shift duties
j) Implements and maintains different A.V. and computer systems including hardware installation and configuration and software problem solving;
k) Assists in the production of multimedia and on-line components such as computer animations and streaming videos and test various hardware and software on different OS; (NOUN,2004)
IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES DEVELOPED AND DESIGNED TO ACHIEVE THE MISSION STATEMENT
Employment of relevant staff to provide the needed support services.
• Provision of learner Support Services through the use of Study Centres (Special Centres) at various locations in the country.
• Appropriate in-service and continuous training for staff of various categories
• Use of appropriate techniques and technologies to achieve delivery of Support Services
THE RANGE OF POSSIBLE FUNCTIONS
The administrative functions of study centres may involve student affairs:
• publicising study opportunities;
• informing and counselling individuals;
• enrolling and registration
• providing information on mode of fee payment and related financial issues
• maintaining records of students' status, progression, results, course forward planning, assignments traffic and related academic records
• explicating rules, academic and administrative regulations, ethos and mores of the university the parent institution;
• evaluation and assessment: i.e. getting involved in conduct of examinations, practicals, laboratory and workshop activities. The study centres also provide first hand information on the status of the school plant evaluating the various aspects of buildings, furniture and equipment and facilities to ensure and assure their standard and quality.
.Distribution of Study Materials: The administrative functions may involve handling study materials. At the National Open University of Nigeria, the distributions of study materials is done at the study centres.
As of now all students receive their study materials directly by hand at the study centres. Centres are there responsible for:
• reception, storage, packing/assembling, dispatch to or preparation for collection by students;
• maintaining stocks and records and estimating future needs
• financial accountability for any materials sold.
Administrative functions will include the proper management of the study centre's facilities:
• the fabric of the premises and the surrounds;
• furniture and equipment;
• expendable supplies of materials;
• power, water, communication supplies'
• safety, security and cleaning;
• Financial management.
The academic functions of study centres may involve:
• counselling on general academic matters before enrolment and during the progress of study, sometimes involving detailed advice on individual subjects, as well as vocational guidance and careers counselling;
• providing study skills advice and courses, arranging local teaching/tutoring, managing and monitoring student attendance, and assessing its cost-effectiveness;
• arranging for teaching visits of staff from the parent institution:
a. the timetable, attendance of students;
b. venues and equipment/materials;
c. Evaluation of cost effectiveness.
• organization of study space and facilities for students who need:
a. quietness for private study;
b. access to resources such as reference materials (text, audio, video, computer), equipment (scientific, audio, video);
c. discussion with other students, informal or organized peer - tutorials.
• administering teaching in real time at a distance through:
a. telephone (and/or satellite) links for sound only, sound and picture, sound and picture-and-interactive-computer screen transmissions;
b. computer conferencing;
c. television broadcasts, one-way or interactive.
• monitoring student progress during a study period and taking action to provide encouragement and support when necessary;
• organizing final examinations: venues, furniture and materials, supervision, security of papers and scripts, record keeping, dispatch of scripts for making;
• investigating local demand for non-credit/continuing education courses and activities (consistent with the overall policy of the university
Study centres may have a wide range of social functions prescribed by the NOUN. expected by the local community, engendered by the students using them, and arising inevitably because they are there.
Functions prescribed by the university may include:
• mirroring the institution itself, providing a mini-campus experience for users and reflecting the ethos, ambiance, expectations, of the main campus, thus contributing to the institutional socializing of the students;
• representing the parent institution locally at formal and informal functions;
• facilitating and organizing occasions relevant to its academic functions and those of its parent institution, such as
a. pre-orientation and orientation sessions for students, parent and friends;
b. vocational guidance and careers advisement meetings.
c. meetings of alumni ( as the university grows)
d. graduation and other award ceremonies ( as the university grows)
The local community may have expectations of the ways in which a study centre might function socially. It may serve to reduce the mystique of higher education study through its use by many and varied people. It may be viewed as a comfortably normal venue for all sorts of purposes from using its virtual ibrary, to using its cafeteria and canteens for meetings. In this way a centre may make a valuable contribution to the democratizing of higher education. It is also the plan of NOUN to see her study centres promote communities of learning within the localities thus enhancing the level of literacy in the country and rapid realisationof the Millenium Development Goals.
NOUN also intends encouraging student-users of the study centres to initiate a variety of "social" uses of its facilities. They may form a local sports/games clubs; they may hold peer-tutorials and less formal, mutual, academic support meetings at the centre. They may be led to regard it as their "club" where serious academic pursuits may intermingle with informal socializing.
Prof. Greg Okagbare
Director, Learner Support Services
National Open University of Nigeria
Plot 91, Cadastral Zone, Nnamdi Azikiwe Express Way,