In view of the critical role of research and its attendant value in addressing societal needs and national development, the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Prof. Olufemi Peters, has said it has become imperative to train and retrain academics in Open, Distance and eLearning (ODeL) research methodology and writing to maximise effectiveness.
“As the education sector faces new challenges against the background of technological advancements and changing workplace skill sets, and as NOUN also experiences various changes in its learner demographics and profiles, its teaching and learning and provisions – the need to train and retrain faculty in skills for research in ODeL provisions is imperative,” he said.
Peters stated this on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 while delivering his opening address at the workshop organised by the NOUN’s Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDOL) in collaboration with Commonwealth of Learning (COL) on “Open, Distance and eLearning Research Methodology and Writing” for early and mid-career academics at the university ‘s headquarters, Jabi, Abuja.
Represented by the DVC Administration, Prof. Isaac Sammani Butswat, Peters said that “research is more critical in ODeL contexts in investigating the various issues that faculty and learners encounter, and proffering solutions to inform institutional policies and technological innovations to improve ODeL provisions, ensure quality and maximise effectiveness.”
Speaking further, the Vice-Chancellor added that “as the only single-mode public ODeL institution in the West Africa sub-region, NOUN is committed to not raising its institutional research profile, but to also improving its provisions informed by evidence-led research.
“Research remains a major focus of the institution under my administration through additional funding opportunities that enable NOUN academics to carry out research and disseminate their outputs at conferences and through reputable journals.
“This workshop is one such opportunity for you as academics in NOUN to build your capacity for carrying out ODeL research and thereby improve your competencies and contribute to the growth of the institution.”
While thanking the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) under the leadership of Prof. Asha Kanwar for its immense support to NOUN over the years in building capacity for ODeL practice and research in the sub-region, the VC also thanked the Lead Resource Person, a Research Professor, University of South Africa (UNISA) and a visiting Professor at NOUN, Prof. Paul Prinsloo for accepting to facilitate the workshop.
Besides acknowledging and commending the collaborative efforts of RETRIDOL and DLCMS, Peters appreciated all the support staff who have worked tirelessly to organise the workshop thereby making it a reality adding that “I look forward to the relaunch of the NOUN OER repository and the availability of OER resources to share with the world.
“I implore you to take full advantage of the sessions to gain knowledge, develop your research skills, and ensure that you deliver on the stated deliverables of the workshop.”
Earlier in her opening remark, the Director, Regional Training and Research Institute for Distance and Open Learning (RETRIDOL), Prof. Christine Ofulue, while thanking the management for organising the workshop, said it was aimed at building capacity of early and mid-career academics in NOUN for research in ODeL.
Speaking further, Prof. Ofulue informed the participants that the objectives of the workshop were to: enhance participants’ knowledge of ODeL provisions, including trends and best practices; build the capacity of faculty to conduct and disseminate research on ODeL provisions; encourage and support the development of research proposals on ODeL provisions; enhance the quality and relevance of research outputs in ODeL provisions, among others.
“Specifically, you will be introduced to the purpose of ODeL research, identify factors that determine the choice of research questions, selection of appropriate methodology, writing abstracts, and getting published in reputable journals,” Ofulue said.
The participants, during the interactive and practical-oriented workshop, were drilled on: how to identify research problems, research questions, literature review, sampling, methodology, data collection methods and their implications, analysis and findings and choosing a journal for publication.
Apparently satisfied with the training, the participants, while thanking the management for organising the workshop, said they have learnt a lot adding that the workshop should be sustained with a view to updating their knowledge.