Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto is one of the four Universities established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in September 1975.
Since the establishment of the University, its vision is to promote excellence in terms of teaching, research and community service in all fields of human endeavour, and a mission to provide quality teaching, research and community service to deserving persons and communities, under the most peaceful atmosphere and in line with the national policy on education, irrespective of social class, gender, race, nationality and religion; and to ensure that at all times it serves a centre for pursuit of research and academic excellence, the University management sees it necessary to further enhance learning in a more digitally organised manner especially in the pandemic era.
To somewhat discard the conventional classroom lectures, and to initiate virtual learning holistically, the board of Management Information System (MIS), Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto on the 6th of April, 2021 held a meeting with the Students’ leaders to inform them on the plan to commence e-learning in the University.
At the meeting, it was concluded, and as a matter of fact disclosed that the transition would begin next semester.
The MlS director, Dr. Ahmed Isah Tsafe said that the e-learning would start with 200-Level Science students and all General Studies courses (GST), adding that any lecturer in the university that intends to make his course online is also welcomed by the university.
In this regard, students of the varsity expressed mixed reactions towards the introduction of e-learning. Some students expressed delight over the introduction of e-learning while others believed that e-learning is not feasible in the University.
This, according to them, is based on poor network, inability to provide themselves with the required gadgets and the cost of constantly purchasing data.
Usman Adam, a 100-Level student of Law, is still tethered to his surreal sense after learning of the new directive. He is yet to come to terms with the pros and cons of the development. In his words, he stated that:
“I’m happy and at the same time unhappy with the idea, let us ask ourselves, will this e-learning last long, considering the economic hardship of our country, not all students have the smartphone or laptop. Does that mean that they will not partake in the online classes?
“Another issue is that there is a need for a stable network for the virtual class to hold, can that be assured and sustained? He questioned.
Unlike Usman, Adamu Yusuf Kware, a 100-Level student of Botany, who was full excitement over the new system and regarded it as a welcome development, noting that it will help greatly in lessening overcrowding during lectures. He cited that:
“As a student of UDUS, I am very glad about this system introduced by the school management because our lecture halls are overstretched in this university. During lectures like Physics 101, Bio101, and Physics 103, I used to sit on the floor to receive lectures due to a crowded class.
“It’s good to engage in this system of e-learning, and it is possible in UDUS because it would be difficult to see a student without a smartphone, therefore, the e-learning is feasible in UDUS,” he said.
Abdulfatai Islamiyya a 100-Level student of Botany expressed her delight over the virtual learning introduced by the university, but was bothered about the bad network and inadequacy of hotspot wireless network on campus. She voiced out that:
“The new system is a good idea, but in my own opinion, considering the school we are in, I don’t think it will be possible because I doubt if the management can provide hotspot for all the students on campus, and the network in Sokoto state is not favourable at all.
“Secondly, I’m happy about the system because as a 100-Level student, receiving lectures in MH2 is not really comfortable for learning,” Islamiyya said.
Abdulganiyu Abdurahman Akanbi, a 200-Level student of Islamic studies described the system as a welcomed development, despite the circumstances that students might encounter from a network connection.
He also implored the school management to make the information available at all levels.
He said, “the development is an achievement for the university. Impliedly, it shows that the University is working towards making the learning environment cordial with the 21st century of the modern age.
“Notwithstanding, there may be problems which will be encountered by the students ranging from bad network to lack of adequate resources such as data and smartphones to carry it out. Also, many students who are not using an android phone may not be able to upgrade to this system due to lack of resources.”