Selected statements from some participants in the E-teaching courses
“The roles of knowledge, information and education in reducing vulnerability converge
around the learning process” (GEO 4, p. 351).
Flexible, part time online education is ideal for further and continuous education, and reaches
the practitioners. Just in time education, with daily work as context, has high impact.
The E-teaching courses have been developed as international courses as a joint venture between United Nations
University / Global Virtual University (UNU/GVU), Stord Haugesund University College (HSH) and University
of Agder (UIA) under the auspices of UNU/GVU, and give an introduction into the GVU approaches to online
tutoring and building learning environments in international virtual communities of practice. The participants
also learn how to make online courses and study programmes according to international standards mainly
following the European Transfer and Accumulation System. Target group is professors, teachers, course
developers and other practitioners. The ET courses are partly based on the previous Norwegian Piol courses
developed by the NITOL group and the experience from the European project Model for a European Networked
University (MENU). Course delivery and academic responsibility has shifted between University of Agder,
Grimstad and Stord Haugesund University College since 2005.
The statements below indicate how some of the participants have appreciated the courses
I had experience in online learning before I joined the E-teaching I course, but I must admit that
I have had completely new experience. I have enhanced my skills in using the learning
management system (LMS), which is Fronter. This course provided me with the opportunity to
learn the Fronter tools well. I have understood how the (LMS) works very well. Besides, I have
acquired new knowledge in tutoring, more importantly for online collaboration. My facilitating
(teaching) style has changed.
Francis Focu- The course is good for both online and offline facilitators (teachers). I would recommend online
Kwakye, learning for all, especially those who are working. When I joined the e-teaching I course, I
Ghana imagined it would not be interesting because it lacked an f2f session with participants, but it
turned out to be a completely new experience. Whenever I read the text contributions of
participants in the forum, it sounded in my ears like a natural voice speaking to me. You can go
back and read the discussions whenever you want. I have made new friends and I chat with
some of them synchronously, especially Kariman in Egypt.
I have learned about new teaching techniques. I have also realized that, in most cases, student‟s
performance is strongly tied to teachers‟ pedagogical approaches. The constructivist learning
approach has enhanced my teaching style. I have improved my skills in the use of the internet
and in taking responsibility for my own learning. The teachers provided the necessary support
and learning materials to the members of this community of practice and that made learning
Francis Focu-Kwakye, Ghana, MSc, teacher, student ET 1 2008
'The e-teaching course because of its lack of face to face contact has totally changed my
opinions on how to manage education in the future. I have learnt how to collaborate and work
with my peers „on line‟ across the world to achieve the learning objectives, and I feel confident
that I will succeed as an on-line tutor'.
Lesley Bolbot Teacher, New Zealand, ET 1 2008
It is really amazing what a person can learn in 5 months even if you have been teaching for 15
years! When I started the course, I thought it sounded interesting, but was a bit apprehensive
since I have done other teaching courses before, and many were basically general knowledge
put into a certain order. This course is like no other teaching course I have been on! After a
gentle start, it (not so) gradually became more intense. Although there was a lot of research and
reading to do (which can start lagging behind) - there was one of the group or Aake urging us to
Jackie Nel, keep going.
Coming from a very factual background (physics) I was a bit apprehensive about this
"collaborative learning" thing - but have learned that it can really work - not only in the social
sciences, but also in the natural sciences. We just have to get out of the old box, start thinking,
and be innovative. This was a wonderful learning experience!
Jackie Nel, teacher, South Africa / Kenya. E-teaching 1 2008
"Today, online learning is growing rapidly because of a fast growth in the use of internet for
communication, information and services. E-learning gives us a tool to build new quality
learning environments, provide pointers for their effective use and increase capacity.
The GVU e-teaching course enhances my career and improves the scientific cooperation with
the other fellows at work. Participating in the E-teaching 1 course, has improved my personal
Samy Abd El- decision making, time managing and organizing work as a leader. In addition, my technical
Azeem skills and knowledge about online education have increased.
Egypt The course gave me confidence to let my students work collaboratively. I am a lecturer teaching
soil microbiology at Suez Canal University. I have given scientific ideas and problems to my
students and make them discuss and share to explain and find solutions. I have been applying
the pedagogical approach that I learned in the E-teaching course when teaching soil
microbiology as an experiment. I encouraged the students to collaborate and learn from each
other – to take the “social constructivist challenge” when working with the role soil
microorganisms have in improving soil fertility, and I got very positive feedback from this
work. But I need more time to carry it out with different types of students to get complete
Samy Abd El-Azeem, phd, Lecturer of Soil Science, University of Suez canal, Egypt ET 1, 2008
Before joining 'E – teaching I' course I was completely ignorant about education science, in this
course I have learned the meaning of word 'education' and effectiveness of internet/ information
and communication technology to achieve the objectives of 'education'. After this course I find
myself a better student, who understands meaning of 'learning' and who believes that learning is
not only scrambling for marks.
Rahul P. User Interface Designer, E - learning Content Developer, India.E-teaching 1, 2008
Rahul P, India
I am now in the middle of developing an e-learning course called Chemical Risk Reduction in
Enterprises. I could never have done this without participating in E-teaching I and E-teaching
II. I have learned to choose between different pedagogical approaches and to make efficient
learning environments adapted to the topic at hand and the learning objectives. I have been a
chemistry lecturer in secondary schools and in the private sector for three decades, but despite
this long experience, must admit I have changed and improved my approach to teaching, online
Arild as well as face-to-face, thanks to the E-teaching courses.
Langemyr, Arild Langemyr, Engineer. Lecturer, Norway. ET 1 and 2 2007
The collaborative environment created in this course has helped me to practice negotiating the
meanings and suggest new thoughts that fit with the topic of discussion. Before this course, I
used to support my point of view through direct referring to written documents. Now, I prefer to
negotiate the meanings - as I practiced this approach many times through the course - and I find
it more dynamic; particularly when I applied it in my own lecturing to university students.
I was lucky to get this E-Teaching I course with a multinational group of colleagues. This
gave me the opportunity to deal with different persons having different approaches of thinking.
I have to admit that, at the beginning of this course I was not sure that e-teaching is a good
Egypt way of learning and I, even, thought it results in superficially learnt students. Now, I have a
completely different view to e-learning. One of its unique features is to have written thoughts
from colleagues in the forum all the time, so I can think deeply before giving my
Dr. Sahar EL-Shatoury Lecturer in Microbiology , Faculty of Science, Suez Canal University,
Ismailia – Egypt ET 1 2008
I have been putting some of the pedagogical things I learned in this course to a test. I am a part
time lecturer at three universities on the subject of geothermal drilling and design of wells.
What I especially like to tell you about is the „constructivist“ elements I added to the
UNU Geothermal Training Programme this month. The 21 fellows have just completed one
month of intensive lectures. Mine lasted for one week, and I augmented my usual „instructivist“
lectures with „constructivist“ homework for the first time. In the past the assignments have been
more targeted to the individual fellow and the latter part is focused on individual projects and
Sverrir writing the paper. I urged the fellows to collaborate and learn from each other – to take the
„constructivist challenge“. They took to this like the fish to the water! The lights were burning
late in the study room during this period and I got very positive feedback from this experiment.
Sverrir Thorhallsson, Professor, Iceland E-teaching 1, 2006
I have being teaching for over fifteen years in post secondary institutions in Nigeria in face-to-
face traditional learning environment so it was completely strange to think of performing the
same roles I have been performing all these years through the Internet media. However, the
Global Virtual University‟s (GVU branch of United Nations University Japan) courses with
academic responsibilities by Haugesund and Agder University colleges, Norway cleared my
doubts and that of my colleagues in the University of Lagos Nigeria on this possibility. I did the
Olubodun E-Teaching I & II (100% online on Fronter platform) which are about online teaching and
Olufemi, course development in 2006 & 2007 and satisfactorily was convinced of offering courses online
Nigeria by my University.
On completion of these courses my University‟s recognition has been encouraging and has been
considering using Fronter anytime from now.
A number of Nigerian Universities have deployed courses on some platforms like Moodle,
e.g.University of Jos Nigeria etc and many are already moving towards this trend.
Nigerian University commission (NUC) is equally not relenting on enforcing the elearning
policy on all Universities in Nigeria.
Olubodun Olufemi J. [ CDT; RDT (Nig) M.Ed; Pg Dip. Ed; Pg Dip. E-Teaching & E-course
Dev. (UNU/GVU)] eFacilitator University of Lagos, College of Medicine, School of Dental
Sciences, P.M.B. 12003, Lagos, Nigeria
My participation in the E-teaching courses during 2006-2007 was a very valuable experience as
it provided me with a completely new thinking about education and opened for me a new
window over the education world. I am working in the education field. Our participants are
adult immigrants from different nationalities and mostly women who have many children. We
have experienced high rates of absences and sick leaves in our school during and before year
After I completed the E-teaching courses; I introduced the course and the new skills I learned to
Irak my employer and the other teachers in our school; and explained how the E-teaching technique
could help in easing some of the problems we were facing like boredom, absence, sick leaves,
etc. After that we started thinking in improving our teaching technique by implementing a sort
of flexibility in our courses. Since then we have noticed that our students became more
motivated as they had the chance to learn where and when they will. The past Spring 2008 term
was marked by very high grades and high presence rates.
We have been working on a major education project in Iraq since 2005 and so far we achieved
successful results in exchanging experience with and transforming modern pedagogy to Iraq
totally by using online techniques. Iraq is still suffering from major problems like security,
geographical and infrastructure problems. Security situation in the project area in Iraq
deteriorated during the project period in a way it became very risky for any one to attend a
school, therefore it was impossible then to implement the traditional education methods to
perform the project. Therefore we implemented the E-teaching technique as a safer alternative.
This technique yielded satisfactory results despite all the problems at the time of performing the
We believe that Iraq will revolutionise its school system to satisfy the needs of rebuilding the
country. This means that modern education system and staff with modern skills will be needed
accordingly. This task can not be achieved by implementing the traditional education methods
under the current situation of the country as this will take generations to be achieved. We
strongly believe that the online techniques will play a significant role in performing this huge
task. Therefore we are discussing now with Malmö High School and Österlen Folk High School
to start a new project to help in modernising the Iraqi education system by using e-teaching
Athim Alhajaj, Irak, Folkbildningsföreningen i Malmö, Sweden, ET 1 and 2, 2006
Participating in GVU E-Teaching I course has proved to be a time-wise and worthwhile
decision. It does fill a gap that exists in the online learning world. This physician and writer
would recommend GVU without any minimal hesitation.
I just would like to thank the faculty for allowing the students the golden opportunity to
participate in a collaborative learning environment. We all learned this the best way available
Amal and this is by practice.
Saadallah, Amal Saadallah, M.D., M.Sc., Ph.D., CCRP, Saudi Arabia E-teaching 1
I will miss this study, and my peers, and I do want to study more online.
Gry Fredriksen, high school teacher, Norway E-teaching 1+2
The positive social climate and attitude within the group made the whole learning episode a
worthwhile one. In fact at a point the whole thing became addictive. I couldn‟t help logging in
several times in a day.
Academically, I can self-direct, plan, set personal learning goals and actively engage in group
activities. I can manage time, deploy my mental and physical resources better, set personal
targets and align more easily to collective goals while assessing myself on a continual basis and
Sunday Philip against set standards.
Udeochu, Sunday Philip Udeochu, Principal programme officer, Small and Medium Enterprises
Development Agency, Nigeria. E-teaching 1
I think it is a very interesting way of learning and I truly believe that becoming a competent e-
tutor will benefit my career and especially the lives of those that I work with. E-education is
very important! I have to say that I honestly enjoyed it, learned a lot, and had so much fun. A
major part of what made it so interesting and enjoyable for me is that I had such a diverse group
of classmates-each with very different personalities and learning/working styles! My classmates
were from India, Peru, Kenya, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Nigeria, and Malaysia-among others.
Sabrina Heerema-Agostino, Thunder Bay, Canada E-teaching 2, 2006
I thought that it was like other classes where you have to compete for higher marks and grades,
instead I found myself more of a collaborator and a contributor than a receiver. The discussions
are held in a more academic style and it also requires reading if you have to upgrade your
Amir Ahmed Manghali
Amir Ahmed Capacity Building Advisor, Somaliland National Disability Forum Progressio Hargeisa,
Somaliland E-teaching 1, 2006
I am one of the first batch of GVU-GEDS Students enrolled in 2005 to pursue the Master
Programme in Development Management. I begun the programme with high level skepticism
and full of anxiety and uncertainty but after the my first face to face session, all the fear fizzled
out. After two years of intensive academic work online, I have been prepared adequately to
perform efficiently in my current position as a Research Fellow with Institute of Distance
Learning of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana
Henry Kofi My success in the programme is credited to the excellent Online learning approach used by the
Mensah, Ghana GVU. The GVU approach with its blend of different approaches and the use of synchronous
and asynchronous learning process ensures that the individual learner has a firm grip over his
own learning process regardless of the challenges posed by technology, finance and others.
The knowledge, skills and expertise I gained from GVU have been brought to bear in the
capacity I find myself now. The distance learners in my Institute are now working virtually
online with the online learning platform we have acquired. At the just ended eLearning African
Conference held in Accra, I was invited to deliver a position paper on “Designing and
Delivering eLearning in Africa; Is it a question of Technology, Pedagogy or Culture” and my
knowledge in elearning that I gained from GVU was manifested. I must state here that at the
end of this conference, it was shown that eLearning in Africa in no longer a rhetoric but a
reality. Africa has embbrassed Elearning as a tool to increase access to higher education.
I credit my expertise and my contribution to Global Virtual University, University of Agder and
NORAD which granted me the scholarship to go through the programme.
HENRY KOFI MENSAH
Research Fellow, Institute of Distance Learning, KNUST-Kumasi, Ghana
I support e-learning as a better option for achieving a learning goal especially in the so-called
developing nations, as Face to Face education is becoming more and more expensive and
unaffordable to the common man. The cell phone is also welcome as you can communicate
with tutors when you are in a dilemma by either calling or sending sms to ask for assistance.
Please continue to develop and offer on-line courses like these for adults like us to develop our
Grace Gwalla, primary school teacher, Gaborone, Botswana E-teaching 1+ 2
I was a student in E-Teaching 1 class that was offered in 2007. The knowledge I gained was
excellent and has revolutionized e-Learning in my institution. I found myself practically
applying the principles of pedagogy while at the same time engaging in absolute collaborative
learning. I have shared my knowledge with members of teaching staff at my University,
showing them how to organize students into small tutorial groups, organizing the course
materials into topics and supplementing them with online resources. My University uses
Moodle e-Platform and I made sure they have fashioned it to conform to the way Prof Aake did
Speranza with the Fronter e-Platform. I ensure that students communicate with one another and that each
Ndege, group has a Moderator and a Weaver. I have introduced to the teaching staff the idea of
Kenya scaffolding and it is working excellently with their students. I have shared the knowledge I
gained in E-Teaching 1 with students, lecturers and administrators from other institutions too.
In May 2008, I attended the 3rd International Conference in e-Learning held in Ghana, where I
made a presentation based on my experiences during e-Teaching 1 course and how I am
applying the knowledge gained to my University. I was greatly surprised and pleased when
after my presentation a smiling Prof Aake reached out to shake my hand. He had just witnessed
one of his students do a presentation based on an e-course he had so well taught and directed. E-
Teaching 1 is interesting, practical and answers many pedagogical issues – it is real treasure.
Speranza Ndege, Senior Lecturer at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya and the Director in
charge of e-Learning at the University. ET 1 2007
"I like the course itself, because of its contributions it provides for the learners.
Technologically: It picks the learner no matter what at what level you are, and pulls you
through to a level where you are confident.
The collaborative approach of the course helps the learner to realise that he needs others.
Although you don't meet physically, there is a feeling of looking out for each other and saying
"where are you?", and grabbing each other's hands and saying "let‟s move together."
Mrs Janet Kato. Teacher. Mpumalanga, South Africa. E-teaching 1, 2007
Last year I completed the Masters Programme in Development through University of Agder and
United Nations University/Global Virtual University, which is run online with socio-
constructivist pedagogy. After some months I pursued the E-Teaching I course and I was very
happy to be back in the virtual classroom with fellow students from all corners of the world. I
then got the chance to dig deeper into the pedagogy and the theory behind the type of teaching
and learning that I had already been “exposed to” for the previous two years. I was so intrigued!
Kristine Through my 2,5 years of online learning, I saw the virtual classroom as a pool of ideas,
Reinfjord, inspiration, collaboration and companionship, the latter perhaps difficult to understand for
Norway outsiders since it is „all virtual‟ and only with very few face-to-face meetings. The thing is that
as online students I think we felt a special sense of responsibility towards each other, - a mutual
obligation to produce good academic work and to reach our goals of completing every task,
every module, every course. The very nature of the pedagogy requires collaboration, and after
some struggling to find our way around the classroom we started forming productive and
competent teams that did not just discuss academic matters but also formed friendships and
networks that hopefully will last forever. The social aspect was actually quite surprising and
interesting to me. Looking up for a moment and past my own practical experience, I truly
believe in online pedagogy and its great potential for educating people in developing countries,
bridging the digital divide and empowering local communities. I feel privileged to have gained
insight into this field and to be able to work as an online tutor.
Kristine Reinfjord, Personnel Officer and Online Tutor, Norway MSc DM, ET1 2007
Online learning is suitable in both developed and poor countries because it is leading learning
management to a better future. Online learning can bridge the gap of many learning/teaching
barriers. In Mogadishu very concrete barriers are road blocks as a result of war.
The Somali society is an unadulterated oral society except a few number of individuals. Most
online studies are read/write learning styles. I would say that it actually encourages them to
practice and improve researching studies and writing text if they get more opportunities and
Meimun Hagi, participate well. After examining the learning style I have got, I find I can take my remaining
Somalia degrees in online learning, needless to say that I improved my researching style during E-
teaching I course. I was able to do this in spite of warlike conditions in Somalia in 2007.
I‟m indebted to the offering institutions of E-teaching I, GVU/UNU/HSH/AUC and all teaching
Meimun Mohamed Hagi, Researcher, Mogadishu, Somalia ET1 2007
I took part in the UNU E-teaching course from which I immensely benefited in terms of the
insight I gained from both the course coordinators and my colleagues. This I did at a far
reduced cost than would have been the case if I were to attend the training/course in Norway.
My understanding of what learning entails, changed dramatically by realising that learning is
not necessarily a teacher cantered activity or process but should be a collaborative venture in
which the learner plays key roles. As a university lecturer, this realisation is critical and has
helped me a lot in re-orienting my teaching methods to be more interactive and participatory-by
Odhiambo, giving learners chance to co-produce knowledge through group discussion of pertinent issues,
South Africa and other activities.
E-education provides the opportunity for many people in Africa, who would otherwise not have
the opportunity due to the high costs of education in the more advanced countries in Europe and
the Americas, to access quality education in various fields or specialities without having to be
there physically. In most cases the cost of living in such developed countries is quite high and is
a great impediment to many of the brilliant but poor people from Africa who would be willing
to advance themselves through further studies.
Besides the cost issues, online education programs also do not require a regular presence in a
specific classroom, and students are able to learn at their own pace without adhering to time
limits. This enables those who have to work to earn a living and study to enhance their
productivity at work a chance to advance their studies without having to stop their work
Although low internet connectivity (and sometimes limited access to internet) proves to be a
challenge to many African learners who participate in E-education programmes, the reduced
costs and flexibility of E-education makes it very popular with many would be learners from
this region and indeed many universities in Africa are slowly adopting e-education. Many of
those who would otherwise not have had a chance to access high quality western education
because of the high cost are already benefiting from programmes offered through e-education.
E-education programmes offered by Adgers University in Norway and Lund University in
Sweden are just but few examples.
Dr. George O. Odhiambo, lecturer in the department of geography and environmental science,
Monash University in South Africa. ET 1 2008
The E-teaching courses available at: