2016 in retrospect

2016 was, overall, a good year for Virtual University of Uganda. Our student numbers are creeping slowly up, and we are confident we will be able to reach our targets this year and be sustainable for the future thereafter. Not only are our student numbers rising, we are also adding to our administrative staff.


Mrs Maria Renee Rada joined us as Programme Leader in ICT4D and as IT Consultant. Her contributions to our young university are most appreciated.

One significant event occurred towards the end of the year: on 9 December, VUU turned 5.This is still a small figure but it is a sign that we are moving on and gaining strength and acclaim. Our international body of teaching staff continues to provide us with premier services from England, Holland, Belgium, Ireland, Scotland, Tanzania, Bolivia, Malaysia, and, of course, Uganda.

We are currently working on new programmes in the management area (human resource and organizational behaviour) and are hoping to recruit students for these programmes for the August intake. We continue adding courses to our Corporate Academy, this year Spanish and Excel (and we continue to offer Moodle training and courses for librarians).


Our Vice Chancellor Prof. Lejeune was busy this year with his work as Chairman of the Board of Directors of RENU (Research and Education Network) and as Chair of the Uganda Vice Chancellors’ Forum. Both organizations are happy to gain from his many years of experience in higher education in Africa.


Professor Carabine was in demand on the conference circuit this year. In May she spoke at Education Innovation Africa in Nairobi; in December she gave the keynote address at the UbuntuNet Alliance conference in Kampala, and she participated in a panel discussion at the Times Higher Education Summit on BRICS and Emerging Economies in Johannesburg, also in December.

Our coverage in the Times Higher Education sparked a number of engagements ), not least of which was a podcast for The Academic Citizen on virtual learning in Uganda which came out in October. And an article about the first five years of VUU will appear in an upcoming issue of World University News.

On the social front, we enjoyed our Drop-in Day in May, and many students and well-wishers came to chat and exchange experiences.



Our second graduation, presided over by Chancellor Lady Justice Flavia Senoga Anglin, was held in July where our first honorary award (M.Phil) was given to Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed Bholim for services to accountancy in East Africa.


It has been a busy year indeed and we look forward to an even more exciting 2017. With new programmes and new staff, we hope to forge even deeper alliances with sister universities across the globe. Wish us well as we pioneer online learning in Sub-Saharan Africa!


Teaching and Learning Online

Teaching online may well be the future for most academics worldwide. However, transitioning to an online or mixed-mode way of teaching and learning can be difficult: old mind-sets are hard to change. We are all used to the 1 teacher – 100 students (or more) scenario, teaching (or dictating) for 1 timetable hour in 1 classroom with a black (or white) board and, perhaps, a projector for the ubiquitous powerpoint presentation!

But times are fast changing. While it is difficult for many institutions to bring elearning on board — staff and student resistance and fear, inadequate resources, lack of IT skills, poor support from management …. we at VUU believe that the time is now to take the plunge. We have launched three postgraduate programmes entirely online, and while it has not all been plain sailing, it has worked! Our students are full elearning students.

Having been there and done that, so to speak, we at VUU now want to share our knowledge and experiences. To this end, we are organizing a series of training programmes for third-level institutions and their staff. The first of these is on eTutoring. Should you wish to take this course (or you know someone who might be interested), please visit our Academic Website for more details and access to the online Application Form.

www. virtualuni.ac.ug/vuu-corporate-academy/


Strategic Capacity-Building Programmes for eLearning Delivery

Virtual University of Uganda offers Strategic Capacity Building Programmes in eLearning  tailored to meets the needs of Uganda’s Universities


Moodle Management for Senior University Administrators **

In order for university departments to to deliver online programmes successfully, in-house managers are a central and crucial part of the operation. This capacity-building programme targets senior university administrators (already computer literate) who would be responsible for the continuous content delivery for online courses. Administrators learn the technicalities of advanced content provision online, including setting up examinations, quizzes, forums, and wikis), and how to work closely with the academic staff tutoring the courses and / or providing content so that the student learning experience is smooth and trouble-free. Administrators are trained to present learning materials in a creative, learner-friendly way, and how to provide online student support. Managers will also learn how to set up Course Libraries using open access materials.

Moodle managers trained by VUU attend a week-long session at VUU (10:00–16:00), and continue the training online for a further two weeks. Successful completion of all parts of the course results in a certificate in “Moodle Administration”. The programme is limited to 12 people per training session.

Online Teaching using Moodle for University Lecturers **

The pedaqgogy used in a classroom is quite different from the pedagogy used in an online learning environment. This programme will offer interested lecturers a unique opportunity to hone their teaching skills in an online environment. Tutors will learn how to tailor their existing courses for an online platform, how to manage the learning environment as an “editing” or “non-editing” lecturer, how to participate in wikis and discussion forums, how the set, mark, and comment on assignments and examinations, and how to set up chat sessions with their students. Special online demonstration classes will test the tutor’s knowledge of the system.

Moodle Tutors trained by VUU attend a week-long session at VUU (10:00–16:00), and continue the training online for a further two weeks. Successful completion of all parts of the course results in a certificate in “Moodle Teaching at University Level”. The programme is limited to 12 people per training session.

Cloud-Based Management Systems for University Administrators **

Using simple, affordable, cloud-based apps (both paid and freely available) can transform a faculty or department into a streamlined, paperless environment where communication is almost immediate and information shared seamlessly. Cloud-based university management systems mean that minutes of staff meetings, boards, and senates, notices, timetables, and other information can be uploaded as PDFs to a specially-customised (and easily-managed) website where access is instantaneous. Wikis can also be set up as Departmental Notice Boards hosting a broad range of information from the Faculty / Department s to Dissertation Title and Supervision lists. Different levels of security and access can be set up to ensure confidentiality. Automatic emails can alert users to new uploads.

Cloud Computing Administrators trained by VUU attend a week-long session at VUU (10:00–16:00), and continue the training online for a further one week. Successful completion of all parts of the course results in a certificate in “Cloud-Based Management”. The programme is limited to 14 people per training session.

Using Social Media for University Public Relations **

This specially tailored training programme targets university PROs and Official Spokespersons responsible for the dissemination of official information for their institution. Participants learn how to set up, customize, and manage official Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts, Google+ accounts, and blogs. PROs will learn how to maximize their online presence using inexpensive target ads on Facebook and Google Ads.

PROs trained by VUU attend a week-long session at VUU (10:00–16:00), and continue the training online for a further one week. Successful completion of all parts of the course results in a certificate in “Social Media Management”. The programme is limited to 12 people per training session.

Managing a Moodle Server **

IT managers and senior technicians learn how to set up and customise their own Moodle server. This training is organised by VUU so that the best of Uganda’s IT experts share their Moodle knowledge. This capacity-building programme runs for four Saturdays at VUU and is limited to 14 participants. Follow-up support and trouble shooting are available on request.

Complete Package Training and Support: Transitioning from  Paper-Based Delivery to Online Learning using Moodle **

VUU offers strategic, hands-on support to enable university departments make the transition from paper-based learning to online learning. There are two available options: fully online, multimedia-based in real time (synchronous) OR mixed modality as in a USB stick containing the full course materials presented as a leaning website (asynchronous).

In terms of synchronous learning, we upload your materials to your Moodle server and train your administrator to maintain and update the materials. We also train the lecturers who will be tutoring online. After training support and minor trouble-shooting can also be arranged where necessary. In terms of an asynchronous learning system, we build a complete learning system using the static Moodle system: Poodle. Further information is available on request.

Special: Universities who sign up for any of the training programmes offered by VUU, will receive an on-site half-day presentation session with the Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Deans, and other senior managers of their institution. This presentation will familiarize the senior staff with the broad modalities of online learning and ensure they are familiar with the level of support necessary for their institution to enter into the area of eLearning.

**Price available on request; please contact v.ndagire@virtualuni.ac.ug for further information.