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Universities adopt the Internet to compete in global arena

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Students of Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) outside the KeMU Hub in Nairobi. The university will be offering remote classes via the Internet across its five campuses from next year. Photo/DIANA NGILA

Students of Kenya Methodist University (KeMU) outside the KeMU Hub in Nairobi. The university will be offering remote classes via the Internet across its five campuses from next year. Photo/DIANA NGILA  Nation Media Group

By David Mugwe

Posted  Thursday, December 27   2012 at  14:05

In Summary

elearning, kemu, robert gateru

The number of learning institutions turning to the Internet to offer courses remotely is growing with the Kenya Methodist University  (KeMU) being the latest entrant.

Robert Gateru, the principal at KeMU’s Nairobi campus, said the university has been renovating its classrooms — making them smart classrooms — and it will be offering remote lessons from these to the rest of its five campuses from next year.

The university joins institutions like Strathmore and Inoorero universities, which have this year announced that they will be offering classes remotely. These will be accessed from other locations through tablets and mobile phones.

Besides improving efficiency, the new model of teaching cuts costs for the universities.

Smart classrooms

“We want to see more smart classrooms, international student exchanges and incubation projects,” said Prof Gateru.

Institutions of learning in Kenya have picked up on the use of technology as they expand, a move that is helping them compete locally and internationally.
Through the Internet, learners can access live or archived classes.

Prof Gateru said KeMU gets its connection through the Kenya Education Network (Kenet) which promotes the use of information communication and technology (ICT) in teaching, learning and research in higher education institutions in the country.

The national research and education network aims to interconnect all the universities, tertiary and research institutions in the country by setting up a cost effective and sustainable private network, with high speed access to the Internet.

“We want to see technology continue to be a big part of what KeMU does. If we tap into ICT we will be able to reach a lot more students, continue to improve on quality as well as reduce on costs because, as a private institution, we do not get government funding and we must give our students value for money,” said Prof Gateru.

In June this year, Strathmore University announced it had signed a deal with Samsung Electronics to enable its executive MBA students attend lectures using Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablets.

Samsung Electronics would supply every executive MBA student with a tablet loaded with e-books and lecture time schedules and these tablets would also give students access to an online portal where they can access live videos of lectures.

Research released by Net Index in May this year ranked Kenya third among the African countries with fast Internet connection.  The organisation checked speeds of 20 Internet Service Providers and Kenet.

“From the 62,877 unique IPs (Internet Protocols) that have been taken in Kenya, the country made it into the 84th position on the global list, with download speeds of 4.46 Mbps. Speeds in Nairobi clocked in at 4.79 Mbps, and Mombasa 2.81 Mbps,” said the report by Net Index.

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