COVID19 lockdown restrictions have disrupted university and secondary education in Ghana. According to Government, consultations are still ongoing to determine when it will be safe to reopen schools.
Among the different challenges of these uncertain and difficult times is how to promote and ensure that students continue their education whilst staying at home.
In response to the education challenge, several universities and schools around the world have moved all face-to-face learning activities online. Research and teaching laboratory activities have been replaced with literature and data-based projects and online lab demonstrations.
The current situation has resulted in the development and adaptation of innovative communication and collaborative applications, virtual classrooms, online assessment tools and courses to support students. Below are some free resources that could be helpful to teachers and students in Ghana.
Microsoft Teams: This application can be used as a virtual office or classroom. MS Teams can be used to communicate with colleagues and students; organise virtual meetings, conferences, teaching sessions, and presentations; share and store files with team; collaborate with peers or colleagues using MS Office APPs.
Google Classroom: Google provides a free virtual classroom and e-learning environment that can be used to organise classes, meetings, assessments and collaborate using other Google APPs such as, Docs, Drive, Forms, Sheets and Slides.
Kahoot! & Zeetings: These are useful applications for organising formative and summative assessments for students. It can be used to test the understanding of students, run timed exams and evaluate their progress in achieving learning outcomes. These inclusive learning tools allow students to also ask questions anonymously and can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching by running anonymous polls or surveys.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC): These are professionally designed online courses on a wide range of subjects. They are offered by some of the best universities in the world and students may earn a certificate upon completion. Lecturers and teachers may signpost their students to courses that are relevant to their programme of study. Examples of MOOC education platforms are Coursera, edX and FutureLearn. These platforms offer some free courses and students may apply for funding to complete specific courses.
Elsevier Researcher Academy: This online platform provides e-learning resources and webinars by research experts and journal editors to support the professional development of researchers. The available resources cover all the stages of the research process, from research conception and planing to publication and communication of research. Researchers, PhD and MPhil students may find this platform useful in continuing their research and developing relevant skills for their career.
Additional resources: Students and teachers may access free encyclopedias such as Encyclopedia Britannica; dictionaries, such as the Cambridge Dictionary; free textbooks and other resources by Springer Nature, Pearson, SAGE Research Methods, SAGE Knowledge; and science experiment videos on JoVE.
By A. Amankwaa