Modern technology is paving the way to an increasingly online world. Undeniably, education has, nonetheless, been part of this virtual shift, with physical libraries, teaching and research printouts and archives being replaced with e-books, online articles, e-libraries and e-archives. Covid-19 has accelerated this transition, revamping education, broadening teaching and research accessibility and essentially rendering online education and virtual classrooms the ‘new normal’.
For the majority of universities, this shift happened ‘overnight’. However, unlike other institutions, Unicaf has been maintaining an online asynchronous teaching model since 2015. Unicaf’s pioneer experience in online education is reflected through its’ unique and diverse teaching methods, technology, quality in education and student/tutor punctual interaction and support.
Accessibility and Credibility
For the past seven years, Unicaf has been perfecting the delivery of asynchronous online teaching model around the four key pillars: flexibility, accessibility, affordability and credibility. To facilitate flexible online learning, students are given unlimited open-access to an e-library portal thus having to their use more than 200,000 e-books, articles and other research materials. Learning resources are remotely accessible 24/7 and can be downloaded and studied both online and offline.
This is also the case with teaching materials. The online teaching curriculum combines a broad range of educational resources and tools, specifically designed to enable effective student/tutor interaction and student/system engagement. The student survey feedback suggested that ‘the university programmes are well structured’. ‘The weekly content of the course is’ organised and has ‘a great built up and synergy of topics related to one another that really help you understand the course before you attempt any assignments’. The lecturers are helpful and provide feedback and advice’ in a timely and consistent manner. The reading and teaching material, course assignments, and learning outcomes can be ‘used as a reference in one’s daily work activities or human interaction’. With the completion of each module, students are equipped with skills and knowledge that are eminently transferable to the industry workspace and allow further personal and professional development.
Flexibility and Affordability
The online experience of Unicaf is designed around a web-based platform the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE is available for student registration and is accessible at any given time of the day. Thus, the availability of technology allows autonomous learning, with students being able to learn by making arrangements on their day-to-day schedules, career ambitions or family responsibilities. The flexible learning and the financial support that Unicaf provides through its generous scholarship scheme is well received by our students. Student reviews suggest that ‘connecting to the VLE, and getting the study materials for my lectures is easy’. ‘The VLE system is exceptional and unique, highly efficient, effective and user friendly’. Essentially, studying online at Unicaf ‘is convenient and flexible’ ‘and the scholarship has made it easy to cover my financial obligations’.
Unicaf’s flexible model accounts for affordability. Students are no longer required to commute to campuses or even spend thousands of dollars on housing or on other hidden costs such as buying textbooks and course materials. This is one of the benefits of studying online with student reviews stating that Unicaf’s online delivery model is ‘an excellent experience’ of a ‘streamlined system, aimed at ensuring intellectual advancement’. ‘The course information, as well as the support from the faculty, is admirable’, pertaining to an overall experience that is equal, or if not better than face-to-face teaching.
Teaching discussion forums represent a vibrant stimulating learning environment where students can share what they are learning with their fellow students and discuss up-to-date topics of interest that are relevant to their studies. These forums and the discussion taking place therein are led by faculty members, giving the impression of a classroom’s physical space, while allowing students to connect globally and exchange information at a personalised pace from the comfort of their own device. One of our students commented on this, stating that ‘the discussion forum facilitated networking and students sharing their experiences throughout the duration of the course’. This was with the active contribution of the instructor who encouraged students to introduce themselves and post discussion topics relevant to the assignment and overall learning objectives and outcomes of the module.
Unicaf provides an experience based on the latest cutting-edge technology available. The VLE platform and the learning activities taking place therein pertain to an overall ‘amazing experience’ that gives ‘the true feeling of being a student’, accompanied by ‘high-quality customer services and academic excellence’.