A webinar to launch the “Online and Distance Learning for Teachers in Africa (ODLTA)” course was held on 7 July 2020.

The course, jointly launched by the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE), and co-developed and co-constructed by the UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (INRULED) and the Open University of China (OUC), aims to increase the capacity of K-12 teachers in Africa during and after the COVID-19 outbreak and reduce the impact of the epidemic on education in Africa. The development and construction of the course demonstrates the practical implementation of the spirit of the UNESCO-Africa-China High-level Dialogue for Supporting Priority Africa in the COVID-19 and Post-COVID Context held on 24 June 2020.

Jing Degang, secretary of the Party committee and president of the OUC, said in his speech that the OUC is a partner and friend of open universities in Africa. As a member of the executive committee of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), over the past few years, the OUC has continually expanded its areas of cooperation with its African partners. To date, it has set up overseas learning centres in Zambia and Tanzania, and has established a strategic cooperative relationship with the University of South Africa and Botswana Open University. The OUC will continue to strengthen communication and cooperation with the UNESCO IITE and UNESCO INRULED teams under the guidance of the National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO, actively carry out online education and training for teachers, provide learning resources and learner support services to open universities in Africa, and successfully support open education in the post-COVID period.

ODLTA is a complete English certification course jointly designed and developed for primary and secondary school teachers in Africa by an interdisciplinary team composed of the Faculty of Education, the International Department, Beijing Ubiquitous Age Education Technology Co. Ltd, and OUC-Online Co. Ltd., and UNESCO INRULED. The design of the curriculum takes into consideration the cognitive load, network speed, and learning terminal conditions of primary and secondary school teachers in Africa and adopts a seven-minute learning method for mobile terminals.

1. With each learning unit completed in seven minutes, learners can quickly learn a new concept or function;
2. Each learning unit has seven design elements guidance questions, concepts, methods, learning strategies, resources, tests, and learning suggestions;
3. Seven elements of presentation: audio files, e-books, courseware, online courses, discussions, Q&A, and certifications.

The OUC Faculty of Education will provide learning support services and respond to the problems encountered by African learners, in order to ensure that they will be able to grasp the concepts, tools, and methods of online teaching and learning and successfully complete tests and earn certificates.

Mr. Tao Zhan, director of UNESCO IITE, presided over the meeting. Ms. Yumiko Yokozeki, director of UNESCO IICBA, Mr. Ronghuai Huang, director of UNESCO INRULED, and Ms.Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, director of the Multi-Sectoral Office in Nairobi for East Africa, all delivered speeches. The course development team was responsible for presenting the course on the learning platform.

Written by Hou Songyan, photo by Zhang Jun, OUC