Online Laboratories: Enhancing the Quality of Higher Education in Africa

Online laboratories have been adopted by the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) - Nigeria, Makerere University (MAK) - Uganda and the University of Dar-es-Salaam (UDSM) -Tanzania to enhance the delivery and quality of higher education. Utilizing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) iLabs Shared Architecture (ISA), grant-related teams at each of the three universities partook research into the development of online laboratories (iLabs) to support Science and Technology curricula. This has provided students with a low-cost, flexible, convenient and reliable experimentation platform. The iLab-Africa project has also opened up specific beneficial areas viz.: collaboration between universities, staff-student exchanges between these universities and MIT, funding opportunities, the possibility of collaboration between universities in different countries on the use of scarce laboratory equipment, and the collaboration of students between universities in different countries on specific laboratories. This paper discusses the application of iLabs in improving the teaching and learning processes at each of the partner Universities and highlights the offshoot advantages arising from the same. It thus lays a case for adoption of the technology throughout Africa to support curricula and promote inter-institutional collaboration.
Online Laboratories, Higher Education in Africa
Akinwale, OB, Ayodele, KP, Jubril, AM, Kehinde, LO, Osasona, O., Akinwunmi, O., ... & Musa, KM (2011, May). Online Laboratories: Enhancing the Quality of Higher Education in Africa. In Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of Universities, Stellenbosch, South Africa (Vol. 31).