FARA OER Experience by Aissetou YAYE

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I am a lecturer at the University of Niamey. I took a sabbatical leave to work with FARA as the Interim Program Officer of its program called SCARDA (Strengthning capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa). In 2005, the Francophone University Agency offered one year Master Degree distance learning course to Francophone Faculty staff on using the NICT in training. At the beginning of course, there was a three day gathering of all cparticipants to show them how to use the ACOLAD Plateform on which the course would take place. ACOLAD ACOLAD Training Platform is a the Strasbourg (France)University Portal with diffferent rooms (Library, Class room, Student team room, Student's office, Profesor's office, etc.). I benefited from that course and at the end, I developped a training course material on Agroforestry. I tested for two weeks two activities of this training course material with 12 of my students who had already some computer and Internet skills. The test portal is Strasbourg testing site. As the course owner and coordinator, I could register the sudents to the course. I also registered two colleagues who had already taken the Master degree program, to be the tutors. The testing students were using computers with free Internet connexion located in the Numerical Francophone Campus of Niamey. The tutors used their office computers and could communicate with the students using the chat, Forum discussions and Email tools. My Master thesis defense was done through telephone and was about this test and the outcomes. The students were entouthiastic with this new teaching and learning approach that they had never experienced. One of the weaksesses of my training course was the low interactivity involved in the exercises, and the insufficiency of links to external sources.