The College of Agricultural Management and Rural Development (COLAMRUD), recently held a 2-day Refreshers’ Workshop for academic staff in the College at the Postgraduate School Auditorium. The workshop was the fallout of the Dean of COLAMRUD’s attendance at the Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES) International Dean’s Course that was designed for newly-appointed Deans and Heads of Departments from Asia and Africa in Osnabruck, Germany.

Declaring open the event themed, “Using Digital Communication Technologies in Teaching and Learning”, the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, said that the training workshop was very timely and highly relevant, adding that the participants would benefit immensely. Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Oluyemisi Eromosele, the Acting Vice-Chancellor stated that the workshop could be extended to all academic staff in the University, so as to keep them abreast of best international practices in teaching and learning. The Dean of COLAMRUD, Professor Bolanle Akeredolu-Ale, noted the importance of technology in teaching as a vital skill for academic staff, stressing that paper-based work should be drastically reduced. She stated that such was a waste of resources in the 21st century education, admonishing academics to be technologically savvy. Professor Akeredolu-Ale, who is also the Chairperson, Committee of Deans and Directors (CODAD) of the University, charged academics not to be yesterday learners and today’s teachers.

Professor Akeredolu-Ale, who stated that 97 per cent of students preferred to receive lectures via digital channels rather than from a non-digital source, added that 30 per cent of students could not do without technology for 10 minutes. According to her, “The situation is not only with us in Nigeria but all over the world”. She, however, described Blended Learning, as a combination of different web-based technologies and also the different pedagogical approaches. According to her, it could also be a combination of any form of instructional technology with actual job tasks in order to improve learning transfer.

Highlighting the many benefits of Blended Learning, the Professor said that it enhances pedagogic richness, accessibility to knowledge, promotion of social interactions, ease of revision as well as reinforcement of students’ learning autonomy. Others include the stimulation of reflective thinking and powers of research. Professor Akeredolu-Ale, who stated that the University needed smart teachers to teach smart students, noted that academics should possess some digital skills, to be able to function optimally as lecturers, stressing that technology had not only turned the world into a global village, but also placed the world on everyone’s fingertips.