Words: Hastings Ndebvu
The Zambia Research and Education Network (ZAMREN) has assisted at least 22 member institutions install the virtual teaching and learning management platform, Moodle, to help lecturers and students sustain teaching and learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition, ZAMREN is also hosting all the 22 Moodle instances of the member institutions at its Network Operating Center (NOC) for free until December 2020 as an incentive to encourage more members to install and use the platform.
The NREN’s System Administrator Henry Simfukwe says since universities closed in Zambia due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ZAMREN has been engaging members on how they can effectively use the platform.
“During the Covid-19 period, ZAMREN has assisted schools and colleges to implement Moodle. This assistance involved conducting online training workshops for ICT staff on how to manage the system and for teaching staff on how to add content and deliver online classes. Each institution’s online training was conducted over a period of 4 days. Institutions were also helped with basic customization to the platform to fit their operations and processes,” said Simfukwe.
“All the 22 Moodle instances are hosted by ZAMREN at its NOC, so this caused an increase in bandwidth at the NOC and at institutions that are doing a lot of video conferencing,” added Simfukwe.
Universities in Zambia closed in March 2020 following an upsurge of Covid-19 cases in the country. On 11 September 2020government announced that schools could fully open following the partial opening of universities for final year students since July 2020.