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Students flood UNILAG, YABATECH campuses despite online classes

The University of Lagos (UNILAG) and the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) are holding only online classes. However, the students flood the campus daily. OLABISI SALAU found out why.

After a lecturer died of COVID-19 on January 24, 2021, the Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) shut down its hostels and moved classes online.  However, students are still very present on the campus.

When the University of Lagos (UNILAG) resumed after the nine-month Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike on January 25, it went straight to online classes for the students. But like YABATECH, UNILAG students were all over the university campus when The Nation visited.

Oluwatoyin Aderopo of YABATECH said she was in school because she was not gaining enough from the online classes.

“I am in the school because I don’t really understand most of the questions or assignments given so we and other students come to the school to help each other understand the problems,” she said.

For Adesola Adeola of the School of Art, Design and Printing, while online classes have been fine, the practical aspects of his programme has to be done in school.

“I am a Ceramics student and the equipment needed for some of the assignments are in the school and the department.This is one of the reasons I am on the school premises most times,” Adesola said.

Rasheedat Salami from the Department of Accounting lamented that the online classes were not interactive and so do little to aid understanding.

“In most of the online classes, lecturers are only dropping notes online and expect us to understand them without any explanation. The aspects I am having issues with are the calculative courses which are Further Mathematics and Mathematics. Those two courses are difficult and the lecturers are not helping at all. So, we are forced to seek some of our seniors’help in the courses. That is why we meet in the school premises – to get tutored on the courses,” she said.

YABATECH
YABATECH Students outside the library

At UNILAG, students were  on the premises, despite that online classes had resumed.

Abiodun Owoseni of the Department of Business Administration said he was in school to take advantage of the free WI-FI to save him the cost of data he would have needed to be online.

“I came to the school premises because of the free Wi-Fi the school gives to the students to do some of the assignments online.  And this has been helpful in many of the courses,” Abiodun said.

Many other students also visit the campus to use the WI-FI.

However, accessing the UNILAG Learning Management System has not been hitch- free and has resulted in many students coming to the campus to resolve the issues.

A lecture from the Department of Education, who refused to give his name, said some students had complained of high traffic.

“Some of the students in the school are here because the online classes are having network problems. Some of the students complained of the issues to the school administration, but till now they have not been given audience,” he said.

Sharon Tolulope, an Education Management student, was one those with complaints. She lamented that the materials posted online were not easy to download.

Reacting, the Principal Assistant Registrar, Corporate Affairs, UNILAG, Mrs. Nonye Ogwuoma, said there were avenues for students to make complaints.

She said: “On the LMS platform, there is a help desk where you can lodge your complaints. I don’t know if the students have lodged their complaints there. They can write to the director, CITS; they can also write to the director, Quality Assurance.

“Because it is a new thing in the University of Lagos, there are bound to be teething problems.  As we get the complaints, we address them. There are people on ground who will attend to these problems. But we can only know problems that have been reported. Again, I hope that the problem is not as a result of the students not doing the right thing because sometimes by the time we begin to address them, we discover that it is the students’ problem.  They can even talk to the HODs.”

While the university is not restricting students from coming on campus, Mrs. Ogwuoma said: “The university is certainly restricting crowd gathering.”

On Wednesday, last week, the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university organised a webinar for lecturers to help them transit from face-to-face to online teaching. Entitled: “Opportunities and Challenges in Online Teaching”, it was facilitated by Dr. Susie Schofield of the University of Dundee, Scotland.

Dr. Schofield, a member of Scottish Higher Education Developer (SHED), is responsible for the design and delivery face to face and distance of various courses including application of educational theories, teaching methods among others at Dundee.

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