Apr 25 , 2020

Winner System, a subsidiary of Winner Industrial Engineering, has developed the Online Learning Management System to help higher education students and teachers continue classes during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns.

A team of three experts developed the platform on the existing e-Student system, allowing students and teachers to continue classes online from wherever they can connect to the internet. The original e-Student system was launched seven years ago and has been used by institutions of higher education. Winner System has upgraded it to an e-learning management system.

Originally, the e-Student system was used for admissions, registration, adding and dropping courses, grade submissions and graduation. Currently, eight universities, including Meqelle, Adama Science & Technology, Madda Walabu, Ambo, and Kotebe Metropolitan universities, and Catering & Tourism Training Institute, are using the e-Student system.

With the Online Learning Management System upgrade, students, teachers and higher education institutions will benefit, according to Filimona Berhanu, CEO of Winner System. The company was established to supply higher education institutions with tech solutions and is a subsidiary of Winner Industrial Engineering, which was founded in 2010. Currently, it employs 15 staff.

The Online Learning Management System, which was launched two weeks ago, took 15 days to develop, and currently, Meqelle and Adama Science & Technology universities have started using the upgraded online system for their students and teachers.

PhD and postgraduate students have more access to technology than others and are making good use of it, according to Yemane Seged, business application administration and development team leader at Meqelle University.

The system that is accessed through the internet will be monitored and regulated by the universities who are using the system.

The new system has features that allow the sharing of course materials; uploading video, audio and PDF materials; submitting individual and group assignments; and chatting online, among others.

It has been more than five years since Meqelle University started to use e-Student and two weeks since students started using the upgraded Online Learning Management System, according to Yemane.

The government closed all private and public schools, including universities, due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic to limit transmission of the virus. Since the closure, students have returned home from all universities. Elementary and high school students are also staying at home and following class through a television programme transmitted by the Ministry of Education.

If there is good communication between students and teachers through the system, it is possible to shorten the time of courses when students return to school, according to Abebe Girma, lecturer and associate dean for research at Adama Science & Technology University.

It has been three years since the University started using the e-Student system. The University officially announced to their students the use of the system on its Facebook page.

“I gave my students various assignments and course materials,” said Abebe.

Universities who were using the e-Student system before are not required to re-register their students on the platform.

Teachers and students who were already using the system can continue classes online using their existing accounts and passwords, according to Filimona.

Winner System has also upgraded the digital payment system on the current e-Student platform.

For the current fiscal year, the country allocated 50.6 billion Br for education, which covers 13pc of the federal budget for the 50 public universities and 38 teacher education colleges throughout the country.

Experts in the field of information communication technology believe that the upgraded system has various advantages in terms of affordability, accessibility and feasibility.

Students with no internet access account for less than ten percent of the group, according to Alemu Setargew, chief technical assistant at the University of Gonder, who believes that most of the students that joined universities have access to the internet.

"The system is beneficial, it doesn't have a physical limitation, and it can be accessed anytime," he said.

Teachers can follow up on the progress of their students on the system, because it can track students' activities, according to Alemu.

PUBLISHED ON Apr 25,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1043]

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