Last Wednesday night I get a call from my colleague Richard, who has been working night and day. He is in the eLearning centre when I arrive in the morning and when I go home in the evening. He calls me to tell me to arrive to work by 7:30am the next morning because we need to go to Kampala to train incoming law students on Moodle. I am the Moodle person so it is me who must go also.
Early the next morning I arrive to the UCU, Mukono campus to meet my colleague and we get into an all-terrain truck to travel to the Kampala campus. I meet the legal school’s eLearning representative and we chat as we proceed on our journey to Kampala on the back roads, because the Jinja-Kampala road is clogged with traffic. Joshy tells me of all her experiences in conducting courses through covid as we bounce around on the rough road so hard we have to pause because the words aren’t even coming out properly due to the rigorous bouncing. She tells me of the student who had fantastic grades until after Covid occurred and her father was laid-off from work and her mother was diagnosed with cancer. So, the student did the only responsible thing she knew to do, she sold her laptop and her cell-phone to pay for her mother’s treatment. Joshy recounted the ways she, as an instructor, worked around the network issues posed by remote villages. We discussed sharing knowledge and formalizing lessons learned.
We arrive at Kampala campus and Richard and I immediately begin scanning for network options. The wifi is one bar. Richard finds his way to the IT department. We discuss options. I highly recommend we find a way to get network so that we can do a hands-on training. He agrees and we relocate ourselves and 50 students to the computer room, which is set up with desktops. Everyone crowds in: 2 to a desktop. The computer room’s network fails. Richard and I look at each other. Richard quickly decides to purchase 5 gigs on his cellphone and makes it a hotspot. Without prompting, the students find the hotspot on their smartphones. I quickly put together a demo course. Richard and I and the IT guy demo the basic operating systems and the learning management system. The students follow along. Ultimately, the training is a success. But it nearly wasn’t for so many different reasons.