Nairobi scholar visits UHCL to continue work on establishing international partnership
University of Houston-Clear Lake has been expanding its study abroad options for students to include United States International University-Africa in Nairobi. To facilitate the two universities’ ultimate goal of being able to offer joint degrees, Philip Machoka, instructor of information systems and technology, spent 12 days as a visiting scholar at UH-Clear Lake to learn more about the university’s technology infrastructure.
“I have been shadowing and training alongside instructional designers in the course development and support unit in University Computing and Telecommunication,” said Machoka. While on campus, he learned more about how UHCL uses Blackboard, a learning content management system.
“We are already using Blackboard at home, but not to the extent it’s being used at UHCL. We’d like to set up the office, find out the best practices from UHCL, incorporate them as we set it up and put in the processes, and the begin developing online courses,” Machoka said.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dawit Woldu, who has been laying the groundwork for a study abroad program for UHCL students at USIU, said that one of the ultimate goals of the two universities’ collaboration is to create joint degree offerings using Blackboard as the main medium for online instruction. “Once this infrastructure is built, we would like to create joint degrees from any of our colleges,” he said.
Machoka said that as he was shadowing the team in UCT, he was learning more instruction and technology components of Blackboard. “When I return, it will be about knowledge transfer,” he said. “I will train the faculty and my staff, who will be the ones to support online learning. Our side needs to be fine-tuned, so that a Kenyan student can log into a class here, or vice-versa. It’s our hope that soon, USIU and UHCL students and faculty can work collaboratively.”
Woldu and Professor of Sociology Mike McMullen traveled to Nairobi last summer to assess the feasibility of taking students on a short-term study abroad trip to Kenya. An inaugural two-week study trip is planned for UHCL students this summer.
For more information about UHCL’s Education Abroad programs online.