Online Teaching in Universities in Developing Countries: Theory and Lessons

J. K. Tanui, F. M. Mwema

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Higher learning institutions in developing countries still have many challenges with regard to offering quality education. The main challenge facing these institutions is the lack of human, physical and technical resources for delivering the services. However, in Kenya for instance, the government has made a great effort to improve the quality of learning in these institutions. The government is increasing the financial allocation for building infrastructure and facilities required by these institutions. The institutions have also partnered and collaborated with other universities and colleges in developed countries. Through such collaborations, the institutions in the developing world have been able to benefit in terms of research activities, staff capacity building through staff mobility program, and student exchange programs. The staff and students gain by using the laboratory equipment in their partnering institutions in the developed countries.

Most of the universities in developing countries offer classical engineering programs such as mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering and civil engineering. In addition to these main courses, sub disciplines and other engineering disciplines, such as mechatronics engineering, geospatial engineering, biomedical engineering, biomechanical engineering, telecommunication engineering, etc., are also offered. A learner in these courses requires a good theoretical background, foundation knowledge and practical skills. This is normally achieved when the number of students in a class is low, typically between 30 and 40. The lower the number the better the learning activity since the teacher is able to consider the learning need of each learner. However, this is sometime not the case in developing countries since the number of students in a class is higher, usually about 100 or above [1].

The main mode of teaching engineering courses in developing countries is the use of traditional teaching methods such as the lecture approach, tutorial-oriented, practical-oriented, project-based learning, etc. In the recent past, the use of technology such as instructional videos, computer tools, flipped classroom, virtual laboratory, among others, has gained popularity in many universities. However, implementation of these methods were still at development and piloting stage before the onset of Covid-19. The Covid-19 pandemic changed the perspective of learning in universities from face-to-face to online learning. Due to necessity and the need to stay financially afloat, even institutions that were not prepared have embraced this technology. Therefore, the use of technology is inevitable for the survival of institutions in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEngineering Pedagogy Towards Outcome-Based Education
EditorsKaushik Kumar
Place of PublicationBoca Raton, US
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003083160
ISBN (Print)9780367537432, 9780367537456
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

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