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Anthology-TETFUND Symphony: Worthy of Applause?

Learn about Anthology’s Learning Management System which provides access to online academic resources in universities and other tertiary education institutions in Nigeria.

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by Content Partner
Anthology-TETFUND Symphony: Worthy of Applause?
Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu / Unsplash

Students of over 250 tertiary institutions in Nigeria are raring to get on board what promises to be an immersive engagement with the globally acclaimed Anthology education technology (EdTech) learning experience. Online learning is becoming the standard way of learning in other climes and Anthology’s learning management system is a critical element toward progress on a more connected learning approach which many Nigerian students, unfortunately, are still grappling to become fully acquainted with.

Sequel to the choice by the Tertiary Education Fund, (TETFund), of Anthology’s Learning Management System – Blackboard Learn – to provide access to online academic resources in universities and other tertiary education institutions in Nigeria, the EdTech space has been abuzz with predictions from industry players, scholars, administrators, and others as to the bandwidth of possibilities to expect from the engagement.

One conclusion drawn by many is that Nigeria’s sheer numbers in terms of students, schools, and its general population vis-a-vis the country’s acknowledged tendency to churn out brilliant and easily adaptable students, is bound to turn the tide, in time, in Nigeria’s favour and make it the African hub for Anthology. 

For many who wonder why the excitement about Anthology’s entrance into Nigeria’s tertiary education sector, the answer should come in the reason behind TETFund’s selection of ‘Blackboard Learn’ by Anthology. The selection was part of measures deemed necessary to bridge the digital skills gap in universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in Nigeria. 

That divide is quite a wide one as a good number of Nigerian students get into school with nothing more than a basic relationship with the digital medium. They are more conversant with the traditional ways of learning. Incidentally, the name Blackboard harks back to those times, when a white chalk (made from limestone) was wielded by the Almighty teacher in a physical classroom setting, and the notes and sums were written on the blackboard. Woe betides the unfortunate ill-prepared student who gets called to the blackboard to answer a question! 

In that closed-in material space, which is yet the lot of a majority of Nigerian students, quick learners tend to excel. Slow learners learn to sit at the back where they can more easily avoid the risk of being summoned to the blackboard, except for when a particular teacher is determined to ‘put them to the sword’. This, as everyone who’s been through school knows, does not in any way engender confidence. 

One must give kudos, therefore, to TETFund (and the Nigerian government by extension) for going this route which enables Nigerian students the competitive muscle to vie with their peers from everywhere else in today’s knowledge economy. Our teeming mass of students has shown the desire and capacity to embrace without equivocation the digital skills that define the age. What had been lacking was policy and executive enablement in that regard. And now they have it. 

The company behind Blackboard Learn has been supporting students around the world for more than twenty years.  The Anthology of today is a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle. The company was created through the merger of four of the world’s leading education technology companies: Blackboard, Campus Management, Campus Labs, and iModules. This fusion of technologies and peoples enables Anthology to provide dynamic, data-informed experiences to the global education community so that learners and educators can achieve their goals. 

Speaking after Anthology won multiple prizes at the Platinum Campus Technology 2022 New Product Awards, J. D. White, Chief Product Officer at Anthology remarked: "Over the past year, the Anthology team has made significant investments and worked tirelessly to ensure our products meet the evolving needs of students, instructors and institutions." He further stated, "This recognition demonstrates the significance our products have in positively impacting institutions of all types and learners at every step of their journey in higher education." 

Speaking during a recent courtesy call on him by Anthology’s senior executives, a delighted Education Minister Prof. Tahir Mamman said: “We are very happy to have Anthology here on this very important project. I am a very firm believer in technology. Our hands-on President Tinubu is in a hurry for progress, and education is the bedrock of development. We are very proud of TETfund which is one of the very efficient national institutions.” 

TETfund’s Executive Secretary, Arc. Sunny Echono reiterated that  ‘Blackboard Learn’ by Anthology will “Not only promote uniformity of learning across the country but also drive global standards. It will leapfrog our educational ecosystem. Indeed, we envisage that excess capacity will be extended to private institutions. Our benefitting institutions are very enthusiastic about Anthology’s ‘Blackboard Learn’.”

L-R: Nigerian Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman (SAN) speaking with the President and Chairman of Anthology, Mr. Joe Belenardo during a courtesy visit from the Anthology and TETFund team in Abuja recently.

Anthology’s Chief Revenue Officer Joe Belenardo was also very enthusiastic following the meeting. “Our mission is to help learners and educators achieve their goals. We believe that LMS technology has a fundamental role to play in helping higher education provide quality learning experiences for students of all backgrounds,” said Belenardo. “We expect this important partnership to expand over the coming years and become a true competitive advantage for TETFund’s beneficiary institutions and the larger Nigerian education community.” 

Oleg Figlin, Anthology’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director of EMEA & APAC, said “We are deeply honoured to collaborate with the TETFund in bringing a robust and user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) to its educational landscape. The deployment of Blackboard Learn by Anthology will play a key role in bridging the geographical and digital divide for millions of students.” 

Adedeji Michael Ladipo, Country Director and Head of Business, Pole Global Marketing (PGM), Anthology’s Channel Partner for Nigeria, added “Blackboard Learn will onboard 2.2 million Nigerian students when it goes live. In addition to aiding teaching, it will also ease the mode of learning. Additionally, we see Nigeria as a potential hub, and so envisage the citing of a world-class Online Learning research centre. We also are looking forward to a TETfund educational tech fair which will be a first of its kind here. This will produce national champions to join other winners in the 2024 edition of our global EdTech fair in the United States of America.” 

One may ask “Why learning management systems?” The digital environment of a Learning Management System may share similar features with traditional teaching and learning, however, the LMS has distinctive attributes that make it convenient and even superior to traditional classroom sessions in today’s world. 

To the observant, the migration of learning in academic circles worldwide to the digital platform mirrors the migration of social interaction (individuals and communities) to the digital platform as well. While there are social issues observable with absentee individuals who ignore people in their physical orbit, preferring rather to interface with others who are miles away in physical distance, digital learning has been configured such that students and their teachers are in the present, so to speak, depending on what is suitable and prescribed for greater learning efficiency. This works out to the advantage of both parties. 

And that is why many institutions around the world are accelerating their digital journey, to ensure they reap the immense benefits it holds. Anthology foresees an increase in this transformation over the coming years and the certitude of it becoming a competitive advantage to those, like the TETFund beneficiary institutions and the larger education community who plug in and stay plugged into it. 

Traditionally, tertiary educational institutions have delivered their flexible teaching programmes to students with the aid of print-based course materials and with limited information technology support such as email and electronic discussion lists. However, with recent advances in digital technology, institutions are increasingly exploring the potential to use information and communication technology (ICT) to facilitate, on a wider scale, their flexible teaching needs. 

Flexible approaches aim to provide learners with greater choice over when, where, and how they learn by adopting various flexible delivery strategies such as distance education, online learning, and mixed mode delivery, self-paced or self-directed learning strategies. 

It is this that has given rise to the adoption of Learning Management Systems (LMS) by many institutions globally as they help instructors deliver materials to students, administer tests and other assignments, track student progress, and manage record-keeping. Such systems which are ICT interventions that aid teaching and learning, also help students to interact with General Administration, faculties, e-libraries, their tutors, fellow students, and in other cases, interdepartmental collaboration with the adaptive tool to minimize plagiarism. 

Anthology is one of the largest education technology companies in the world, with 150 million students across over 4000 universities across 80+ countries. That’s a lot of experience under its belt sourced from a multiplicity of cultures and learning environments. 

Blackboard Learn by Anthology is a modern, intuitive Learning Management System that leverages pedagogical best practices to create flexible and inclusive online learning experiences. This includes market-leading communication tools, assessment functionalities that reduce stress, features that foster self-expression, and embedded insights for continuous optimization. 

The solution creates a supportive learning environment that empowers every student to pursue their goals and maximize their potential. Through a best-in-market mobile experience, consistent course navigation, a test experience that reduces stress, and inline insights to keep them on track, Learn Ultra puts learners first and drives student success. 

Blackboard Learn Ultra provides a mobile experience that makes it easy for students to jump in and access their courses whenever and however they want. By prioritizing mobile-first design principles and designing our LMS with accessibility in mind, we’ve created a learning experience that is consistent across all devices and browsers, with regular testing to ensure performance. 

Instructors across Nigeria will also benefit from the learning management system. With intuitive course design, enhanced assessment options, flexible grading, in-line insights on student progress, and powerful integrations with hundreds of their favorite teaching tools, Learn Ultra provides all the functionality that instructors need to support great outcomes for their students. 

Instructors are supported to both create new content and re-use or re-purpose existing material, saving time and improving efficiency. 

It is no wonder, therefore, that prestigious institutions worldwide, including the University of Leeds, Northern Illinois University, Durham University, University of Northampton, and Cardiff University are just a few of the premier institutions that rely on the features and benefits of the Blackboard learning management system from Anthology.

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