BY: PAMELA BOAMAH
The Marketing and Digital Marketing as well as the Journal Establishment, Management/Maintenance and Sustainability virtual workshops organized by the Association of African Universities (AAU) will run during the period of the 1st – 21st of December 2020.
Dr. Makuku specified that the 2 workshops would run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for 2 hours each (10am GMT-12noon GMT and 2pm GMT – 4pm GMT).
The two educative workshops were mainly designed by Dr. Violet Makuku who is also a Facilitator and Workshops Coordinator at the AAU. She was assisted by Mr. Trust P. Nhokovedzo, a digital Marketing Consultant and a founder of Afro Digital, Pan University and Camlock Digital Marketing. Mr Karanja Maina co-facilitates the Journal Establishment works.
The Marketing and Digital Marketing Workshop is meant to assist institutions to build Digital Marketing frameworks and the Journal Establishment, Management/Maintenance Sustainability workshop is to support the establishment of institutional journals. The overall motive behind these workshops has always been to take African Higher and Tertiary Education to the highest level. “Some institutions are not establishing journals not because they do not want to but because they do not have the capacity to,” Dr. Makuku remarked.
The highly interactive first workshop had 67 participants from the United States, Namibia, Liberia, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ethiopia, and Ghana participated in the workshop. Participants were free to make contributions, ask questions, and clarify issues. The 56 participants from Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, United States, Mexico, Cameroon, Egypt, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Ghana also took part in the Journal Establishment, Management/Maintenance Sustainability workshop.
Some aspects discussed during the Marketing and Digital Marketing workshop included the steps for building an effective marketing framework and the Digital Strategy Development. Mr. Nhokovedzo explained that most people make the mistake of thinking about the marketing platforms before considering what the organization wants to achieve.
Dr Makuku indicated the reasons why institutional journals should be established and the main one is to complete the research process. She added that, “Some end up not completing their research studies, some finish but do not publish because they cannot meet the requirements of particular journals”.
Some key issues the Facilitator and Workshop Coordinator raised were how education can survive and the steps to be taken to ensure its survival in this pandemic era. One of these steps she mentioned is the online studies. “If institutions do not shape up, they will ship out.” The digital marketing workshop would enable them to enroll students who are their lifeline. Regarding the issue of courses that are difficult to handle online, Dr. Makuku advised that institutions with students pursuing online practical-oriented programs could go to nearby institutions in their countries for practical sessions.
However, the institutions may need to have Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on how they would work together to assist students. She added such institutions could also engage part time supervisors and monitors in countries where they have students, so that they assist and monitor their practical work. Dr Makuku indicated that more software, applications and platforms for online practical-oriented programmes were being designed. Initially they could be very expensive but they become affordable with time.
Dr. Makuku also told the participants attending the Journal Establishment workshop that they were supposed to establish their own African institutional journals and safeguard their quality instead of publishing in journals of other continents.
During her interaction with the participants, she mentioned that if journals are managed by individuals, they become dormant as soon as the individuals get promoted to professorship levels since individuals manage them to gain promotion. Journals can also be unique through including photography work and written narrations of students’ experiences during field trips. One of the participants, Prof. Raymond Terry added that conduction short time surveys and commentary statements about critical issues for inclusion in journals, can also make some journals unique.