Yazjemal Rejepova, a teacher and aspirant of Polytechnic Institute discuss the ways of digitizing their paper materials with colleagues and PICTT staff at the Internet Center for Interactive Multimedia Learning

By Maggie Farrand

Until recently, access to interactive e-learning classes was only a dream for students of the Turkmen State Polytechnic Institute. Traditional teaching methods – books and lectures – were all the students had.

With the recent introduction of new e-learning technology, the gap between antiquated classroom teaching and new technological advancements is gradually closing.

Yazjemal Rejepova, a graduate student and teacher in the Economics and Finance Department at the college, believes it is essential to bring e-learning to her classroom. And other teachers from different Turkmen universities feel the same.

Throughout November and December 2010, Rejepova mastered the Internet skills, smart board, Movie Maker and CourseLab software required for the e-learning system.

Upon completion of these training courses, she developed and piloted a digital course: the “Basics of Entrepreneurship” at the Polytechnic Institute.

Development of this course was supported by the Promotion of Information and Communication Technologies in Turkmenistan (PICTT) program, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development.

50 students enroll

As a result, 50 students of the institute are now learning about Turkmenistan business opportunities through an interactive electronic course involving video and audio aids.

“CourseLab is an e-learning authoring tool that offers a programming free environment for creating high-quality interactive e-learning content which can be published on the Internet, Learning Management Systems (LMS), CD-ROMS and other devices,” says the course trainer.

“We used to listen to long lectures before,” said a group of students when asked about the new digital way of learning. “But now we attend multimedia classes with audio and video materials, prepared by our teacher.”

Today, the introduction of this interactive style of teaching has already had a great effect in classrooms – students show more interest in class and find it easier to grasp the difficult theoretical concepts of business, teachers say.

More e-learning opportunities

PICTT plans to continue collaborating with the teachers of the Polytechnic Institute with the aim of increasing the number of digital teaching curricula in Turkmen language and the quality of education available through e-learning.

At a recent conference – “Science, Engineering, and Innovative Technologies in the Epoch of Great Revival” – officials from several Turkmen universities and ministries admired the technology and expressed an interest in adapting and applying these tools to their own work.

“Is there any chance we could create a similar e-records system, including the database of teachers entirely in Turkmen language?” asked Baba Zahyrov, Rector at the Turkmen State Institute of International Relations,

The PICTT program is implemented by IREX through Counterpart International’s Global Civil Society Strengthening Leader with Associates.