KAMPALA – The Makerere University Directorate of Information and Communication Technology Support (DICTS) has asked the university staff to use social media as an enabler of effective communication, eLearning and cyber-crime prevention.
At a workshop held at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) Conference Hall Director DICTS, Mr. Samuel Paul Mugabi, said it was aimed at discussing ways through which Makerere University staff can embrace the professional usage of social media tools to improve the Institution’s online brand, boost its visibility as well as harmonize the use of social media as a learning tool.
“Social media has evolved from a chat application to a social-economic issue that can be used as a marketing tool for institutions. It is important to tap into social media’s potential of enabling effective communication, education, marketing, and governance,” said Mr. Mugabi.
He noted that with over 3.5billion users, social media is a key enabler of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) thus contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) which is aimed at “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
In a presentation on “Makerere University Communication Policy and Social Media”, the Principal Public Relations Officer, Ms. Ritah Namisango urged participants to ensure that the messages disseminated on institutional social media platforms and websites protect the University’s brand. She called upon the audience to use multiple channels of communication so as to enhance the visibility of Makerere and promote advances in teaching, learning, research, and innovations.
“Makerere University’s social media platforms should be used to communicate institutional messages in line with the vision, mission, and core values. Institutional communication should be in line with the Makerere Communication Policy to provide a pro-active approach to information management and dissemination, strengthen the University’s image and build goodwill among the stakeholders,” said Ms. Namisango.
Defining social media as an enabler of teaching and learning, Assoc. Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Deputy Principal College of Education and External Studies (CEES) said that social media applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook, promote student-student and student-teacher interaction.
He added that these also motivate lonely distance learners, create a sense of belonging and support learning anytime.
“Social media fosters positive relationships between the lecturers and students. It should be recalled that interacting using social media is less formal and it creates a friendly environment between the students and faculty members. It is such interactions that will motivate the students and encourage effective learning,” said Assoc. Prof. Muyinda.
Mr. Hussein K. Isingoma, Ag. Commissioner Forensics and Risk Advisory, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development urged digital marketers and social media managers to acquaint themselves with soft skills so as to manage relationships effectively.
“A combination of soft skills and technical skills is at the center of career success. Success depends on the mastery of soft skills which include time management, discipline, conflict resolution, acknowledging colleague’s effort among others” said Mr. Isingoma.