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Isaiah T. Awidi

PhD candidate
Faculty of Education and Arts

Determination and a dream

While my passion for using technology to support learning and work performance began in 1993, the door to pursuing a career in technology support shut on me several times. Even though everything around me made me feel I was wasting my time and energy, I was determined to make it.

In my first job, I had observed that though computers can be used to improve work performance, most staff under-utilise their computer resources, while students spent much of their time in non-learning activities. Having grown up in a deprived community, where most smart people did not have the learning opportunities that I had, I felt that introducing computer into such communities really could give people the opportunity to develop their skills and improve their lives.

Although my one-time head of department and some academics told me that I could not develop a career in that area, I was determined to study on my own and look for opportunities to achieve my dream. In 2000, the Director of the Business College and Dean of the Graduate School of the University of Ghana gave me the opportunity to do an MBA in Management Information Systems. Successfully developing a Students Residence Management Information System for halls of residence for my thesis project rekindled my career dreams were.

My Interest in research sprang to life again, when my head of department gave me the opportunity to investigate the computer training needs of staff and students interested in computer literacy. That was when I began to explore e-learning as one of the best approaches to educational delivery, enabling people in deprived communities to use computers to develop their skills and competence. in 2003, I gained experience by managing the implementation of Integrated Tertiary Software (ITS) for the university’s human resources department. The challenges of training mature staff to migrate from manual operations into a technology-driven work place, encouraged me to use alternative methods of getting them to learn independently with little or no supervision.

Later, I had the opportunity to do an MSc in Educational Technology in the Netherlands. My research project on an ICT-enabled Flexible Learning System for Higher Education in Ghana reinforced and highlighted the possibility of integrating technology into teaching and learning. By teaching part-time and using students e-mail addresses to communicate and send teaching materials, I began pursuing opportunities to scale up the integration of technology into teaching and learning.

When I had no funding to pursue my career, ECU gave me an opportunity to do a PhD in Education and Art focusing on educational technology. My thesis topic is E-learning implementation strategies for ICT challenged environments. ECU has exposed me to several opportunities including conferences. ECU resources and its staff aimed to develop the total person to achieve his or her career goals. I believe that when you have determination, ECU can help achieve your dream.

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