Bridging the Digital Divide: Overcoming Connectivity and Time Zone Challenges in virtual education

June 19, 2024
Emma Kashweka & Eveline Ndatilifa

Eveline Ndatilifa and Emma Kashweka, played a pivotal role in "A Global Learning Space," advancing collaborative teaching methods and global educational practices. From overcoming network issues to mastering digital tools, their experience in the UniPID Global Education Development course was both challenging and rewarding.


We, Eveline Ndatilifa and Emma Kashweka, Staff Development Fellows representing the University of Namibia. We were actively engaged in the EDUCASE project, specifically as student consultants in the initiative called "A Global Learning Space.” In addition, we participated in the online Global Education Development (GED) course. Our main responsibility in these initiatives was to assist in the advancement and execution of comprehensive and collaborative teaching methods, closely collaborating with all consortium members. Within the EDUCASE project, titled "A Global Learning Space," we collaborated with other partners to establish a comprehensive and vibrant learning environment. This program aimed to promote worldwide involvement and improve educational experiences by incorporating a wide range of viewpoints and specialized knowledge. Our participation encompassed offering our views as student consultants, enabling us to contribute to the objectives of the project while acquiring significant experience in educational development.

This blog intends to disseminate our acquired experiences and profound understanding from the GED course while contemplating the difficulties and prospects in the realm of global education development. Our intention is to actively participate in current dialogues and initiatives aimed at enhancing educational practices and policies on a global scale.

Overview of the Virtual Course

The expectations we had for this online course encompassed the ability to adapt the schedule to our needs, the convenience of accessing it from any location with an internet connection, and the possibility of having a wide variety of participants and teachers. In addition, we expected to have dynamic lectures, stimulating conversations, and chances to collaborate with classmates using online platforms.

The course has successfully met these objectives by providing exceptional content through a variety of mediums, including videos, readings, and interactive tasks. Virtual courses utilize technology to offer engaging learning experiences, incorporating virtual podcasts, Padlet, blog writing, Miro boards, and multimedia presentations like infographics. The flexibility of being able to access course materials at any time and pace was a notable benefit. The course included progressive teaching techniques like flipped classrooms, virtual breakout sessions, group/pair assignments, guest lecturers, expert panels, and peer-to-peer feedback systems. These factors contributed to the preservation of participant engagement and the cultivation of a feeling of connection, even in the virtual setting.

Nevertheless, as active participants, we encountered difficulties in sustaining involvement without direct interpersonal contact and encountered sensations of seclusion from the educational community. In addition, technological difficulties such as inadequate internet connectivity disturbed the learning process and led to feelings of dissatisfaction. In general, our experience with the virtual course was characterized by convenience and flexibility, while it required active engagement, self-control, and efficient communication. Notwithstanding these difficulties, the prospects for engagement and cooperation among participants were quite beneficial.

Challenges Faced

Engaging in the GED course posed numerous difficulties. An important concern was the recurring network issues we had, which impeded our ability to participate. This underscores the pressing necessity for Namibia to enhance its network connectivity in order to attain Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education). The erratic and frequently subpar network access in Namibia hindered our capacity to effectively participate in the course. Uninterrupted internet connectivity is crucial for engaging in online education, and these interruptions highlight the existence of a digital gap. It is imperative to address this matter in order to ensure equitable access to educational opportunities for all students, irrespective of their geographical location. In addition, dealing with students from different regions of the world presented difficulties associated with variations in time zones. Facilitating meetings and conversations was challenging, frequently resulting in communication and collaboration setbacks. These delays might obstruct the advancement of collaborative efforts and hamper the overall educational experience. Implementing tactics to handle these temporal disparities, such as customizable scheduling time and asynchronous communication technologies, can alleviate these challenges and improve worldwide cooperation in online education.

Skills Development and Digital Technologies

Upon reflection, the virtual course made a substantial contribution to the development of our skills in various significant ways. An invaluable component of the experience was the acquisition of digital literacy skills, such as mastering the utilisation of Padlet and other interesting platforms that were utilized throughout the course. Engaging with different online learning platforms, actively participating in virtual debates, and effectively utilising collaboration tools have significantly improved my competency in utilising digital technologies, which are crucial in today's interconnected society. In addition, we have cultivated robust abilities in time management and self-discipline. The virtual course's flexibility necessitated efficient calendar management and self-motivation in the absence of a typical classroom framework. The capacity to autonomously regulate and prioritize tasks is essential in both professional and personal contexts.

In addition, the course enhanced our abilities to communicate effectively across different cultures. Collaborating with colleagues from various cultural backgrounds allowed us to get insights into other viewpoints and methods of communication. This experience has enhanced our ability to adjust and be attuned to cultural variations, which is extremely valuable in our interconnected and worldwide society. Finally, the course enhanced my problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Successfully addressing obstacles such as connectivity problems and synchronizing activities across several time zones necessitated the use of innovative strategies and flexible problem-solving. These talents are extremely relevant in any situation that requires ingenuity and adaptability. In summary, the virtual course not only imparted fresh knowledge to us but also furnished us with a wide range of abilities that are extremely valuable in contemporary digital society.


Our involvement in the GED course and the EDUCASE project has equipped us with essential knowledge and skills for educational progress. We want to use these valuable observations in our next efforts and continue working with other organizations to promote inclusive and equitable education for all individuals. Enhancing network infrastructure and devising inventive strategies to address time zone obstacles are crucial measures in establishing a more comprehensive and efficient online learning environment. How can we utilize technology and foster international collaboration to close these disparities and guarantee equal access to high-quality education for every student?