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Volume I

September 2007

Distance
Education
Association of
Southern
Africa
and
Southern
African
Development
Community -

Centre for
Distance
Education

International Journal
of Open and Distance
Learning
© DEASA-SADC CDE
International
Journal of Open and
Distance Learning
Distance Education Association of Southern Africa and
Southern African Development Community -

Centre for Distance Education


International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
Volume 1 — September 2007
Editor in- - Chief Mr. Antonio Franque, Botswana College of
Professor Robert Ministry of Education, Open and Distance
Chimedza, Zimbabwe Mozambique Learning
Open University Mr. T. Thutoetsile, Dr. T. Khat,
Southern Africa Dean Faculty of
Editorial Board Development Education, National
The DEASA Research Community Centre for University of Lesotho
and Publications Com
mittee constitutes the
Editorial Board of the
Distance Education

Editorial
Mr. V. Muyatwa,
Director Department
of Distance Education,
I
journal Advisory Board Zambia
Dr. 0. S. Tau, The DEASA Executive
Chairperson DEASA Committee constitutes Dr. M. Delvaline,
Research Committee, the advisory board of Assistant Registrar
University of Botswana the journal. Centre for Open
Learning Namibia
Prof. R. M. Chimedza, Professor D. L.
Zimbabwe Open Mosoma, DEASA Mr. T. Thutoetsile,
University Chairman, Deputy Director SADC CDE—

Dr. D.H. Mohapi, Vice Chancellor and Ms L. Kolosoa,


University of Lesotho Vice Principal, Learner Lecturer Lesotho
Support and Students College of Education
Dr. Mutangira, Affairs University of
University of Swaziland

Mr. G. Mazibuko,
South Africa Principal Emlalatini,
Mrs. E. Nonyongo, Dr. P. Kurasha, Swaziland
University of South DEASA Deputy
Africa Mr. Amadeu,
Chairperson and Vice Ministry of Education,
Mr. V. Muyatwa, Chancellor, Zimbabwe Mozambique
Directorate of Open and Open University
Distance Education, Professor L. Molamu,
Dr. D. R. Tau, Registrar University of
Zambia. Executive Director,

South Africa
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface Reviewers of Editorial


Professor David Mosoma Current Articles By Professor Robert
DEASA Chairperson Page 2 Chimedza
and Editor-in-Chief
Thulaganyo Thutoetsile Page 3
Director, SADC-CDE
Page 1

Managing Learning Support Lecturing Versus


Inclusion of in a Severely Collaborative
Students with Visual Underdeveloped Learning Methods:
Impairment in Context as an analysis
Open and Distance Experienced by of learning
Education: Distance Learners preferences
challenges for Godson Gateha among mid-level
Page 19
learners management
Auxilia M. Badza and students at the
David D. Chakuchichi University of
Page7
Namibia
Trudie Frindt and
Louise Mostert
Page 30

Inter-Institutional Managing a Facilitating


Collaboration Regional Centre Interaction During
In Distance in an Open and Face-to-Face
Education: Is it Distance Learning Tutorials in Open
worthwhile? Institution Distance Learning:
Dr. Regina K. Masalela Dr. Ndaba J. Ncube Insights from the
Page 44 Page 61
Socratic Method
Stanslaus Modesto
Tichapondwa
Page 74
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Quality Assurance Teaching About the


and Quality Control Management Southern Africa
Strategies in the and Accounting Development
Zimbabwe Open Through Open Community -

University And Distance Centre for Distance


Grace T. Mukeredzi & Learning Materials:
TsitG.Ndamba
Education
g
The case of the (SADC-CDE)
Lesotho College of Thuaganyo ThutoetsHe
Education Page 111
Lineo Clementina Kolosoa
Page 99

DEASA-SADC Contributors
— CDE International Page 118
Journal of Open
and Distance
Learning
Notes to Contributors
Page 117
PREFACE

The publication of this that prevails in SADC in particular Profes


maiden journal of the among CDL institu sor Robert Chimedza
Southern African De tions, Ministries of for the arduous task of
velopment Community Education, DEASA, editing the articles in
— Centre for Distance The Commonwealth this journal. We further
Education (SADC — of Learning (CCL) and wish to thank all the
ODE) and the Distance the SADO Secretariat. peer reviewers who
Education Associa CDL institutions, and dedicated their time to
tion of Southern Africa Ministries of Education ensuring that the jour
(DEASA) is a triumph in SADC sponsored nal is a professional
for Open and Distance their employees to at publication with stan
Learning (CDL) in tend the Research dards comparable to
SADC member states. and Publication work the best in the world.
It represents an at shops conducted by
tainment of one of the SADC — ODE which Lastly we wish to pay
milestones that the re were held in 2006 in special tribute to the
gion set itself in 2005 Lusaka and Windhoek. authors whose works
when the SADC ODE — We therefore wish to are published in this
was established by applaud the political journal. SADO and in
SADC Ministers of Ed leadership and the deed Africa needs self
ucation and The Com management of min less scholars who can
monwealth of Learning istries of education contribute knowledge
(CCL) with a broad and CDL institutions in the globalised world.
mandate of building for their commitment We look forward to the
CDL capacity through to increasing access, publication of volume II
the promotion of re equity and quality of of this journal featuring
search and publication education in SADC articles from practitio
in the region. through the use of ners in Southern Afri
CDL. We also wish to can in particular and
The publication of this thank the DEASA Re the rest of the world.
journal is a tribute to search and Publication
the collaborative spirit Committee members,

Professor bavid Mosoma Thulag,Tl


i
4 toetsile
DEASA Chairperson Directfr, SADC-CDE

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


REVIEWERS OF CURRENT ARTICLES:

The Editorial Board Dr. 0. Tau, Dr. Maedza,


wishes to acknowl- Univesity of Botswana Zimbabwe Open
edge with gratitude the University
following for reviewing Dr. D. Tau, Botswana
the articles in this vol- College of Open and Dr. Glorify
ume: Distance Learning Mavundukure,
Zimbabwe Open
Professor Rungano Dr Mohapi, University University
Zvobgo, Midlands of Lesotho
State Univesity Dr. Gwarinda,
Dr. S. Chakanyuka, Zimbabwe Open
Professor Robert Zimbabwe Open University
Chimedza, Zimbabwe University
Open University Mr. Thutoetsile,
Dr. M. N. Rukuni, Southern African
Professor Bonifas Zimbabwe Open Development
Chivore, University of University Community Centre of
-

Zimbabwe Distance Education


Dr. Njini, Zimbabwe
Dr. Sukati, University Open University
of Swaziland

2 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


EDITORIAL
by Professor Robert Chimedza
Editor-in-Chief

The DEASA - SADC appreciate the work launched and therefore


- CDE International done by the two or it is something special
Journal on Open and ganisations to launch to publish in a maid
Distance Learning is this journal. It demon en issue of a journal
the official journal of strates a smart stra more-so after a rigor
the Distance Education tegic partnership that ous anonymous review
Association of South directly benefits dis process that eliminated
ern Africa and the tance education at many others.
Southern African De grassroots level. The
velopment Community introduction of the A colleague of mine
- Centre for Distance journal is an impor once asked me a bar
Education. In this maid tant milestone in the rage of questions on
en issue of the annual development of Open distance education.
publication we feature and Distance Learning He wanted to know
eight articles and the practices in the region. what distance educa
profile of the SADC Not only will distance tion was all about, how
CDE. The journal pub education practitioners different it was from
lishes articles mainly have a platform where correspondence edu
on distance education to share ideas and cation, the differences
but also on related is learn from each other, between distance edu
sues from basic to uni but also this becomes cation, open learning,
versity education. This a hub of knowledge on distance open learning,
makes the readership which future learning distance education and
wide and very accom theories on distance open learning and so
modating for the varied education could be on. Articles that feature
member institutions of derived. in this journal should
DEASA and the inter provide answers to
national community. It I also wish to express such questions not
is a peer reviewed jour my deep-seated grati only in terms of defin
nal that accepts aca tude and congratula ing and setting param
demic papers based tions to the writers and eters for these areas
on research, concept reviewers whose ar but also in providing
and position papers, ticles are in this issue. theories, ontologies,
critiques, reports on They are the pioneer praxis, best practices,
best practices of dis publishers of this jour research work, reports
tance education, book nal and together we and situation analy
reviews and so on. begin to write the story ses that answer these
and history of this jour and other unanswered
In this maiden issue, I nal. It is not everyday questions in distance
wish to commend and that new journals are open learning.

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 3


remote areas received learning outcomes
In the current issue delayed support es for UNAM mid-level
Badza and Chakuchi pecially in assignment management students
chi discuss a study feedback. He recom could be enhanced by
they carried out to es mends that learning employing deep learn
tablish the nature and support for remote stu ing approaches to
adequacy of inclusion dents be strengthened teaching and learning.
of students with visual and strategies be put
impairment in the Zim in place to motivate Masalela gives a con
babwe Open University part-time tutors to be cept paper on inter-
(ZOU). Using the case more enterprising in institutional collabora
study design, their their delivery of learner tion. She discusses in
results show that the support. ter-institutional collab
ZOU unsystematically orative activities, types
made ad hoc arrange Frindt and Mostert in of inter-institutional col
ments to accommo their article explore the laboration, the essen
date the instructional concept collaborative tial considerations for
needs of students with learning and the as inter-institutional col
visual impairment. sumption that students laboration and potential
They recommend that in Namibia have a ten benefits and complexi
institutions of distance dency towards surface ties as well as their im
education should es learning as opposed to plications. She argues
sentially have policies deeper understanding that inter-institutional
on learner support for of issues embedded in collaboration provides
service delivery to stu collaborative learning. an environment to en
dents with disabilities. To examine this as liven and enrich the
sumption, they used an learning process not
Gatsha discusses a adapted questionnaire only in distance educa
study he undertook to on the Approaches to tion settings but also
find out how distance Study Skills Inventory in conventional prac
education learners in for Students to exam tices. She observes
the school equivalent ine the motivational that these collaborative
courses in a severely and deep learning partnerships are impor
underdeveloped con impact of a lecturing tant where resources
text experienced the teaching method ver are shrinking, given the
learning support ser sus collaborative learn demand for wider use
vice of the Botswana er activities in a certifi of sophisticated tech
College of Open and cate programme at the nology, limited faculty
Distance Learning (GO University of Namibia (teacher), and limited
CODOL) Kang Region (UNAM). The results of time and instructional
al Centre. The findings their study suggest that resources. She con
of his study showed the students showed cludes that developing
that the regional cen strong beliefs and environments particu
tre was able to pro preference for deep larly in the sub-Saha
vide adequate support learning approaches ran Africa region could
timeously to learners in addition to surface benefit a lot from these
in the community study learning approaches. kinds of partnerships
centres while those in They concluded that She urges institutions
4 DEA5A-5ADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
to relinquish the tradi tion, and heavy invest that, highly qualified,
tion of competition and ment in technology. experienced and com
join hands to build a mitted personnel were
better global society. Tichapondwa discuss appointed as tutors and
es an experimental ac tutorials were of a high
Ncube draws from his tion research that he standard, assignments
experience as a Re carried out with eight were regarded by
gional Director in an tutors of a communica learners as demanding
CDL institution, as well tion course to examine and adequate, mark
as literature on expe the significance of the ing was viewed as
riences in other CDL Socratic method dur thoroughly and profes
institutions to discuss ing learner-tutor inter sionally done, while
how to manage a re action, and to establish examination question
gional centre in an CDL how best questions items were assessed
setting. The issues that can be used to achieve as of good quality. The
he addressed in his pa learning goals. Results marking of examina
per include locating a showed that tutors tions was centralized
regional centre, student whose awareness had to facilitate modera
registration, financial been raised to use the tion and external as
management, human questioning method, sessment. They also
resource issues, and used interrogatives discussed areas that
provision of library ser more effectively than needed addressing
vices, among others. their counterparts, the such as the need to in
He also raises chal control group. This led crease human and ma
lenges that are faced to the conclusion that terial resources, staff
in managing a regional conscious enhance training and effective
center. The challenges ment of knowledge communication.
discussed include lack about the Socratic
of resources, stereo method leads to ef Kolosoa in her article
types towards open fective negotiation of discusses a study that
and distance learning, learning. He then rec she carried out to in
the dilemma of decen ommended that tutors vestigate the quality
tralization versus cen in CDL be guided in and readability of the
tralization in decision- the use of questioning Management and Ac
making, as well as the strategies during tutori counting modules at
distance of the learners als for better interaction the Lesotho College of
from the centre. The and effective learning Education (LCE) from
article concluded with by learners. a learner’s perspective
a discussion on strate in terms of the easi
gies that could be used Mukeredzi and Ndaba ness, clarity of con
to improve the efficien in their article present cepts, illustrations and
cy in the management a study they carried pictures, and the time
of a regional center. out on strategies em spent studying the ma
The strategies recom ployed by the Zimba terials. The findings re
mended include the bwe Cpen University vealed that the majority
supply of resources, to assure and control of teacher-learners at
training of personnel, quality. The major find LCE found Manage
further decentraliza ings they discuss are ment and Accounting

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 5


iearning materials dif and that more time for Thutoetsile gave the
ficult and it took them fact-to-face tutorials be profile of the Southern
longer to complete included. African Development
when compared with Community Centre for
those of other cours It is the intention of this Distance Education.
es. The study recom journal to feature one
mended that the pres or two profiles of the Professor Robert
ent Management and DEASA member in Chimedza
Accounting learning stitutions in each pub Editor-in-Chief
materials be reviewed lication. In this issue

6 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


MANAGING INCLUSION OF STUDENTS WITH
VISUAL IMPAIRMENT IN OPEN AND DISTANCE
EDUCATION: Challenges for Learners.
Auxillia M. Badza & David D. Chakuchichi
Zimbabwe Open University

Abstract to accommodate the distance education stu


instructional, needs of dents, the material to be
The study sought to es learnt should of neces
students with VI. The
tablish the nature and study recommends that sity be interactive and
adequacy of inclusion ZOU should essentially user friendly. Learner
of students with visual evolve a policy to guide support in this respect
impairment in the Zim becomes invaluable
service delivery to stu
babwe Open Universi dents with disabilities. as it ensures the inter
ty (ZOU). The impetus activity of instructional
of the study came from materials with the
Moore’s Transactional Introduction
cognitive dispositions
theory of open and dis One of the constitu of the students. In
tance learning (ODL) tive aspects of Open structional models and
which states that and Distance Learn materials in CDL are
preparation of instruc ing (CDL) is essentially expected to make the
tional materials, using access to instruction students interact with
the universal design and learning material the learning material in
principles, enhances by all students includ order to construct new
access and full inclu ing those with disabili knowledge. Horton,
sion of students with ties. Issues of access cited in Sherry (1996),
disability. The study and equity in open posits that the interac
utilised case study, a and distance educa tive theoretical basis of
qualitative research tion are critical in jus CDL comprise of two
design to establish the tifying the openness basic aspects which
adequacy of ZOU’s of distance education directly impact situ
service provision to and the inclusion of ated cognition. These
students with visual im students with disabili two are the student’s
pairment (VI). In-depth ties (Sherry, 1996). It context (environment,
interviews were carried therefore suffices to current situation, other
out on students with VI say that the hallmark sensory input) and the
and part time tutors. of distance education mind (associations,
Data was subjected lies in the separation, memory, reasoning,
to verbal analysis to in both time and space, abstractions). Follow
come up with systemic between the learner ing on the theoretical
challenges to service and the instructor and development of situ
provision to students the ‘volitional control ated cognition in the
with VI in ODL. pro of learning’ by the stu design of ODL, instruc
grammes. The results dent (Jonassen cited in tional materials should
indicated that ZOU Sherry 1996). In order enhance access for
unsystematically made to facilitate learning by all. However according
ad hoc arrangements
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
to Burgstahler (2002), The low vision catego ment needs to be con
the issues of access ry includes those with sidered to eliminate or
focus on the separa remaining or residual minimise dangers to in
tion of student and in vision. According to dividuals with VI. Such
structor and rarely in Webster and Roe, adaptations should ul
clude consideration of (1998) people who fall timately enhance the
needs of students with into the category of inclusion disposition of
disabilities. In order ‘blind’ depend on tac the individual with VI.
to establish the chal tile, auditory and other
lenges for learner sup sensory input other A clear understand
port for students with than sight, as means ing of the concept of
visual impairment (VI), of learning and require inclusion is essential
it is imperative to inter special ised equipment. to enhance the suc
rogate the concept of cessful and meaning
inclusion, its pedagogi In addition to peda ful process of inclu
cal implications for the gogical concerns, is sion of student with VI
learner in the context sues related to school in CDL. It is important
of a universal design in environment are of to note that there is a
CDL. importance to the in continuous evolvement
clusion of individuals on the definitions as re
Background with VI. There are still flections on practice is
Current trends in spe ongoing arguments on advancing taking cog
cial education are mov whether to adapt the nisance of the range of
ing away from prescrip environment to suit contexts and cultures
tive labels and catego the individual with VI in which inclusion is
ries, however, there still or to make the person taking place. Inclusion
remains a plethora of with disability fit his! therefore reflects the
specialised terms used her environment. The reality in each national
to define aspects of VI reason behind adapt system and thus can
by different profession ing the environment be determined by the
als. Visual Impairment for the individual is to history, culture and
is defined as loss of vi ensure that the educa politics of the sys
sion for an individual to tion system prepares tem, (Dyson & Millard,
complete tasks without the individual with VI 2000). Dyson and Mil
specialised adaptation, for an independent role lard’s position makes it
(Mason, McCall, Arte, in the wider society. In difficult to have a con
McLindell and Stone, order to achieve this sensus or unified defi
1997). In otherwords, functional level, limited nition of the concept of
the loss of vision im adaptation to the learn inclusion.
ing environment should
pedes learning unless
modifications are made be made to enable the Burgstahlers (2002)
to teaching and learn individual with VI to asserts that the de
ing methods, the envi function independently signs of many distance
ronment and learning and safely in the wider education programmes
materials. The degree environment. Despite inadvertently erects
of impairment varies the merits of this argu barriers for students
from low vision to to ment, a careful audit of with disabilities. While
tal loss of sight (blind). the learning environ- visual impairment im
8 DEASA-5ADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
pacts negatively on mediated by transac students with VI
the access and inclu tional materials, would included in ZOU
sion of students with enhance access and academic pro
VI in CDL, planning for inclusion of students gram mes?
access during course with disabilities. What are the chal
development stage lenges of learner
instead of creating ad Institutional policies support for inclu
hoc accommodation that are crafted on sion of students
strategies on enrol principles of universal with VI at ZOU?
ment of students with design and education
impairments is proac for all (EFA) would
tive. Steps should be inherently serve the Purpose
taken to ensure that interests of disadvan
a wide range of abili taged groups such as The study sought to
ties and disabilities are the people with VI. The establish the nature
considered following implied national policy and conditions of inclu
the universal design of inclusion embraced sion of students with vi
principles. One of the in EFA has seen stu sual impairment in the
universal design prin dents with VI enrolled Zimbabwe Open Uni
ciples is recognition of in the Zimbabwe Open versity. The impetus
the ideal that access of the study came from
University (ZOU). The
to education is one researchers are lec Moore’s theory that in
of the basic human turers at the ZOU and CDL “the space be
rights (Harrison 2001). they encountered some tween the learner and
Therefore accommo students with visual the structure of teach
dation of learners with impairment who reg ing must be mediated
special educational istered dissatisfaction by dialogue offering the
needs is essentially with the learner sup learner the opportunity
ensuring that access to port they were getting to be an active partici
high quality instruction prompting the follow pant” (Tait 2003:4).
is provided to all. Uni ing pertinent question;
versal design princi ‘How adequately is Methodology
ples ensure cognitive, ZOU managing inclu The study used the
affective and systemic sion of students with VI case study approach,
learner support in in open and distance a qualitative research
CDL which reinforces learning?’ Therefore design, to establish
student’s confidence, the research attempts the adequacy of ZOU’s
self-esteem and prog to ensure that the fol provision of CDL to
ress, (Tait, 2003). The lowing specific ques students with VI. The
preparation of instruc tions are addressed, case study was found
tional materials, using • What learner sup to be more appropri
universal design prin port is ZOU pro ate in order to have an
ciples in the context viding to students in-depth study of the
of Moore’s theory on with VI and how challenges of manag
CDL which states that adequate is it? ing students with VI in
the space between • What are the CDL. The case study
the learner and the experiences and approach allowed the
instructors should be perceptions of researchers to study
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 9
how the students view selected for in depth notes. The audio taped
their situational ac interviews. Six of the information was used
cess to learning ma- eight students were to clarify and enhance
terials. The design technically blind that is the written notes during
further enabled the they could not process data analysis. In addi
researchers to come print information while tion, document content
to an understanding of the remainder were analysis of the ZOU
the experiences from partially sighted, that is student handbook and
the perspective of the they could process print tutors handbook was
learners. information especially carried out to establish
benefiting from en the impact of policy on
The respondents iden larged print. The inter service delivery to peo
tified for in depth inter views which were done ple with VI.
views were purpose in five days took one
fully selected in such to two hours per par Analysis
away that they would ticipant. All interviews
reflect a diversity of were unstructured but In qualitative research
backgrounds and a guided by an interview design, data collection
variety of personal di schedule. The direc and analysis are close
mensions. The respon tion of the interview ly related such that
dents were all ZOU depended on each in data analysis was in
students who were vi dividual student’s ex this case, inductive and
sually impaired, that is, periences. Therefore ongoing throughout the
they were either with as data were collected study (Bogdan & Biklen
low vision or legally the research focus was 1984; Taylor and Bog-
blind and a group of refined as new ques dan, 1984 and Guba &
8 part time tutors who tions emerged from Lincoln, 1985). Audio
had taught students the interview. Specific taped interviews were
with VI. For the pur questions emerged in examined, transcribed
poses of this study age the context of the stu and compared with the
and gender were not dent’s views. field notes to identify
considered essential. insights, themes and
Triangulation of data concepts. Although the
The sample of the was employed analysis was an on
by
study was a total of contrasting students going process during
eight (8) students made information with that the study, there was
up of five (5) males and of key informants in a final stage intensive
three (3) females in the cluding part time tu analysis that involved
Post Graduate Diploma tors, regional directors, sorting data into cat
in Education, Bachelor programme co-ordina egories and sub-cat
of Arts in English and tors and librarians as egories to refine and
Communication Stud well as that collected identify frequently oc
ies, Masters of Busi from focused groups curring themes. Verifi
ness Administration in order to enhance cation of interpretative
and Bachelor of Sci validity of data. All in accuracy of analysis of
ence in Special Edu terviewees were audio data was done through
cation programmes taped to supplement presentation of prelimi
and a group of 8 tutors the written interview nary findings to peers
who have worked and
10 DEA5A-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
interacted with some of edge of CDL as a with VI to do their
the subjects. This pro practice of learning studies with ZOU.
cess gave new insights for all or learning from
and strengthened the home with flexible ar However others had a
position of some of the rangements and time different view as indi
findings. management. Other cated in the following
students appreciate it statement;
Findings and as it affords students Not everyone is
Discussion an opportunity to learn blessed like myself..
while continuing with may be I could have
The findings of the
their vocation. The par been told I can’t be
study were very elabo
ticipants’ perception of enrolled.
rate as most of the par
CDL was that it was
ticipants in this catego
a good practice that Such perceptions as
ry articulated their ex
gave people with VI an indicated in the state
periences and expec
opportunity to learn. ments above are incon
tations very effectively.
Others said that CDL sistent with the spirit of
The documents’ con
was, inclusion that is based
tent analysis revealed
A bit limiting, help on rights and provision
that ZOU did not have
does not come there of equal opportunities
a coherent institutional
and then. in an education for all
policy for service de
And others said that; (EFA) perspective.
livery and or learner
not much Inclusive education,
support to people with
difficulties but a in the context of the
VI and other disadvan
few problems with Salamanca Statement
tages. The results as
areas chosen e.g. and Framework of Ac
shown in some of the
calculations where tion (1994), should
participant’s excerpts
one may need help. therefore meet the
indicated some salient
educational needs of
exclusionary practices
These perceptions of all learners within com
that do not enhance
CDL indicate that most mon yet fluid contexts
inclusion and or uni
of the students with VI and activities. Inclusion
versal design in ODL.
found it quite accept should not be seen as
The findings were laid
able and helpful to them just an ideal state but
down under the fol
despite some problems rather an unending set
lowing three themes,
relating to the need for of dynamic processes
knowledge and per
specific help at par to adequately accom
ception of CDL, stu
ticular times. However modate every learner’s
dent experiences and
some students with VI needs (Booth, 1996:
pedagogical concerns,
seem to suggest that it Sapon —Shevin, 1992
and attitudinal chal
is not their right to be in Engelbrecht, Green,
lenges.
enrolled but a charity Naicker and Engelbre
that ZOU is extending cht, 2004).
Knowledge and
to them as indicated by
perceptions of
the statements below. Students
ODL
.1 have since experiences
Most students seemed commended ZQU and pedagogical
to have a good knowl for allowing students concerns
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 11
Participants had a va find a group. It challenge though
riety of experiences was difficult to get I passed... it was
ranging from CDL be information. difficult. Presentation
ing an empowering is not appropriate
and challenging oppor The experiences of
these two participants, for VI. There is need
tunity to exclusionary for simplification of
practices that needed while showing a posi
tive attitude, indicated some concepts.
corrective measures in
pedagogical aspects. the possibility of ex Experience of
clusionary pedagogi limited braille
Some students be cal practices in the material made me
lieved that they had CDL as practiced by accustomed to being
positive experiences ZOU. These practices read to.
as they ‘enjoyed new were evident in the Audio cassettes
knowledge’ and com nature of learning ma would be a palatable
peted with sighted terials provided. The move. / had to attend
students. One student main learning materi tutorials because /
said that; als were a module for had problems with
The co-ordinator each course. The mod print modules.
felt that I would ules that were in print I wouldn’t mind
not be able to presented the following braille for reading
impress the enroller challenges; but its bulky
although there Not always easy tapes are user
were some who to get someone to friendly.
had done BAECS read. Your study
(Bachelor of Arts time has to be Tutors observations
degree in English determthed by were that materi
and Communication someone who reads als such as modules
Studies). As post for you hence my should be transcribed
grad..., they performance might into braille or recorded
underrated my have been affected. on audiotapes. Also
potential and It was difficult tutors pointed out that
thought the VI because I could not materials in compatible
students could access materials in media enhanced par
only manage first print. It meant I was ticipation of students
degrees. always late. Working with VI.
with an assistant
Another student when is always very Judging from the ex
asked whether his difficult especially pressions in the ex
learning needs were at night. Keeping cerpts above, the par
met by ZOU, he re her awake was ticipants preferred au
sponded: a challenge dio taped modules as
Not exactly! I had Diagrams were braille materials were
to run around to difficult for the scarce and bulky and
survive. I had no print modules always
assistant to interpret
braille material so for me required an assistant
Courses
I had to look for like computers and who would determine
someone to read, statistics were a the pace and time of
study. Furthermore,
12 DEASA-SADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
indications are that no Participants had mixed knowledge on how to
adaptations or modifi experiences during communicate, service
cations were made to tutorials presented by and accommodate
the curriculum to suit subject experts. Oth students with visual
the needs of visually ers had positive experi impairment. Lomof
impaired in courses ences as they had their sky & Mvambi (2004)
such as statistics and presence felt while oth pinpoint that teachers
computers that are ers found tutors oblivi are central to success
known to pose great ous of their presence ful inclusion. Teachers
challenges to such in and thus were not ac need to be sensitive
dividuals. Thus, Lomo commodated. Some to individual needs
fosky & Mvambi (2004) of the participants ex and characteristics of
assert an inclusive pressed the following all learners in order to
curriculum has to be negative aspects; effectively support in
adapted to meet the Tutors didn’t clusion. In this regard
needs of learner rather accommodate instruction inherently
than have learners fit the VI students requires differential
the curriculum. The because they teaching based on the
study observed that continued to write characteristics and
ZOU’s service delivery on chalkboards and needs of the learning
to students with dis use the overheads population.
ability was inadequate (projector) without
because the instruc making reference to The main point of con
tional materials in the the presence of VI tention was access to
form of print modules students. learning material in a
were not user friendly media that was com
Tutors did not realise
to most learners with patible with the learning
needs...also need
visual impairment. This needs of learners with
auditory and group
assertion was echoed VI. Asked to comment
methods
by tutors who empha about how the par
sized that service to Tutors... not aware ticipants utilised library
students with VI was of my presence facilities the students
inadequate and that and were not experiences were as
there was no special accommodating. narrated below;
treatment for them. Going to the
Also the document Tutors observed that library.... There
analysis revealed the students with VI require were no materials
same, that apart from contact teaching, that it was difficult
a few clauses speci is, a one to one instruc using the assistant
fying some examina tional basis. However, who is not well
tion arrangements for the tutors confirmed versed in getting
students with disabil that the students with information.
ity, there was nothing VI were treated as she also is not
specific and deliberate other students during knowledgeable
about ZOU’s service tutorials sessions. The about my area
to students with VI and participants’ concern of study.
other disadvantages. was that the tutors did
There was no
not have adequate
distinction between
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 13
me and other ticipants was the assis that students with vi
students. tance given to students sual impairment re
I could not get with VI during the ex quire special exami
anything to borrow amination process. nations arrangements
from the library due Some participants to accommodate their
to media. Books reported limited sup needs. ZOU unsystem
(print) are not an port in the provision of atically made ad-hoc
appropriate media Braille machines and arrangements to ac
The library does for others there were commodate the needs
not have suitable no examinations in of students with visual
material for those enlarged print. Other impairment during ex
with low vision participants expressed aminations. However
and blind. There is concern that there the ZOU’s student
need for a policy to was no distinction be handbook had a sec
specify our needs. tween them and other tion describing service
learners implying that that should be afforded
The experiences of no special arrange students with various
participants in access ments were made for disabilities during ex
ing library information them, as some re aminations. Despite the
indicate some over quired enlarged print information contained
sight on the real needs of font size 16. Some in the student hand
of students with VI as participants expected book about special
no braille nor large special arrangements examination arrange
print materials were where there would be ments for students with
available. In addition given a room to use a disability no definitive
the library staff were braille machine with policy was in place for
not inducted nor sen out making noise for a comprehensive regu
sitised in serving learn other students. Quite a lation on mandatory
ers with VI. This situ number of participants services for students
ation is not consistent suggested that they re with disabilities.
with Harrison (2006:2) quired 25% extra time
who says “Accommo in completing examina Communication prob
dation of learners with tions as expressed in lems were probed
special needs is part of these statements; to establish how ef
the process of ensuring I request for more fective the university
high quality educational time especially with was interacting with
experiences are availa calculations 15 students with VI. The
ble to every individual.” minutes per hour... participants with low
The participants sug such extra time. vision indicated that
gested that students lnvigilators may not communication by the
with visual impairment even be aware of university through let
require audiocassettes use of technology ters and newspapers
and braille material to or Braille when you was adequate while
access instructional need help. Students those who are blind re
materials. with VI.. we are ported that it was a big
usually forgotten. challenge as notices in
Yet another area of newspapers and notice
concern for the par- The study observed boards were not ac
14 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
cessible to them. Blind The assumption is packages and media,
students preferred that they accepted there would be no
brailled communica me but sometimes problem for students
tion and or telephone patronised me with VI to do any cal
messages. One par to the extent of culations.
ticipant reported the offering to write
following as depicting notes for me. At Another challenge was
communication with first they would excessive expenses
the university: kind of look down since the student with
It was like chasing upon you but once VI had to pay for the
a wild cat... .grossly they realised your audio recording of
inadequate! potential they even the module or pay
can pick us (by the reader/assistant.
Interaction between
car) the problem It was therefore obvi
student and the re
is of awareness ous that the student
spective tutors showed
with VI bore extra ex
some students ap From these narratives,
penses than other stu
preciating the use of it is clear that partici
dents. For these stu
telephones while oth pants express some
dents it would appear
ers reported that tu degree of exclusionary
as if they are being
tors were not ready for practices such as pa
penalised for having
them such that they tronisation and keep
the disability.
wrote on the chalk ing of a distance by
board without pro sighted students. It is
The participants were
nouncing what they also important to note
allowed to say what
were writing. Also the that the participants
they believed were
participants showed acknowledge that
challenges for ZOU
differences in the ex other sighted students
in serving learners
periences of interac lack awareness.
with VI. The following
tion with sighted stu
two challenges were
dents within their tuto Participants were
reported, that ZOU
rial groups. While oth given the opportunity
should provide appro
ers believed that they to site any other chal
priate learning materi
were accepted others lenges they encoun
al and that the materi
had this to say; tered in the course of
al should be simplified
Students with their studies with ZOU.
in some concepts as
experience in A few of them indicat
indicated in the follow
special education ed having challenges
ing statement;
are aware subjects involving sta
When programmes
don’t have problems tistics as some of the
were designed in
of stigma but formulae were difficult
ZQU, they did not
others at first don’t to manage. The chal
have VI students in
understand. Some lenge was not with
mind to the extent
even ask why you the level of difficulty
that examinations
are among them. but with manageability
were not even
Usually they get of the formula signs
in Braille no
annoyed with the and signals. In other
structure for braille.
noise of the Braille words, given the ap
machine. propriate computer
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 15
The experiences of by both the tutors as Recommendations
participants show a well as learners with
disparity between their VI. Tutors not trained According to the in
expectations and the in special education formation given by re
service they received. found it difficult to cope gional administrators
The service was inad with the instructional in the interviews, ZOU
equate and to a large needs of learners with did not have an institu
extent inappropriate. VI. This position was tional policy, to assist
The participants did not evidenced by the fol people with visual im
feel a sense of belong lowing comment from pairment and or other
ingness to ZOU pro one of the tutors, disadvantages. It is
grammes rather they My tutorials were therefore recommend
view themselves as an moving smoothly ed that ZOU should
appendage to the rest until she (female formulate a policy
of the student popula student with VI) which will include pa
tion. Some students did came. rameters for ensuring
not feel that it was their adequate learner sup
right to enrol in ZOU port for students with
The statement could VI and for those with
programmes. These imply that negative
students remained other challenges.
attitudes from tutors
grateful for ZOU’s ‘be emanate from lack of
nevolence’ in admit As established in the
knowledge and aware study, some tutors ex
ting them. Students in ness of the needs of
this frame of thinking hibited a lack of knowl
students with VI. In ad edge in facilitating
cannot be expected to dition tutors observed
demand adequate and the instructional and
that administrative welfare needs of stu
equitable service com
staff would close their dents with VI. There is
mensurate with their
offices at the sight of a therefore need to equip
needs and characteris student with VI to avoid
tics. It is important that staff who interface with
the lengthy verbal in these students with
the concept of inclu teractions associated
sion is discussed and skills to adequately
with such students. provide equitable ser
implemented even in Such a situation is not
tertiary education. On vice and support for the
at all conducive to the meaningful inclusion of
the whole, students needs of learners with
experiences brought the learners.
VI hence it requires ur
out some exclusionary gent redress in order to
practices in the way Also, as the students
give such learners the with VI suggested, it
ZOU assisted learners support they deserve.
with VI. is recommended that
Tutors suggest that ZOU should have a de
both the administrative partment to service with
Attitudinal staff with negative be disabilities in an CDL
Challenges haviours as well as the context. The depart
Observations by tutors students with VI should ment would ensure the
indicated that there ex be availed counselling provision of adequate
to enhance accommo learner support in terms
isted problems relating
to negative attitudes dation and genuine ac of material and other
ceptance. pedagogical concerns.
16 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
Conclusion acteristics and needs. be staffed with quali
The effect of accom fied staff and equipped
Issues of access and
modating learner char with relevant resources
equity are fundamental
acteristics and needs to assist with transcrip
to ODL in its service of
in instructional materi tion from braille to
students with disability.
als production impacts print and use of voice
As indicated by Sherry
positively situated cog synthesisers for use
(1996), instructional
nition within the con by learners with VI in
designers and curricu
structivist paradigm in order to embrace and
lum developers seem
which the learner inter enhance inclusion in
to give precedence to
acts with materials and the institution through
technological advance
constructs new knowl appropriate and ad
ment in instructional
edge thereof. The new equate service delivery
materials development
department of learner modalities.
at the expense of focus
support for people with
ing on the underlying
disadvantages could
issues of learner char-

DEA5A-sADc ODE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 17


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Lomofsky, L. Rob flections on Students
Bogdan, R.C. & erts, R. & Mvambi, N. Support in Open and
Bikien, S.G. (1984) (2004) The inclusive Distance Learning.
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Allyn and Bacon. South Africa. Pretoria,
Van Schaik Publishers Taylor, S.J. & Bogdan,
Burgstahler, S. (2002) R. (1984) Introduction
Real Connections: Mason, H., McCall, S., to Qualitative Re
Making Distance Arte, C., McLindell, search Methods. The
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, Search for Meanings.
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vid Fulton Publishers ing: trends, policy and
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A. (200) Schools and Sherry, L. (1996) ations.
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(40, 337-365. Social interaction, Lan
Engelbrecht, P. Green, guage and learning.
L. Naicker, S. and Swartz, L. M. (2004) London, Routledge.
Engelbrecht, L. (2004) Advanced Accessibility
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Y. S. (1985) Fourth ISSN: 1492-383 1. Zimbabwe Open Uni
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Newbury Park, Sage Sookrajh, R., Gopal,
N. & Maharaj, B.
Harrison, L. (2006) Ac (2005) Interogating
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Centre. University of

18 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


LEARNING SUPPORT IN A SEVERELY
UNDERDEVELOPED CONTEXT AS EXPERIENCED
BY DISTANCE LEARNERS
Godson Gatsha
Botswana Cofege of Open and Distance Learning

Abstract ened and part-time and experience learn


tutors should be moti ing support provided
The study was under vated to be more en by one Southern Afri
taken to find out how terprising in their deliv can distance learning
distance learners who ery of learning support provider, the Botswana
pursued school equiv in community study College of Open and
alent courses in a se centres in order to en Distance Learning
verely underdeveloped hance throughput. (BOCODOL).
context and were ex
amination candidates Introduction The study aimed at un
in 2005, experienced derstanding how dis
the learning support Learning support is tance learners pursu
services provided by considered important ing school equivalent
Botswana College of in enhancing through courses in a severely
Open and Distance put in open and dis underdeveloped con
Learning (BOCODOL) tance learning, and yet, text experienced learn
Kang Regional Office. it seems to be complex ing support provided
Data was collected us and least understood
by BOCODOL through
ing direct administra in many open and dis the Kang Regional Of
tion of a questionnaire tance learning practic fice. It was guided by
to 109 participants and es. For instance most the question: How have
through semi-struc Open and Distance distance learners from
tured interviews with Learning institutions in
a severely underde
five participants. Nar Southern African have
veloped context study
ratives with personal in place learning sup
ing school equivalent
voice and individual port facilities but these
courses experienced
thick quotes were differ from institution to learning support? The
used for analysis. The institution probably be
focus of the study was
findings of the study cause of how learning on distance learners’
indicated that effec support is conceptu conceptualization of
tive learning support alised. In this article, lit learning support and
was rendered by the erature on conceptions three key areas of
regional office in all of learning support learning support the
the seven-community and experiences of region delivers to its
study centres. How distance learners has learners namely, study
ever remote learners been reviewed in or materials, face-to-face
experienced delayed der to have an in-depth tutorials and assign
assignment feedback. understanding of how ment feedback. The
Learning support strat distance learners in a study also focused on
egies for remote learn severely underdevel reasons for dropping
ers should be strength- oped context perceive
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 19
out since it was as Review of line student services
sumed at the begin- literature they were received
fling of the study that (LaPadula, 2003). An
learners might be drop The literature on learn
ing support has a few other study by Wheeler
ping out as result of the (2002) carried out with
inadequate learning success stories and is
full of discourses a sample of thirty re
support that the region spondents explored
provided. that tell stories of isola
tion, alienation, frustra the nature of psycho
tion, delayed feedback logical distance in dis
Kang region is gener tance learning. It iden
ally underdeveloped and fear of technology
(LaPadula, 2003; Dza tified some important
and economically dis students issues that
advantaged. Services kiria, 2005). The role
of culture in learning revealed that distance
such as electricity, learners who studied
roads, telecommuni also appears in the
literature as a chal with the aim of merely
cation systems, radio reproducing knowl
and television services lenge (Venter, 2003).
Despite these chal edge through surface
are not yet developed approaches required
and the settlements or lenges, the literature
that defines and ex a greater need for di
villages have no pub rection, whereas those
lic libraries, no public plains the role of learn
ing support is available who practice a deeper
transport and postal meaning centred ap
services are far away, (Dzakiria, 2005; Tait,
1995; Gibson, 1998; proach required less
slow or unavailable in direction support from
some settlements. The Tait, 2000; McLough
lin, 2002; Moore, 2003; their tutors. The results
learners pursued their also showed that re
studies in a context Yorke, 2004; Scheer
and Lockee, 2003; mote students expect
where unemployment ed a great deal more
is very high, rainfall is Thorpe, 2002; Chute et
al, 1999). social an practical sup
low and unreliable, and port from their instruc
so are underground tors than their local
water sources and this One success story on
learning support is the peers probably due to
has affected their farm the psychological dis
ing activities. Tradition online survey research
carried out by LaPadu tance they perceived,
ally inhabitants of this however they expected
region are nomadic Ia. The study involved
sixty-three women and less in terms of aca
and these tendencies demic support which
are still there in some twenty-nine men and
was meant to deter indicated that they per
of them. They relied on ceived less need due
hunting as their main mine how satisfied the
students were with the to their independent
economy but new wild learner status.
life management laws online student services
do not allow for this. and also to find out
what types of services Research findings by
Hence the participants Venter (2003) shed
studied in a severely they wanted in the fu
ture. The results were light on the role of cul
underdeveloped and ture and coping with
economically disad that a majority of the
online students were isolation in Europe
vantaged context. and Asia. Venter stud-
satisfied with the on-
20 DEA5A-SADC CDE international Journal of Open and Distance Learning
ies appear to indicate The Malaysian expe too great and in such
that the extent to which rience in open and circumstances, some
learning is student-cen distance learning by distance learners ex
tred or teacher-centred Dzakiria (2005) is one pected distance teach
is subject to cultural empirical study that ers to play an important
variation. He argues reflects a discourse role in helping them
that particular cultures of isolation, frustra come to terms with
exhibit learning prefer tion and alienation as the new ways of learn
ences more suited to demonstrated by the ing. The voices in the
distance learning than students’ voices. The study are desperate for
other cultures. In the study focused on the attention and need a
Asia Pacific sample role of learning support human face to provide
his findings were that, in distance learning immediate response to
structure, timetabling at the Universiti Utara their problems and to
and reassurance for Malaysia. The strength guide their learning.
individuals to assess of this study lies in its
their own progress qualitative approach The main challenge
seemed to be signifi that effectively used for Open and Distance
cant whilst in the Eu the interview as a pri Learning providers is
ropean sample, the mary instrument sup to ensure that a robust
emphasis appeared plemented by students’ learner support system
to be on knowing that journals and photo exists to help them
they are cared for, that graphs. The Malaysian make a paradigm shift
people are there to context was made up from traditional learn
support their particular of a complex mix of ing to distance learning
needs and knowing cultures, languages so as to avoid learn
that others are in the and rural factors and ers expecting teacher-
same boat and can be as such has similarities centred delivery mode
contacted for informal with the context of this in distance education.
support. Both groups study. The findings of Another striking find
of learners wanted aca that study suggest that ing revealed in Dza
demic guidance, feed the infrequent face-to- kiria (2005) is how a
back and reassurance face meetings between cultural orientation
that they were on the distance teachers and may inhibit learning.
right track. Few would distance learners, and Malaysian learners are
dispute that this is a learners’ dependen reported to be more re
crucial part of any suc cy on their teachers, served and sometimes
cessful learning experi caused frustrations and passive participants
ence. It would be ben sometimes impeded in classroom discus
eficial for educators to the learning process. sions and as such they
take into consideration Some distance learn sometimes felt at a loss
the cultural values and ers were found to be when clear instructions
past experience of the unable to cope with were not given for work
learners in the design distance learning ex or assignments and
and implementation of pectations and found experiments, hence
learning support (Ven new ways of learning were tempted to blame
ter 2003). and the sets of expec their distance teachers
tations that go with it for a lack of knowledge

DEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 21


or commitment as re learning programme of of learning support that
vealed in some of the the course and contin of producing distance
students’ discourse. ues until the results are learners who are able
The findings and con published. While no to progress through
clusions by Dzakiria exhaustive, universal their programmes of
(2005) lead one to ask model exists for which learning successfully
questions: Is there a student support servic and are able to be in
convergence of expec es should be available dependent learners
tations and interpreta to distance learners, who have good learn
tion of learning sup several authors (e.g., ing skills and strategies
port between distance Yorke, 2004; Scheer and are able to interact
learners and distance and Lockee, 2003; effectively with tutors,
educators? How can Moore, 2003; Thorpe, learning materials and
learning support strive 2002; McLoughlin, other distance learners
towards a better dis 2002; Tait, 1995; Chute at any time. The three
tance learning experi et. al, 1999) concur on functions of learning
ence? These questions the most important support Tait proposed
are closely related to components of learner focus on the cognitive,
how learning support is support services that affective and systemic
conceptualised. can be offered to dis aspects of learning. In
tance learners. These this case, cognitive re
Sherry (1996) made include, for example, fers to supporting and
a review of aspects of orientation of students developing learning
learning support and to distance learning, through the mediation
observed that the dis course registration, lan of the standard and uni
tance education sys guage support, access form elements of course
tem involved a high de to library resources, materials and learning
gree of interactivity be academic advising, tu resources for individual
tween teacher and stu toring individually and learners, whilst affec
dent, even in rural and in groups, feedback on tive refers to providing
isolated communities assessment and prog an environment that
separated by perhaps ress, counseling and supports learners, cre
thousands of miles. careers guidance. ates commitment, and
On the other hand enhances self-esteem.
various authors (Tait, Given the above com Systemic on the other
1995; Gibson, 1998; mon explanation and hand refers to estab
Tait, 2000; McLough components of learn lishing administrative
lin, 2002; Moore, 2003) ing support, this study processes and informa
advance a common chose to use three func tion management sys
explanation of learn tions of learning sup tems that are effective,
ing support that it is, a port proposed by Tait transparent and overall
support system aimed (2004) as its conceptual friendly (Tait, 2004).
at enhancing and im framework. In using the
proving learning and three functions to give Research design and
covers a wide range meaning to the findings methodology
of skills that transpire of this study, reference
from the initial enrol is made to Dzakiria’s There are different re
ment, the teaching and (2005) view of the role search orientations that
22 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
focus on how knowl to my research partici tualization of learning
edge is developed. The pants. It is an empiri support, experience in
two common forms of cal inquiry that investi using the study mate
educational research gates a contemporary rial, face to face tutori
orientations are the phenomenon within a als, assignment feed
positivist paradigm and real life context using back, regional office
the interpretivist para multiple sources. support and why some
digm. The positivist learners were still drop
research emphasizes Data was collected ping out despite the
objectivity and the in through a qualitative provision of learning
terpretivist research fo survey tool (question support. For each of
cuses on subjectivity or naire) and a semi-struc the above, participants
multiple realities. tured interview. Due to were asked to share
time constraints only their experiences, per
Given my research five participants were ceptions and to sug
question that was con selected purposively gest improvements.
cerned with the par for interviews. These
ticipants’ experiences participants were se The questionnaire was
of learning support, lected on the basis of administered in Octo
this study could not be their location in order ber/November 2005
situated in the positiv to strike a balance as to all the 109 students
ist paradigm but within the contexts of the re who were examina
the interpretive para gion vary with one be tion candidates in
digm. The interpretive ing semi-arid and the the school equivalent
research is concerned other being a desert. courses in Kang Re
with in-depth under They were also select gion of BOCODOL.
standing as experi ed on the fact that they The limitations of
enced by research par had been active learn this study include
ticipants in their natural ers for more than two the use of only two
setting. years in distance learn tools of which one
ing. Two came from re was administered to
A case study methodol mote settlements in the only five participants.
ogy has been adopted desert where a satellite However, the detailed
in this study. I chose a learning centre has responses given by
case study because of been operating for five participants do offer an
my interest in obtain years and three came in-depth understanding
ing an in-depth under from a village in a semi of their learning experi
standing of learning arid area where a com ences in their context,
support as experienced munity study centre hence the study does
by distance learners has been operating for not seek any general
in a severely under more than six years. izations but compara
developed context in bility to similar contexts
order to inform prac Both the questionnaire may be made.
tice. A case study is and the semi-struc
an accepted research tured interview tools All the 109 partici
strategy particularly solicited participants to pants, 71 females and
as I was motivated by respond to items that 38 males, volunteered
wanting to give a voice required their concep freely to complete the
DEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 23
questionnaires. The Conceptualization of participants indicated
had all been enrolled learning support that they needed more
for the school equiva assignments for each
lent courses for at Participants’ descrip
unit and suggested
least a year and had tion of learning sup
that at least two as
just completed writ port included encour
signments rather than
ing their English final agement that learners
one should be included
examination. Their get from their tutors
for learners to do. They
ages ranged from 17 or distance education
also observed that
to 40 years. Seventy- advisors and informa
there were a number
six of the participants tion needed in order to
of errors in some study
had a distance learn succeed. They indicat
materials and pointed
ing experience of one ed that they received
learning support in out that corrections
year with BOCODOL should be made on
and 33 had three the form of motivation,
study materials with
years experience of tutorials, solutions to
errors speedily and
distance learning with social problems, meet
the corrected version
BOCODOL. Twenty- ings and encourage
given to learners well
eight of the participants ment. For example one
on time before final ex
were Junior Certificate said,
amination commences.
(JC) candidates whilst “Learning support
BGCSE Maths unit 3
81 were Botswana means being given
was given as an ex
General Certificate of the much needed
ample of study material
Secondary Education in formation to
with errors.
(BGCSE) candidates. succeed in
learning. I am happy
Face-to-face tutorials
Findings with the support
because normally Participants described
The findings of the after our meeting I the tutorials as; active,
study indicated that get motivated and good, okay, well con
what was perceived also happy which is ducted, very informa
and experienced by good for a learner tive, excellent, and very
both JC and BGCSE as someone cannot helpful. Some of the
distance learners on excel in their studies notable quotes are the
the learning support if not happy and following:
provided by the region motivated.” “Tutorials are good
al office were similar. because tutors
There were equally no Study materials encourage us and
differences in terms of they even give us
experiences between Study materials were extra work”
males and females but considered by most
responses differed on participants (99%) to “They were
the basis of location be user friendly. They generally good even
and distance from the described the materials though the tutors
community study cen as: good, okay, easy, sometimes absented
tres. The findings are simple, understand themselves from the
presented below ac able, fine, very good, lessons”
cording to the themes reliable, impressing,
that guided this study. and perfect. However “The tutorials are
24 DEAsA.sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
very helpful indeed, spent tutorial time dis “My tutor writes all
what matters is cussing and marking the comments so
time. I think one assignments, in some I learn from it. The
hour 30 minutes instances if there are comments are fine
per lesson is fair no questions they because she writes
enough” were asked to read what I should do or
BOCODOL materials, should not do, she
“Tutors are active some tutors came 15 gives me advice”.
and conduct minutes late for tuto
tutorials in a good rials, some learners “Finished all the
way” came for tutorials just assignments on
to play because they time i.e. before
However, there were come unprepared, coming to sit for
other participants some learners laughed examination. My
whose experiences at others and said an tutors were fair and
were not as good and noying words/remarks commented on
made the following re during tutorials. Some where to improve.”
sponses: of the quotes by par
“Some of them ticipants were: However there were a
(tutors) are too lazy “Some come late very few remarks on
and do not turn up especially English” delayed assignment
for lessons every feedback in CSCs.
time” “Only my HSB tutor Delayed assignment
has a very poor feedback was regis
“No good, tutors delivery and did not tered by respondents
are not responsible turn up for some mainly from satellite
enough, others lessons.” learning centres that
teach low grade are in remote settle-
stuff for Junior Assignment ments.
School” feedback
Regional Office
The above comments The majority of partici
support
were from partici pants (90%) claimed
pants who came from to have submitted The responses indi
the same community almost all the assign cated that a majority
study center and could ments in the courses (99%) of participants
be specific to that they were enrolled were satisfied with the
centre. Other aspects in. They were happy support they got from
noted by participants about the marked as the Regional Office.
were that during tu signments particularly They had this to say;
torials, tutors asked tutor comments and “The way everything
questions, taught dif the turn around time is handled and how
ficult topics, spent particularly those from it motivated me
time helping learners the Community Study especially on trying
in some difficult areas. Centres (CSCs). The to gain my goal.”
However they also in following comments
by two respondents “Truly, they
dicated that, time for
sum up most partici encourage us and
tutorials was rather
pants experiences; give us workshops
short, some tutors
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 25
that help us and Learners dropping tivating them. This is
they continuously out of the courses what some participants
check centres.” said:
The responses from
“Motivate them, talk
“I am satisfied the participants indi
to them, and give
because they cated varied reasons
them support they
provide study for dropping out of the
lack’
materials that are courses. The following
“Teach them
good and there are were the reasons for
how to have self-
tutors for help. They dropping out pointed
motivation”.
provide enough out by participants;
“Give them food
materials for one to “Because of lack of
when writing
study on her own.” teacher’
examinations’
“They are not
“Provide hostels at
“Information is serious or interested
the study centres’
provided and in their studies”.
“Advise them on
they gave respect “Because they are
the importance of
and cooperation, not forced and they
education because it
satisfied because of are aIone’
is their future’
the confident staff ‘They are poor
“Call them for
that encourages.” at learning and
workshops where
others have social
they can be
However a few re problems”
encouraged’
sponses from par ‘They say they want
ticipants without study to be taught just
Discussion
centres indicated that like at a secondary
they were not satisfied school” The conceptualization
with the Regional Of “Lack of funds to pay of learning support in
fice support because their examination distance education
they were never vis fee” as expressed by par
ted. This is what one “Lack of commitment ticipants is within the
participant said, “They to their work”. framework proposed
never visit, they don’t “Boredom, they by Taft, (2004). Par
know where we study. engage in other ticipants’s experience
They should visit learn social activities”. and view of learning
ers to see problem for “They are lazy, support is that it aims
not handing assign they should be told at enhancing and rn
ment.” Another issue that this school is proving their learning
that emerged in most learner-centred in order to succeed
responses was that the and not teacher- and this is in line with
Regional Office should centred.” what most authors
provide food during ex have said about the
aminations as learners In order to minimize role of learning support
come from far away learners dropping out, in distance education
and stay for more than participants suggested (Dzakiria, 2005; Tait,
ten days or so at the that the Regional Of 1995; Gibson, 1998;
examination centre. fice staff should be Tait, 2000; McLough
proactive in identifying in, 2002; Moore, 2003;
risky learners and mo Yorke, 2004; Scheer
26 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
and Lockee, 2003; learners as in Wheeler user friendly as such
Thorpe, 2002). (2002) studies, where some scores were not
remote learners ex retrieved. Another pos
The issue of errors in pected a great deal sibility could be that
the study materials more from their tutors some learners could
as identified by par than non-remote learn have claimed to have
ticipants is a cause ers, because of the submitted when they
of concern. Distance psychological distance had not. Neverthe
education material they experienced. Par less, more vigilance in
can be very frustrating ticipants’ experiences retrieving scores is ex
if it has errors. Fail of the tutorial sessions pected of any distance
ure to correct errors demonstrate that the education provider if
timeously or to allow tutorials are the most guidance and coun
learners to proceed to sought after support. seling are to be done
write the final exams Participants recog effectively. However
without errors having nized commendable it would appear that
been corrected might efforts by the majority most learners were
be very damaging to of tutors. Positive tuto happy with the assign
the distance education rial delivery enhances ment feedback. The
provider besides being learner confidence, comments provided by
unfair to learners. retention, persistence their tutors were en
and high completion couraging, gave guid
The experiences rates. The few bad ap ance and reassurance
shared by participants ples of tutors identified that they were on the
who attended the by participants need to right track. This experi
weekly face-to-face tu be talked to, re-skilled ence was similar to one
torials conducted at the and if no changes occur experienced by learn
seven strategic Com their services should ers in Venter’s (2003)
munity Study Centres be terminated as their studies of coping with
and that shared by continued presence isolation in distance
remote learners who could contribute to at learning in Europe and
attend face-to-face trition and dropping out Asia.
weekend tutorials oc of learners.
casionally, demon Regional Office remote
strates best practice The responses on as learner support ser
and is in line with uni signment submission vices appear to be in
versal learner support indicate claims by most adequate as indicated
services that exist participants that they by responses from the
(Yorke, 2004, Scheer had submitted their as participants. It would
and Lockee, 2003, signments but the indi seem that not all re
Moore, 2003, Thorpe, vidual progress charts mote learners were
2002, McLoughlin, for 2005 candidates in reached physically or
2002). The need for dicate otherwise. There constantly contacted
more face-to-face tu could be a possibility through tutorial letters.
torials expressed by that some assignment The need for maintain
remote learners is scores were not cap ing a high degree of
typical and resembles tured or the manual re interactivity between
that of other remote trieval process was not the distance education
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 27
provider and the re sary infrastructure
mote learner has been that can promote
emphasized by Sherry, Given the participants’
effective distance
(1996). However the sentiments on their ex
education in the
attempts of reaching periences;
area
learners through week • The readability and
content quality of Further research
end tutorials in rural
B000DOL study into the experi
and isolated communi
material should be ences of dropouts
ties are commendable.
maintained and and their reasons
enhanced where for dropping out
The issue of drop
necessary by en should be carried
ping out calls for the
suring that errors out.
Regional Office to
identify vulnerable in are eliminated.
Conclusions
dividuals as early as • The Regional Of
at time of enrolment fice should con Learner Support Ser
and through guidance stantly support vices at BOCODOL
and counseling estab tutors by visits, Kang Region satisfy
lish rapport that will letters and meet most learners. The ma
enable each learner to ings focusing on jority of learners have
seek help whenever learning support access to face-to-face
necessary. Any learn issues. tutorials and tutors.
er who drops out of a • Learning support Assignment feedback
course or programme strategies for re as part of learning sup
has cost implication. mote learners in port is a critical tool
The dropping out is satellite centres in distance education
sue also challenges and informal study and learners gain a
the Regional Office’s centres should be lot from positive com
pre-enrolment coun strengthened by ments made by the tu
selling effectiveness, the regional office. tors. Turn around time
hence a reflection of assignments is be
• Part-time tutors
during operational ing adhered to at BO
should be moti
planning for the next CODOL Kang region’s
vated by regional
academic period Community Study Cen
staff so that they
needs to be done and tres, however in satel
are more enterpris
strategies for effective lite centres delayed
ing in their delivery
pre-enrolment counsel feedback has been
of learning support
ling adopted to avoid experienced by learn
in community study
a situation like that ers. However, general
centres,
experienced by Malay support of learners is
sian learners whose • Increased involve commendable. Work
voices were desperate ment of political shops and visits by
for attention, for the stakeholders to regional staff seem to
human face to provide engage relevant sustain the confidence
guidance for their learn authorities to es of learners.
ing (Dzakiria, 2005). tablish the neces

28 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


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Chute, A. G., Thomp
mensions for Success tutor/facilitator role
son, M. M. & H Han
ful Design, Distance in student retention,
cock, B. W. (1999)
Education, vol. 23(2). Open Learning, vol.
The McGraw-Hill
19(1) 97-1 09.
Handbook of Distance
Moore. M.G. (2003)
Learning, New York,
Learner support Edi Thorpe M. (2002) Re
McGraw-Hill.
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Journal of Distance port: the challenge of
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Education, 17(3) 141- collaborative online
The Role of Learning
143. learning. Open Learn
Support in Open &
ing, vol.17 no.2
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Scheer, S. B. and
Learners’ experiences
Lockee, (2003). Venter, K. (2003)
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Addressing the Well- Coping with Isolation:
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Learners, Open Learn ers’
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DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 29


LECTURING VERSUS COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
METHODS: An Analysis of Learning Preferences
Among Mid-Level Management Students at
the University of Namibia
Dr Trudie Frindt & Dr Louise Mostert — University of Namibia
Abstract on the Approaches to Background
Study Skills Inventory
The concept of collab This study had its ori
for Students was used
orative learning (CL), gin in 2005, when the
to examine the motiva
the grouping and pair University of Namibia
tional and deep learn
ing of students for the took in students for a
ing impact of a lectur
purpose of achieving certificate course in
ing teaching method
an academic goal has mid-level management
versus collaborative
become a well-es who did not have the
learner activities in a
tablished educational necessary admission
certificate programme
method and research requirements to enter
at the University of Na
ers such as Johnson into higher education.
mibia (UNAM). There
& Johnson (1990) and A group of students,
were limitations in
Astin (1993) strongly most of whom were
the procedures of the
favour it as one of the supervisors, were en
study and difficulties in
most effective meth rolled for a six-month
interpreting the results.
ods to be employed by certificate course in
However, the results
educators. Proponents mid-level management.
suggest that the stu
of collaborative learn Students attended a
dents showed strong
ing claim that the ac 35-hours week-block of
beliefs and preference
tive exchange of ideas face-to-face instruction
for deep learning ap
within small groups per module. This study
proaches in addition
not only elicits partici focused on the teach
to surface learning ap
pation from possible ing methods employed
proaches. It was con
shy students but also during the first and
cluded that learning
enhances a deeper second module of the
outcomes for UNAM
understanding as op certificate programme.
mid-level management
posed to memorising The lecturer of the first
students could be en
of transmitted knowl module applied collab
hanced by employ
edge. There has been orative learning meth
ing deep learning ap
an assumption that, ods, while the second
proaches to teaching
due to rote learning module was mainly
and learning.
and authorative teach presented via the lec
ing style in schools, turing method sup
Key words
students in Namibia ported by power point
have a tendency to Collaborative learning, presentations.
wards surface learning rote learning, surface
in schools and higher learning approach, During the first intake
education. To exam deep learning ap the researchers no
ine this assumption, an proach, interactivity. ticed that the percep
adapted questionnaire tion was that students’
30 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
behaviour changed used to elicit responses several areas of psy
when taught by differ from students. In addi chology, including
ent lecturers. For ex tion to this, test results cognitive psychology,
ample, students were were used to compare behaviourism, and hu
very excited and enthu the result of the first manism. Traditional
siastic when they were two modules of the cer behavioural learning
taught by lecturer A, tificate course. It was theories are teacher
who preferred to teach expected that students centred and focus on
them through collabor prefer a teaching style eliciting a desired re
ative learning methods that is consistent with a sponse from the stu
in comparison with lec surface approach. The dent. These theories
turer B, who preferred research was based on also stress the need
a teacher centred a conviction that teach to specify goals and
approach. However, ing and learning should set behavioural learn
when the researchers begin with the individu ing outcomes (Biggs,
compared the test re al student, including an 1996; Tennant, 1997;
sults of the two mod understanding of their Biggs, 1999; Rams-
ules, it was clear that beliefs and preferenc den, 1987; Ramsden,
the students performed es about teaching and 1992; Entwistle, 1998;
better in lecturer B’s learning. It also drew Gordon & Debus,
classes, which seemed on the notion that stu 2002). Research sug
paradoxical since the dents’ understanding gests that learning out
researchers expected of how they perceive comes for students are
that students would learning would have linked to a specific type
perform better under a significant influence of learning approach
conditions where they on their approaches to (Marion & Säljö,
had enjoyed the class learning. 1997; Biggs, 1999). A
es and participated prominent example of
more actively. In order to provide a these uses a distinc
background to the par tion between surface
The present study was ticular research ques and deep learning ap
prompted by assump tions and the methodol proaches. The origin of
tions that mid-level ogy used, the first sec this distinction can be
management certifi tion of the conceptual found in the early work
cate students’ prior framework contains a of Marion and Säljä
experiences in educa brief review of research in Sweden (Marion
tion predispose them and theory about sur & Sâljö, 1976; Säljö,
towards surface learn face and deep learning 1979). They gave stu
ing approaches, which approaches. dents a text to read,
might result in UNAM and told them they
certificate students Conceptual would be asked ques
having preferences for framework tions afterwards. Stu
teaching that are con dents responded in two
Surface and deep
sistent with a surface different ways. The first
approaches to
learning approach. group learned in an
learning
This assumption was ticipation of the ques
examined in this study. Research into student tions, concentrating on
A questionnaire was learning has roots in the facts and details
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 31
that might be asked. derstanding it, listing students (Bligh, 1972;
They ‘skated along the points instead of ad Johnson & Johnson,
surface of the text’, as dressing an argument, 1990). Students’ criti
Marion and Säljö put quoting secondary cal thinking skills in
it, using a surface ap references as if they crease and their reten
proach to learning. The were primary ones. tion of information and
second group, on the These elements are interest in the subject
other hand, set out to reasonably consistent matter improves (Kulik
understand the mean with what has been & Kulik, 1979). When
ing of what the author described as the tradi students work in pairs
was trying to say. They tional view of effective one is listening while
went below the surface learning, namely that the other is discuss
of the text to interpret it involves “the passive ing the question un
that meaning, using a transfer of objective der investigation. Both
deep approach. They knowledge from teach are developing valu
saw the big picture and er to student with the able problem solving
how the facts and de teacher firmly in control skills by formulating
tails made the author’s of the students’ learn their ideas, discussing
case (Biggs 1999:12). ing and assessment them, receiving im
testing the student’s mediate feedback and
The conceptual mod retention of knowl responding to ques
el distinguishing the edge” (Boyle, Duffy & tions and comments by
surface versus deep Dunleavy, 2003:268). their partner, which will
learning approaches Gibbs (1994) states result in a deeper ap
has been developed that to encourage a proach to learning.
and clarified in re surface approach to
cent years (Ramsden, learning, all we need to The deep approach
1992; Entwisstle, 1997; do is provide: arises from a felt need
Biggs, 1999; McLean, • a heavy workload; to engage the task ap
2001; Gordon & De • high class contact propriately and mean
bus, 2002; Warbur hours; ingfully, so that the
ton, 2003). From this student tries to use the
literature, a surface • excessive amounts
most appropriate cog
approach arises from of course material;
nitive activities for han
an intention to get the • lack of opportunity dling it. Biggs (1 999:16)
task out of the way with for in-depth study; is of the opinion that
minimum trouble, while • lack of choice over when students feel
appearing to meet re subject and study this “need-to-know,
quirements. Low cog methods; they try to focus on un
nitive level activities • a threatening and derlying meaning: on
are used, when high anxiety-provoking main ideas, themes,
er—level activities are assessment sys principles or success
required to do the task tem. ful applications”. This
properly. As applied requires a sound foun
to academic learn dation of relevant prior
ing, examples include Collaborative learn
knowledge so students
rote learning selected ing, on the other hand
who wish to know more
content instead of un fosters a higher level
will naturally try to learn
of performance by
32 DEASA-SADC CDE international Journal of Open and Distance Learning
the details, as well as is that theory and re important factors in the
making sure they un search suggests that beliefs and expecta
derstand what they learning outcomes for tions they bring to the
have learnt. The deep students are linked to class (Ramsden, 1992;
approach is based higher quality learn Biggs, 1999; Entwistle,
on the use of analytic ing outcomes, such McCune & Hounsell,
skills such as cross- as better conceptual 2002;). Therefore, it is
referencing, imagina knowledge, develop important to consider
tive reconstruction and ment of problem-solv the prior experiences
independent thinking ing skills, and greater of UNAM mid-level
(Warburton, 2003). mastery of content. management students.
When using the deep Biggs (1994) states The Namibian Govern
approach in handling that to encourage deep ment has categorically
tasks students develop learning, students stated that the country
positive feelings and need to recognise the should move towards a
learning therefore be need to know and that knowledge-based so
comes a pleasure. This teaching requires ac ciety and has thus also
description suggests tive involvement of the expressed the need for
that to achieve deep student in the learning the Educational Sys
learning the student is process. Most students tem to put measures
active in the process, in Higher Education are in place to ensure the
that the learning is however rarely asked development of critical
largely self-regulated to focus on the pro thinking, problem-solv
and that it is consistent cess of learning (Gibbs ing and life-long learn
with constructivist prin 1994). Students focus ing (Government of the
ciples (Duffy & Jonas on the outcomes of Republic of Namibia:
sen, 1992). Only when their learning, which is Office of the President,
students formulate their reinforced by the pre 2004). This clearly
own constructs and so dominance of end of reflects the need for
lutions are they truly module assessment, deep learning. How
thinking critically. Col and the increasing im ever, recent analyses
laborative techniques portance of transpar have characterised Na
create a constructivist ency in quality, stan mibia’s education and
approach when stu dards, and reporting of training system as a
dents become actively outcome measures in very weak tool for sup
involved in defining Higher Education. porting the realisation
questions in their own of these goals (Ministry
language and working Students’ of Education, 2006).
out answers together experience Commentators of the
instead of reproducing of teaching Namibian education
material presented by conducive to processes have also
the teacher or the text surface learning. noted that throughout
book. the school system there
Since learning takes
is an emphasis on rote
place through existing
One reason there has learning, memorising,
knowledge and experi
been attention to the and examinations that
ences, students’ prior
surface versus deep require the retention of
learning experiences
learning distinction answers to fixed ques
are presumed to be
DEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 33
tions. (Harlech-Jones, Finally, deep and sur of the ASSIST ques
2007; Clegg, 2007). face approaches to tionnaire have sepa
This captures some learning describe the rate items pertaining
of the main prior edu way students relate to a surface learning
cational experience of to a teaching/learning approach and a deep
students who attend environment. They are learning approach. For
UNAM. These types of not fixed characteris the purposes of this
education processes tics of students. Some study, a triangulation of
have been identified people speak of stu quantitative and quali
as those most likely to dents’ approaches to tative methods was
contribute to surface learning as if they were employed. Results of
learning approaches learning styles that ap the design are outlined
(Ramsden, 1992). An ply whatever the task or as indicated below:
other factor that reflects the teaching (Schmeck
on the UNAM mid-level 1988). At the other Data collection:
management students’ extreme, Marton and
possible orientation • Participant as ob
Sãljö (1976) speak of
to surface learning server:
approaches as entirely
is Ramsden’s (1997) determined by context, • The role we ad
argument that if previ as if students walk into opted in this study
ous knowledge is lim a learning situation was that of partici
ited, then students are without any preference pant-as-observer,
more likely to adopt a for their way of going since the Depart
surface approach. This about learning. Stu ment of Continuing
comment could apply dents have preferences Education was
to the UNAM mid-level for certain approaches, responsible for the
management students but their preferences co-ordination of
because the instruc are often not met. the course. This
tion is in their second situation provided
language. They find Purpose of the several advan
it difficult to verbalise study tages in terms of
their understanding the researchers’
of the prescribed text The present research understanding and
and therefore they re had two main goals. interpretation of the
sort to memorising the The first was to exam research results.
work. ine the students’ per
Furthermore, • Personal inter
if students have had ception about learning,
views with the
previous success with and the second was to
lecturers who were
examine the students’
a surface approach, responsible for the
and this appears to be teaching preferences.
first two modules of
the case for this group Both of these goals
the course.
of students (because were pursued using
subscales from the Ap • Questionnaires
they were successful were given to stu
in a school system that proaches and Study
Skills Inventory for Stu dents at the end of
emphasised the sur the second mod
face approach), they dents (ASSIST) ques
tionnaire (Entwistle, ule. The purpose of
are more likely to fol the questionnaire
low it. 1997; Tait & Entwistle,
1996). The subscales was to examine
34 DEASA-5ADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
the students’ per 5 sections. Section A ond subscale was sec
ception of learning set out to establish the tion D “Preferences for
and the students’ profile of the students different types of teach
teaching prefer and biographic details ing”. The items in these
ences. including age and gen two subscales were
der. Section B looked discussed with several
Data Processing: at students’ academic academic staff mem
profile including high bers with extensive
The research design est admission points experience of UNAM
followed a qualitative and highest grades students in order to as
approach where de obtained in English for sess the meaning and
scriptive statistics were admittance to the cer relevance of the items.
applied tificate course. Section As a result of the dis
C asked students to cussions a number
The sample indicate their job pro of changes and addi
The sample consid file. A four—point scale tions were made to the
from “very close to my questionnaire. An item
ered in this study con
sisted of 20 students beliefs” to “very differ was added to section E
who enrolled for the ent to my beliefs” was that read, “being able
certificate in Mid-level used for section D on to explain information
management at the Beliefs about how stu to someone else in a
University of Namibia. dents perceived learn meaningful way”. Since
The group was divided ing. For section E, on the focus of this study
equally among men Teaching Preferences was on collaborative
and women, with an a four-point scale from versus lecturing meth
age distribution of 20 “I definitely like” to “I od, it was felt that sec
definitely dislike” was tion D “Preferences for
years of age for the
used. The original different types of teach
youngest and the old
scale included a mid ing” should include a
est person at 45 years
point rating when the broader spectrum of
of age. The language
student was “unsure”. items to choose from.
of instruction was Eng
In order to encourage (All items marked with
lish and this was a sec
the present students to an asterisk (*) were
ond language for all
students. indicate a preference, added to the question
the category of unsure naire: see Table 1 and
was not used. Table 2).
The instrument
The study was done As mentioned earlier, Procedure
by means of personal two subscales from
The questionnaires
interviews with the two the ASSIST question
lecturers responsible were introduced to stu
naire formed part of the
forthefirsttwo modules dents in class. The pur
questionnaire to exam
of the course as well as pose of the question
ine UNAM’s mid-level
through questionnaires naires was explained in
management students’
terms of the research
that were administered beliefs and preferenc
at the end of the sec ers’ wish to learn more
es. The first subscale
about the beliefs and
ond module. The ques was section E “What is
preferences of stu
tionnaire consisted of learning?” and the sec
dents as a step to un
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 35
derstanding students learning informed the portunity to contribute
and improving their students what he ex his or her ideas. After
earning. No mention pected from them and that the group would
was made of the ques what their academic arrive at a solution that
tionnaires covering task and assignments would then be shared
surface or deep learn were for the course with the entire class for
ing. Students were of the week. Next, the their input.
informed that there collaborative learning
were no right or wrong structure was explained The second lecturer
answers and that their and students were told made use of the lec
responses were not to form five groups turing method by us
part of any course as with four students per ing power point pre
sessment. They were group. An instruction sentations as well as
told that while they sheet that pointed out occasional flipchart il
were encouraged to the key elements of the lustrations. At the end
complete the question collaborative process of each day he would
naires, it was a volun was distributed. As give a summary of the
tary activity. All 20 of part of the instructions, important aspects that
the students complet students were encour were covered during
ed the questionnaires. aged to discuss “why” the lecture. He would
Students were also they thought as they also extend an invita
given an explanation of did regarding solutions tion to students to con
each of the items and to the problems. They tact him at any time
how to use the rating were also instructed to should they have prob
scales. This included listen carefully to com lems with their assign
a discussion of key ments of each member ments.
words, such as assign of the group and be
ments, readings, ideas, willing to reconsider Data analysis
course material and their own judgments
facts. Furthermore, and opinions. As expe The “Beliefs about
both lecturers were rience reveals, group learning” section in
informed about the re decision-making can the questionnaire con
search while detailed tained three items con
easily be dominated by
discussions took place the loudest voice or by sistent with a surface
regarding their teach the student who talks learning approach and
ing styles. four items consistent
the longest. Therefore,
it was insisted that with a deep learning
The lecturer respon every group member approach. These two
sible for collaborative must be given an op sets of items are set
out in Table 1.
Table 1. Percentage responses to each item in the Beliefs about learning.
(Students were asked to rate how close each of the items is to their beliefs)
Surface learning beliefs Not so Rather Very Different
Learning means close close close to belief
1. making sure you remember 1 = 5% 6 = 30% 7 = 35% 6 = 30%
things well.

36 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


2. building up knowledge by obtain- 1 = 5% 17 = 85% 2 = 10%
ing facts and information.

3. being able to use the information 6 = 30% 14 = 70%


you have obtained

Deep learning beliefs


Learning means

4. developing as a person 1 = 50/s 2 = 1 0% 8 = 40% 9 = 45%

5. understanding new ideas and 2 = 1 0% 6 =30% 10 = 50%


information for yourself

6. seeing things in a different and 2 = 10% 6 = 30% 12 = 60%


more meaningful way.

7 *
being able to explain informa- 1 = 5% 9 = 45% 10 = 50%
tion to someone else in a mean
ingful way.

Section E, the “Teaching Preferences” section contained seven items indicat


ing a preference for teaching that encourages surface learning and ten items
indicating a preference for teaching that encourages deep learning. These
two sets are given in Table 2. In the actual questionnaires completed by stu
dents, no mention was made of surface or deep learning.

Table 2: Percentage responses to each item in the Teaching Preferences


section. (Students were asked to rate how much they liked or disliked each type of
teaching)

Surface learning preferences Definitely Like to Dislike Definitely


liked some to some dislike
. extent extent

1. Lecturers who tell us exactly 8 = 40% 9 = 45% 3 = 15%


what to write down in our notes.

2. *
Lecturers who provide me with 17 = 85% 3 = 15%
a proper guideline on how to
prepare for tests or exams.

3. Courses in which it is made very 9 = 450/s 10 50% 1 = 5%


clear just what I have to read and
study.

4. Lecturers who provide me with 12 = 60% 8 = 40%


examples of previous exam
questions.

5. Readings, which give me definite 20 =


facts and information that can 100%
easily be learned.

DEAsA-sADc ODE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 37


Surface learning preferences Definitely Like to Dislike Definitely
liked some
extent to some dislike
extent
6 *
Tests and examination papers 9 = 45% 11 = 55%
which do not need any analytical
skills.

7. *
Lecturers who make use of 9 = 45% 9 = 45% 2 = 10%
power point presentations to
support their lecturing.

Deep learning preferences


*
8. Lecturers who ask questions in 18 = 90% 2 = 10%
class.
*
9 Lecturers who make you think 14 = 70% 4 = 20% 1 = 5% 1 = 5%
even if you do not score the
highest in their subject.
*
Lecturers who make you work 18 = 90°/o 2 = 10%
in small groups, and then ask
someone in the group to report
back to the whole class.
*
Lecturers who encourage you 17 = 85% 2 = 1 O°/ 1 = 5%
to participate in debates in the
class.

12. *Lecturers who encourage group 16 = 80% 3 = 15% 1=5%


work.

13. Lecturers who encourage us to 17 = 85% 2 = 10% 1 = 5%


think for ourselves and show us
how they think.

14. *Lecturers who explain to us 16 = 80% 4 = 20%


why they want us to learn a spe
cific topic or item.

15. Assignments or exams, which 2 = 10% 6 = 30% 12 = 60%


allow me to show that I have
thought about the course mate
rial myself.

16. Courses in which we are expect- 10 = 50% 2 = 20% 8 = 40%


ed to find new reading and ideas
for ourselves.

17. Reading, which challenge me 10 = 50% 5 = 25% 4 = 20% 1 = 5%


and provide explanations that go
beyond the class.

38 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal ot Open and Distance Learning


Results that almost all students nitely like exams or
rated the three items assignments that in
The questionnaire re about surface learning cludes analytical skills.
suits are given in terms In fact, there were 12
as either “very close”
of the percentages of or “quite close” to their (60%) of the students
student’s responses to beliefs. who rated this item as
each item. The results being disliked to some
for “Beiiefs about Learn degree. 8 (40%) of the
From Table 2 it can be
ing” are given in Tabie seen that the respons students also indicated
1 and the resuits for es suggest some varia that they dislike cours
“Teaching Preferences” tion among the items in es in which they are
are given in Tabie 2 the strength of student expected to find new
Because of the small preferences. If the high ideas. It is evident from
sample size, the resuits est rating of “definitely the results that a small
are treated descriptively like” is the focus, it can number of students
and are used to indicate showed a dislike for
be seen students had a
possibie trends rather particularly strong pref each of the items found
than statistically signifi erence for readings that under deep learning
cant findings. provided clear facts and approaches.
information that can be
From Table 1 it can be easily learned. They Finally, there was no
seen that the students strong overall evidence
also seemed to have
generally supported that students preferred
a strong preference for
each of the items as lecturers who encour teaching that encour
being consistent with aged surface learn
age them to think for
learning. This could ing more than they
themselves, as well as
suggest that they saw teaching styles where preferred teaching
learning consisting of there is a tendency that encourages deep
a number of separate towards collaborative learning. The average
elements. When fo learning that encour percentage rating of
cusing on the highest ages them to find new “definitely like” for the
rating, that the item ideas for themselves. four items in the sur
is “very close” to their These latter two items face learning group
beliefs, it can be seen were in the group sup was 67,5%, with the
that most support was porting deep learning average percentage
for the item on learning while the former one rating of “definitely like”
being about obtaining (the strongest prefer for the ten items in the
facts and information. ence) was in the group deep learning category
This is in the surface- supporting surface group being 69,0%.
learning group. At the learning. The fact that the high
same time, the item est preference was for
that received the low When attention is di one item in the surface
est support for being rected in Table 2 to category and lowest
“very close” to their be items where there was preference was for an
liefs, ‘making sure you an apparently lower rat item in the deep cate
remember things well”, ing of “definitely like”, it gory is probably impor
was also in the group can be seen that only tant here.
pertaining to surface
2 (10%) students defi
learning. It can be seen
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 39
This set of results sug fore be argued that liefs about learning
gests that a large pro collaborative learning, showed that there was
portion of this sample where students are ex reasonable support
of UNAM mid-level pected to converse with for each of the seven
management students peers, is a more desir items and therefore
held beliefs and pref able teaching method that students’ overall
erences that included for these students who beliefs about learning
support for deep learn typically come from dif included both surface
ing. When the results ferent academic and and deep elements.
were summarised and socio-economic back In a well-researched
discussed in class, grounds. literature review on
there was strong ac student learning, Rus
knowledgement from The questionnaire re sell (2004) compared
many students of the sults for both beliefs his research results on
importance of deep and preferences re beliefs about learning
learning. The question vealed that while there with those from inter
naire results and sub was evidence of a ten national literature. Rus
sequent class discus dency towards surface sell found that much of
sion provided support learning among the the research on stu
for teaching and learn students, the evidence dent views about learn
ing strategies that pro was just as sound ing used interviews,
mote deep learning. for an orientation to where students had to
deep learning. Overall, articulate and explain
Discussion and therefore, the question their view of learning.
conclusion naire results showed a Much of Russell’s re
complex view of learn search suggests that
The present research
ing and a set of prefer when interviewed, few
was undertaken with
ences that included a students articulate a
the assumption ex
strong component of personal view of learn
plained above that
deep learning for most, ing that could be de
students who enrolled
but not all, students. scribed as deep. The
for the mid-level man
The results suggest research of Marton et
agement certificate
that these students, of al. (1 993:299) is an ex
course at UNAM would
whom most are em ample. Their research
have preconceptions
ployed as supervisors, was on Open Univer
of learning that em
viewed learning as con sity students in Britain
phasised surface ele
taining both knowledge doing a course on So
ments, and they would
acquisition (surface) cial Science Founda
have preferences for
and as a meaningful tions, which required
teaching strategies that
change at a personal students to question
used surface learning.
level (deep). To draw aspects of themselves
The pressures and
further conclusions and society. This
difficulties of learning
from the questionnaire should prompt higher-
in a second language
findings, it is helpful to level conceptions of
were also expected to
consider some of the learning; nevertheless,
be a factor orienting
results in detail. the researchers report
students mainly to a
surface learning ap ed that deep learning
The results on Be- views were not typical
proach. It could there-
40 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
of the students. In fact example, the students determine the actual
they concluded, “it is might have been ex approach to learning
an important result to posed to constructivist that students use. The
show that such a con kinds of teaching (Gor beliefs and prefer
ception can actually don & Debus, 2002), ences responses of
be found”. The results or be students who are the present students
of McLean (2001) on older and more ma showed clear evidence
South African medical ture (Zeegers, 2001). for use of the deep
students also showed Science students are approach by UNAM
that deep learning more likely to use a mid-level management
views were limited. In surface approach than students. It needs to be
this case they occurred Arts students (Biggs, recognized, however,
mainly for students who 1987). There are other that whether students
were performing above findings suggesting use this approach and
average (Russell, that a deep approach obtain these kinds of
2004). The students develops over the outcomes, it is linked
in the present study course of the degree not only to student’
appeared to compre (Ramsden, 1992; Gor preconceptions and
hend and complete the don & Debus, 2002). expectations, it is also
questionnaire with little very closely linked to
difficulty. The class dis The present data can the teaching and learn
cussion showed that only be treated as ing environment pro
the concepts of sur tentative and explor vided by the course
face and deep learning atory. This was a small and the lecturer. As
were meaningful to the sample of students and noted earlier, some
students. This supports the validity of the ques kinds of teaching and
arguments that there tionnaire has not been learning environments
are common elements established for UNAM encourage a surface
to conceptions of learn students. Therefore, it approach and other
ing across cultures. is difficult to have full environments encour
confidence in interpre age a deep approach.
There is conflicting evi tations of the student Through participant
dence about the use responses. Further observation, it became
of surface and deep research is needed to clear that the UNAM
approaches by tertiary validate this and other mid-level management
students. Some of this instruments on student student population
evidence suggests beliefs about learning appears to hold pre
greater use of deep and their teaching pref conceptions of learn
than surface approach erences. ing that are consistent
es (e.g., Zeegers, with a deep approach.
2001; Diseth & Mar The first goal of the Whether students
tinsen, 2002; Gordon present research was actually use this ap
& Debus, 2002). How to examine student be proach will depend
ever, often this greater liefs about learning. A largely on the course
use is linked to par major implication from material as well as the
ticular conditions. For this study would be to lecturer’s input.

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 41


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DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 43


INTER-INSTITUTIONAL COLLABORATION IN
DISTANCE EDUCATION: IS IT WORTHWHILE?
Dr. Regina K. Masalela
University of Botswana

Abstract benefits and complexi skills (Thuch & Mur


ties of inter-institutional phy, 1994). Bringing
A variety of forces such
collaboration are dis different organizational
as economic, social,
cussed and implica cultures, styles and
technological, econom
tions drawn from the a plethora of schol
ical and educational
discussion. ars together requires
have impelled distance
good mechanisms for
education universi
Introduction communication, nego
ties and institutions to
tiation of relationships
engage in a degree of In this rapidly changing
and decision making
interdependence that educational environ
to serve the project
earlier might have been ment, colleges and uni
purpose well (Chute &
considered neither de versities try to expand
Gulliver, 1996).
sirable nor possible. their markets, find new
These have been well students or consumers
In recent years large
documented and vari for their products and
and medium-sized
ously interpreted. The develop new products
companies, institutions
demands from govern geared to the needs
ments, students and and organizations have
of those new consum
been at the forefront of
institutional organiza ers. Partnerships are
forming partnerships,
tion administrations to emerging as an efficient
co-operations and col
improve access to ed and effective means to
laborative ventures.
ucational opportunities achieve those objec
Berquist & Meuel
and provide more com tives (Chute & Gulliver,
(1995) observe that:
prehensive services to 1996). However, re
Confronted with
students have prompt search in the area of
growing pressure to
ed distance education collaboration suggests
institutions to venture do more with less,
that there is a variety
responding to the
into collaboration. This of risks associated with
quickening pace of
paper explores various these types of activities
change, and taking
examples of types of (Karis, 1989; Moran,
advantage of new
inter-institutional col 1990; Smith, 2000).
opportunities in
laboration found within The concept of col
foreign markets,
the distance education laboration in distance
business people
context. The paper de education brings with it
have looked
scribes the four differ implications for change
at their often
ent dimensions of col in institutions. These
tired, lumbering
laborative activities; it include revisions in
hierarchies with
also discusses the es structure, policy, ac
fresh, critical
sential considerations creditation standards,
eyes..And they
for collaboration. The communications and
44 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
have adopted...or ventures have been information society, no
invented.., a plethora initiated in response to single institution can by
of new partnership incentives from govern itself, in isolation, cater
based. structures:
. . ments. Collaborative for the changing educa
cross-licensing efforts are short-term tional, training and pro
agreements, by design, involving fessional needs of its
strategic alliances, specifically identified target student popula
hollow partnerships, tasks to be completed tion. Collaboration and
virtual partnerships, in a set timeframe and networking to provide
vertical integrated within tight budgetary education is becoming
partnerships, and limits (Smith, 2000). imperative if distance
consortia (p. 5-6). Some are long-term educators want to cut
agreements involving costs in education,
This partnership phe the creation of new enhance the outreach
nomenon encompass organizational entities, of the institution, and
es a myriad of forms. major changes in exist make available a vari
However, they seem to ing operational agree ety of courses without
follow similar patterns ments, independent fi constraints of time and
in how they come to nancial status, and the space.
gether, define their re expectations that major
lationships, and man gains will be achieved Inter-institutional ar
age their transitions. under the entity’s rangements are vari
management. These ous and widespread
Defining long-term agreements across all sectors of so
collaboration involve mutually ben ciety. These joint ven
eficial and well-defined tures include marketing
The term collaboration
relationships, jointly agreements, research
is used in many ways
developed structures, and development
and has a variety of
commitment to mutu partnerships and sup
meanings to different
ally agreed goals and ply-chain agreements
people. For the pur
the notion of shared that are increasing in
pose of this paper, the
responsibility. both the private and
author adopted Neil’s
public sectors, spurred
(1981) definition. Neil
It is important to note on by globalization of
as cited by Moran and
that the types and func marketplaces. This
Mugridge (1 993,1) de
tions of the collabora has fostered alliances,
fines collaboration as
tion links are context joint ventures and part
“an active working part
bound. This implies nerships’ between lo
nership by some kind
that collaborative re cal organizations and
of institutional commit
lationships differ for those in other coun
ment.” The definition
each unique situation tries around the world.
is fairly broad and is
depending on the con Public and community
indicative of coopera
text, policies and or sector collaboration is
tion in a wide range of
ganizational structures also increasing with
activities. Collaboration
of each organization major organizations
is often undertaken
involved, It is increas responsible for the
voluntarily, though in
ingly recognized that provision of education,
recent times a number
in this rapidly changing health and community
of new collaborative
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 45
development services laboratory and tele is when two institutions
(Huxham, 1996). communications agree to teach/offer the
networks courses of the other in
Inter-institutional • Creation of new their own institutions or
collaborative management struc when two institutions
activities tures, both within pool in their academic
and among institu resources for program
Sen (http://www.india.
tions. design and develop
edu/ignouconf/papers/
ment. Multilateral col
paeOOl .htm) summariz • Aseconddimen
laborative projects are
es four dimensions that sion can be de
high-risk ventures,
define collaborative ac fined in terms of
though those have high
tivities. He writes that, the number of in
potential of benefiting
one of the dimensions stitutions involved
the various institutions
is to outline the areas and the mutual
involved. The success
in distance education ity of interaction
of bilateral and mul
that can benefit from among them (Ibid).
tilateral collaborative
collaboration. Thus, At the low risk end
projects will depend
inter-institutional co of collaborative
on the extent to which
operative activity may activities are unilat
the various issues aris
embrace the following eral arrangements,
ing out of interweaving
areas: such as consultan
of institutional cultures
• Design and de cy projects wherein
have been resolved.
velopment of new there is, by and
materials and pro large, a straight
The third dimension
grams and sharing forward transfer
of collaborative activ
of the existing ones of knowledge,
ity seeks to place it on
• Creation of diversi skills or materials
the global—local con
fied delivery mech from individuals in
tinuum. The purpose
anisms (student one institution to
is to globally resource
services) so as to those in another.
knowledge and ex
widen access to in Projects in staff
pertise and to apply it
dividual learner as training and devel
locally for rapid socio
well as to reach out opment would, for
economic development
to more learners example, fall in this
of the country. In this
category. There is
• Establishment of situation, collaborative
hardly any inter
credit transfer ar networking is viewed
weaving of institu
rangements and as a continuum where
tional cultures in
mutual recognition at one end an institu
this arrangement.
of credit tion creates global and
• Evaluation of stu international networks
Bilateral arrangements and on the other sets
dents’ learning
are among the more up local and area spe
• Staff training and complex and involve a cific networks.
development mutual give and take
• Research between the partner in The fourth dimension
• Utilization of physi stitutions. An example of collaboration is in
cal resources as of such arrangement the context of the na
46 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
ture of the participating other types of relation examines and
institutions. Thus col ships that, while often makes awards,
laborative activity may termed “collaboration” while the other pro
involve are actually, no more vides students and
• Distance education than formal (or in some support mecha
institutions and the case informal) at nisms.
conventional uni tempts at cooperation • Marketplace types:
versities systems; between organizations, in which one insti
• Distance education or the coordination of tution purchases
institutions and the resources where du course materials
non-governmental plication of services from the other,
organizations (who already exists (Smith, adapts and de
can actually and 2000). livers them and
effectively take the examines learn
programs to the Types of Inter- ers and awards
masses) and edu institutional credits.
cational institutions Collaboration
• Collaborative
• Distance education Cooperative activities types: in which
institutions and the across national bound several institutions
industries. While aries take a number of jointly design and
the industry is a different forms. Many develop courses
major beneficiary of these, such as the that they use in
of the education school-based email their respective
sector (in that its projects do not in institutions inde
survival depends volve actual courses, pendently of each
on the continuous and various other re other.
supply of educated search level interac • Technology-based
personnel from tions amongst peer type: in which stu
the educational groups. At a glance, dents from other
institutions), it does these collaborations countries access
not contribute to may be by groups of the host institu
the generation of primary or secondary tions via electronic
an educated force schools; school/univer communication
(Ibid). sity partnerships; col (possibly enhanced
laborations in distance by print materials,
Organizations world education program occasional video-
wide are collaborating development; partner conferences or
in order to address ships between univer even face-to-face
their specific corporate, sities and industry and meetings).
economic and educa others. Mason (1994)
tional objectives and to roughly categorized
Though there are
tackle situations where these course-based
some clear distinctions
working independently inter-institutional activi
between these types,
is not sufficient to meet ties into the following
in practice there are
desired outcomes. types:
many overlaps. Col
These characteristics Franchise types: in
laboration does not
distinguish them from which one partner
guarantee equality be-
designs, develops,
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 47
tween the partners and Russia (Fames and of a supplier, while the
their cultures, and can Woodley, 1993). As the Open Learning Institute
involve the dominance main purpose of the (OLI) takes complete
of one or two partners. program is that Eastern responsibility for cur
The benefits and dif Europeans have ac riculum, delivery and
ficulties of these kinds cess to western man assessment. However,
of collaborations will agement procedures, Dhanarajan and Tim
be discussed later on the situation is inevita mers (1992) have ana
in this paper. bly one of a dominant lyzed a whole range
culture transferring its of difficulties faced by
Franchise Type view of the world to a institutions purchasing
This is an off-campus culture that seeks to materials on the open
model that represents emulate, at least its market. They argue
an institution that teach economic advantages. that:
es only at a distance Many other countries • Courses need a
and does not maintain around the world (e.g. detailed listing of
Canada, China, Costa aims, major topics
a traditional campus
site. These institutions Rica, Germany, India, and headings, ad
have their own policies Indonesia, Israel, Ja ditional readings or
and they award their pan, Pakistan, Spain, other media.
own degrees (Reddy, Sri Lanka, Thailand, • Poorly structured
The Netherlands, and courses are much
1988). The establish
ment of each institution Venezuela) have fol more costly to
is fundamentally based lowed the UKOU ap adapt.
on the peculiar condi proach by adapting it to
their own situations. • Digitized versions
tions of its own coun of the original
try. In other words, material are much
each institution has its Marketplace Type
more desirable for
own national charac The Open Learn purchasing in the
teristics (Reddy, 1988). ing Institute of Hong “market type.”
Among institutions of Kong has developed
this group, the United the ‘marketplace type’ Open Learning Insti
Kingdom Open Univer buying course materi tute also experiences
sity (UKOU) in Eastern als from all over the the difficulty of Eng
Europe is the leader. It world to meet some lish since it is the sec
offers a number of its of its curricular needs. ond language in Hong
Open Business School Due to great value Kong. Therefore spe
(OBS) courses to stu placed on educational cial attention must be
dents in various East qualifications in Hong paid to the readability
ern European coun Kong, for employment, of adapted courseware
tries. Distance teaching promotion and possible and to the reading skills
of the sort pioneered emigration, Hong Kong of their expected stu
by the Open University boasts a great number dents (Ibid). Dixon and
was considered to be of overseas educa Blin (1992) support the
an appropriate means tional programs (Ngok above observation by
for reaching large and Lam, 1993). The sharing their own ex
numbers of students producer of the ma periences and argue
in Eastern Europe and terials is no more that
48 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
that, in preparing the tars are quite keen to programs on tropical
software for non-na develop multi-media agriculture and UBC
tive English speakers, course materials, they programs on temperate
they needed to trans are often not saleable agriculture. Students at
late English into as abroad. Although the UPM take UBC pro
simple prose as pos “marketplace type” grams either face-to-
sible. They used very situation has many dif face or in distance, and
short sentences and ficulties, especially cul UPM programs at a dis
avoided complicated tural ones, the benefits tance. In some cases,
constructions as well for both producers and an individual course is
as using small words purchasers are real; jointly developed; in
rather than big words. financial savings on others, one institution
They also tried to strip course development is takes responsibility for
the material from all great, and the sense a course delivered into
slang and explained of sharing resources the other. Through this
abbreviations, provided rather than continually arrangement set up,
online glossary to give recreating the same UBC assists UPM to
simple explanations of material is substantial. strengthen its distance
key terms. Their expe education unit’s capac
rience confirmed that The Collaborative ity in the use of technol
the process was quite Type ogy for course delivery
complex in that they (Ibid).
A consortium of agri
had to be careful not
cultural universities!
to lose the sense of the In October 1992, a se
faculties consisting of
material (lbid). ries of interactive tele
the Universiti Putra,
vision broadcasts for
Malaysia; Kaesartsa
One thing Dixon and language learning in
University, Thailand;
Bling learned from Europe was launched.
the University of the
their experiences was These broadcasts were
Phillipines at Loa Ba
that humor is difficult part of the Multime
nos, with University
to handle in cross-cul dia Teleschool Project
of British Columbia
tural courses although (MTS), funded by the
(UBC) and the Univer
they allege that it pro European Community
sity of Queensland,
vides interest and mo DELTA Research pro
Australia, as associate
tivation for learners. gram. The MTS project
partners, was estab
On the contrary, they addresses the current
lished, to promote joint
warn that non-native market for realistic dis
course development
speakers could easily tance learning system,
and collaboration and
misunderstand humor. focused on an optima
exchange of students
Adapting courses that mix of telecommunica
and faculties (Bates,
contain significant non- tions-based learning
1997). The UBC and
print material depends and tutoring (Mason,
Universiti Putra Malay
largely on the avail 1994). The project has
sia (U PM) have entered
ability of equipment sixteen partners from
into an agreement for
such as computers and five European coun
the development and
video recorders among tries and has the sup
delivery of a distance
the student population. port of major European
education program,
While distance educa enterprises. The prime
whereby UPM provides
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 49
contractor is Berlitz In International University been primarily aimed
ternational, the largest Consortium (IUC) that at improving the qual
private language train began in 1980 as a ity for student learning,
ing institution world consortium of colleges providing improved ac
wide. It developed a and universities to pro cess to broader ranges
range of foreign lan duce media-assisted of resources or under
guage distance learn courses at the upper taking research and
ing courses. A comput division level (McGill & development activities
erconferencing system Johnstone, 1994). IUC (Smith, 2000).
links the participants in has about 40 members
their European branch in the United States, Generalizations may
es with each other and Canada, Europe, and be drawn from dif
with the experts in the the Pacific Rim and ferent studies about
television studio. All coordinate among its conditions necessary
participants receive members the produc for effective inter-insti
their study letters and tion of video, print, and tutional collaboration
assignments from Ber audio courses (Ibid). (Moran, 1990; Maehl,
litz Distance Learning 2000; Donaldson &
Center in Eschborn, Essential Kosoll, 1999; Gatliff &
Germany via the com Considerations for Wendel, 1998). Essen
puter conferencing. Collaboration tial considerations for
The system enables the collaboration are inde
participants to commu Critical conditions for pendent of each other.
nicate with their fellow effective collabora They overlap; therefore
students through out tion are contextual, the author will discuss
Europe, allowing them although some gener them interchangeably.
to work in groups to alizations are possible. The most pervasive
complete study-based There are essential and critical element is
tasks (Mason, 1994). considerations for col trust among partners.
This project is collabor laboration advocated Trust implies building
ative on a large scale, for by literature. The and sustaining strong
as the group includes literature raises some relationships amongst
the course providers, of the issues relating to the staff of the col
software developers, collaboration in a con laborating organiza
television program de text of organizations tions and establishing
signers and broadcast being primarily profit- partnerships by getting
ers, as well as the com motivated and wishing to know each other,
panies seeking training to gain more power or spending time together
for their employees. an improved competi and working on events
tive advantage in the or the project together.
The Technology market place by enter Moran & Mugridge
Type ing such agreements. (1993) stated that:
This context is however Sustained rela
Many examples of col not transferable to cas
laboration exist where tionships based
es of educational col on personal trust
technology is the prima laboration where (until and shared values
ry objective for the col recently) the impera
laborating institutions. cannot be overes
tive to collaborate has timated as factors
One example is the
50 DEASA-5ADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
in successful col maintained by emerge. Conflict there
laboration. The pres recognizing that fore should be seen
ence of one or more people seeking as a normal outcome
champions in each assistance should of cooperation, which
institution, willing to fully share power not only is a means to
listen to and trust and make vital test but also helps the
their counterparts, is contributions to parties to forge even
a near-universal fea community problems stronger bonds. Karis
ture of collaborative solving and; (1989) argues that:
ventures in distance characterized by collaborators
• . .

education (p. 154- shared responsibility should be assured


155). for common goals, that conflict
a willingness to be over ideas, over
This trust has to oper held accountable, substantive matters,
ate at several levels- and commitments to can be a positive
among faculty devel democratic practices development in
oping and teaching (p. 20). the collaborative
the courses, among process. They
administrators servic This interpersonal in must recall that
ing the students and gredient is central to the sometimes
courses, and senior of all stages of success messy working
ficers representing the ful partnership. Peo out of various and
university in broader ple and organizations opposing viewpoints
political and education forming a partnership is part and parcel
al forums. It also has confront a difficult of the collaborative
to operate effectively problem: they need process (p. 121).
between these levels to work with someone
and within each univer they trust. Trust is so He further suggests
sity as well as between critical because part that “by relying exclu
partners. Himmelman nerships are more inti sively on cooperation!
(1996) observes that: mate than virtually any consensus, collab
such values and form of organization. orative groups restrict
practices include Partners must rely on their invention process
those pro viding for each other completely when what might be
mutual recognition (Berquist, Betwee & better employed is
and for the Muel, 1995). Achieve fuller debate” (p. 121).
establishment of ment and maintenance The task of maintaining
respect, trust and of confidence among open, forthright com
power which is all these groups, and in munication is a critical
defined and shared the collaborative pro one because, as more
by all those joined cess itself, are critical. than one program di
in common efforts. rector noted, partner
Such values and It is very important ship between higher
practices are often for those involved to education and the cor
the basis for a note that a collabora porate world involves
shared vision among tive effort is a cultural nothing less than the
those revitalizing transformation and interaction between
communities; hence, conflict will two very different,
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 51
sometimes conflicting deliver programs and around the funding and
cultures. These cultur services to a number what it buys. Corpo
al differences manifest of locations simulta rate training personnel,
themselves in different neously, gives them a conditioned by long ex
ways within different real advantage over perience of purchasing
program structures, conventional educa programs and services
institutions, and or tion in the competition from “vendors” bring
ganization, but some for external partners. to higher education a
common elements “Partnerships provide broad and sometimes
are apparent (Chute flexibility. Their struc demanding interpreta
& Gulliver, 1996). One tures and agreements tion of what they can
cultural difference can readily be changed expect in return for
that is evident in most to meet shifting needs paying the full cost of
partnerships concerns and conditions” (Ber a program. If expecta
time, the expectation quist, Betwee & Muel, tions of training con
of how long it takes to 1995; p. 18). tent are laid out clearly
plan and implement a in advance, agreement
new venture. Higher Distance education on the “customized”
education, with a com programs that build curriculum can gener
plex academic deci their course develop ally be reached. The
sion-making structure ment capacities in a level and extent of stu
and history of little or manner that makes ad dent support services
no pressure to com aptation of existing el can sometimes be less
pete until recent years, ements to new educa clearly understood,
often moves with what tion and training needs but expectations can
industry considers gla possible in a short time be brought into align
cial slowness. Industry frame are the most ment with careful as
and organized labor, attractive to employ sessment of employee
on the other hand, ap ers and organizations. needs and orientation
pear to educators to Conversely, higher of students and cor
expect not only instant education entities that porate management
program development, have difficulty mov to the nature and de
but instant program ing quickly, such as mands of distance
result as well (Chute & some large university learning.
Gulliver, 1996). There systems, may find that More difficult to antici
fore, it is crucial for col the window of oppor pate and clarify are is
laborating institutions tunity for participation sues such as confiden
to be able to accom in distance education tiality of student records
modate different insti ventures with industry versus the expectation
tutional culture (Moran closes before they are of the employer or
& Mugridge, 1993). ready to act. union of access to re
cords of their students’
The relative flexibility The cultural differ academic status. Even
of many distance edu ences between higher the schedule on which
cation units to respond education and the cor tuition is paid can be
to employer needs porate/labor commu an issue, notes Penn
and meet organization nity can also be seen State’s McGrath as cit
deadline quickly and to in the expectations ed by Chute & Gulliver
52 DEASASADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
(1996). He notes that by forming collabora and its use in distance
universities are accus tion efforts. Radical education is pulling
tomed to requiring tu changes in information people around the
ition payments before and communication are globe into unexpected
a student can register, having profound effects forms of collaboration.
while companies are on the way ordinary
accustomed to paying people learn about and Collaborative ventures
for services after the interact with the world. are proving to be cost
fact. Advances in free ex effective in their use
change of ideas serve of human and material
Benefits and as a positive force for resources, both within
complexities of democratic change. institutions and across
inter-institutional Knowledge increases regional, national, or
collaboration so fast and becomes international systems.
outdated so quickly As a result, institutions
Benefits of inter-insti that the instructor can are forming coopera
tutional collaboration no longer be the ex tion to offer programs,
in distance education pert on everything. In sharing information
includes but are not creasingly, faculty and and to accept each
limited to cost shar institutions are viewing other’s credit. A good
ing, team teaching, collaboration as a real example is the case of
overcoming bureau Australia Inter- Univer
istic means of continu
cratic obstacles dupli ing to provide service sity Women’s Studies
cation of efforts and to growing numbers of Major, a joint venture
more efficient use of students, who make between Deakin, Mur
resources, increased the greater and more doch and Queensland
access to information, varied demands of the University. The Univer
sharing information, sity of Botswana (UB),
institutions they attend
accepting each others’ (Moran & Mugridge, through the Distance
credits and sharing the 1993). Education Department
cost of technology and has collaboration with
response to turbulent The need for inter-in the University of South
conditions when orga stitutional collaboration Africa. The UB buys
nizations acting inde in distance education modules from UNISA
pendently in diverse di is further strengthened for the Bachelor of
rections, create unan by international efforts Business program of
ticipated consequenc to promote a literate fered through distance
es for themselves and society. It is therefore mode.
others (Gray, 1996). imperative to recognize
Fundamental changes and underscore the The benefits of col
and patterns of knowl importance of setting laboration in distance
edge creation and dis objectives higher than education can be con
semination, curricu siderable to learners,
individual gain in order
lum development and to provide for societal faculty and to institu
delivery methods are gains (Cole, Fortes & tions. Partnerships,
challenging distance Klinger, 1996). Evi merges, consortiums,
education institutions dently, the integrative of one kind or another,
to support and enrich nature of technology may have to be consid
the scholarly pursuits
DEASA-SADC COE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 53
ered for many reasons, for highly mobile of Nairobi-Kenya as the
but more notably, for populations, could be African Virtual Univer
educational, econom achieved by groups of stiy Headquarters, the
ic, social, and political institutions working to director of World Bank
advantages. Haughey gether (Maehl, 2000; Human Development,
and Fenwick (1996) Donaldson & Kozoll, Ramphele Maphele,
claim that “of the vari 1999; Moran, 1990). noted that African
ous possible models Gatlif and Wendel countries lack a strong
of collaboration, con (1998) echo the same and reliable telecom
sortia appear to be the sentiments that: munication network.
preferred form of inter- Institutional She stated that one
institutional partners administration and of the weaknesses of
chosen to implement regulatory boards the African continent
distance education” have espoused is that she does not
(p. 58). Deriving forces the benefits of have continent-wide
associated to consor inter-institutional network, adding that
tia preference include collaboration the African Virtual Uni
mutual support when in response to versity (AUV) technol
advocating for funds, the concerns of ogy is supposed to
information sharing reducing duplication, offer African countries
among teachers, joint maximizing the use opportunities to share
purchasing power, of limited human and knowledge (Panafrican
content development financial resources, News Agency, 18 July
and professional de and increasing 2000).
velopment. enrollments in
under-enrolled Cooperative course
Bureaucratic obstacles courses (p.27). development can help
for learners moving build a critical mass
from one educational Technology as an in of scholars otherwise
institution to another tegral part of distance geographically scat
can be smoothed out education and some tered in relatively small
by agreements to share distance education in institutions. Team
information, jointly offer structional materials members benefit from
programs, and accept could be so expensive the experience of
one another’s credit. for different institu working with peers, as
Duplication of efforts tions especially in the instruction is improved
and more efficient use developing countries, capitalizing on the re
of resources especially particularly Africa that spective strengths of
in public systems can inter-institutional col each member and by
be achieved by deci laboration serves as developing new knowl
sions to cooperate an alternative to make edge and skills (Gatliff
in offering programs. them affordable. Avail & Wendel, 1998). By
Where it would be im ability and compatibility combining efforts, fac
possible for a single of delivery systems be ulty from different in
institution, large-scale tween institutions could stitutions can expand
efforts extending over be very expensive thus; course offerings and
broader geographi cost sharing is identi provide those courses
cal areas, sometimes fied as an inauguration to a greater number of
54 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
students, thus becom programs. The Center Distance Learning
ing less dependent for Continuing Educa (BOCODOL) collabo
upon the limitations of tion of the University rates with the Ministry
on-campus registra of Botswana provided of Education to offer
tions. The students technical and profes high school educa
also enjoy the benefits sional assistance for tion through distance
as seen in expanding training and production mode. Botswana Open
course offerings and of educational mate and Distance Learning
the expertise of team rials. The Ministry of Association (BODOLA)
teachers. Education (MoE) pro was formed to promote
vided technical support collaboration among
In Botswana, inter-in for program develop institutions in the coun
stitutional collaboration ment, and evaluation. try. The National Asso
is evident at a small The Distance Educa ciation of Distance Ed
scale between differ tion Resource Center ucation of South Africa
ent educational insti (DERC), located at the (NADUSA) is also pro
tutions. The Distance Institute of Health Sci moting collaborative ef
Education Program ences was equipped forts among institutions
(DEP) was designed with video, models, in South Africa.
in collaboration with maps, overhead pro
Ministry of Health and jectors, audiovisual Potential
Institutes of Health Sci materials and many problems of
ences (HIS) to improve more. Another exam collaboration
primary health services ple is the collaboration
In their effort to em
through upgrading En between the Ministry
bark on collaborative
rolled Nurses to Reg of Education and the
projects, adult educa
istered Nurses (Bility & University of Botswana
tors and administrators
Odharo, 1995). Other through Distance Edu
should consider collab
institutions and agen cation Unit to upgrade
oration as a turbulent
cies involved in this primary school teach
experience that could
project were Ministry ers with certificate to
be chaotic if partners do
of Education (MoE); a diploma level. Some
not respect individuals,
University of Botswana examples include the
groups or institutional
(Center for Continuing collaboration of Nurs
integrity. Collabora
Education) and De ing Department of the
tive efforts face many
partment of Nursing; University of Botswa
risks. These include fi
and Kellog Founda na; the National Health
nancial risks, credibility
tion, United States of Institute (NHI) formal
risks and political risks.
America. The Ministry education collaborates
There are also relation
of Health (M0H) was with the University of
ship risks that come in
the principal agency Botswana to offer ex
a form of threats to fair
responsible for overall tension education. Six
dealing that includes
financing, administra colleges are affiliated
issues of equity, trust,
tion and management to the University for
lack of communication
of all program activities. the authenticity of their
and reciprocity. On the
The University of Bo certificates. The newly
other hand, Hillman &
tswana was to accredit opened Botswana
Colker (1987) as cited
the distance education College of Open and
by Gatliff & Wendel
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 55
(1998) stated that, faculty members pre building effective com
member institutions paring distance educa munication networks,
should review cam tion courses may de identifying and build
pus policy and regula motivate them. If team ing community and
tions as they relate to teaching is added, the establishing leadership
such basic issues as amount of time spent (National Network for
full-time equivalent re working with one or Collaboration 1995 as
quirements, semester more instructors add cited by Gatliff & Wen
and class schedules, significantly to prepa del, 1998) all of which
budget and tuition. ration time. Learning enhance professional
to work with technol growth. Planning plays
Literature constantly ogy and selecting an a significant role and it
reinforces the view appropriate delivery is critical when contem
that, collaboration in system to produce a plating collaboration.
the true sense is diffi seamless interface
cult—it is difficult to se increases the time Avarietyof issues come
lect appropriate stake commitment (Austin & into play that need se
holders who share the Baldwin, 1992). Where rious attention before
same vision; to balance there is no established collaboration can take
the power relationship policy taskforce to de place to deal with dif
between stake holders fine the applicability of ferences. Donaldson
which often becomes distance teaching to & Kozoll (1999) stated
the focus of attention; wards promotion and that, by virtues of col
negotiate the organiza tenure, then the idea laborators coming from
tional and operational of team teaching would several organizations,
structures and proce be far-fetched. In a differences abound in
dures to be adopted by nutshell, team teach collaboration. These
the new entity; and es ing in inter-institutional are manifested in the
tablish lines of commu collaboration in dis variety of values, phi
nication and build trust tance education could losophies, working
between staff from dif be a dream that may norms, and interests
ferent organizations never come true if the which representatives
(Smith, 2000). Moran faculty members are and their organizations
& Mugridge (1993) not supported to deter bring to collaborative
concur with Smith that, mine their willingness efforts. Some inhibitors
inter-institutional col to be involved (Olcott, to inter-institutional
laboration is extremely 1992). collaboration that Mo
difficult and usually ran (1990) noted in
very complicated to Although inter-insti cluded the tradition of
undertake. tutional teaming has institutional autonomy
appealing factors that particularly in certifi
While collaboration in afford faculty with di cation and standards
team teaching provides verse backgrounds that result in a lack of
benefits to institution, and environments to trust for teaching and
faculty may view par come together and be standards elsewhere.
ticipation differently. creative, it is a dynamic The initial incompat
The increase of per process that involves ibility of organizational
sonal teaching load of a lot of negotiation, structures and admin
56 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
istrative processes is these collaborations Glasgow Caledonian
another. Other com should be aware of University (GCAL)
plexities include geo their complexities as and Queen Margaret
political isolation of uni well. Creating or en University College in
versities, and failures abling such inter-insti the United Kingdom
of implementation due tutional relationships serves as an example
to insufficient funds, is very challenging. of this reflection. Reilly
lack of clear vision, Collaboration entails & Gulliver, 1992 (as cit
real commitment and adapting principles to ed by Thach & Murphy,
ineffective handling of specific contexts and 1994) suggest that,
technical and human situations. Having to policies dealing with
problems. Copyright think differently and credit transfer, resi
and royalty restrictions work with individuals dency requirements,
can also hamper effec outside of our organi credit equivalency, and
tive collaboration (The zations pose a number other issues often must
Commonwealth Secre of risks that we seldom be written.
tariat, 1985 as cited by experience in our own
Moran, 1990). organizations. These A combination of per
may include changes sistence among the
Implications to new policy, struc players and strong
ture, communication positive leadership is
The advancement of and skills. required to sustain the
new communication collaborative project.
technologies calls for Traditional modes of Bringing different or
new reforms in higher institutional operation, ganizational cultures,
education. New skills especially competi styles and diverse
and resources to de tion and institutional scholars together re
liver education are autonomy must be quires good mecha
needed. Institutions abandoned to allow nisms for communi
of higher education collaboration to oc cation, negotiation of
can no longer afford cur (Thach & Murphy, relationships and de
to stand alone. Inter- 1994). Those who are cision making to serve
institutional collabora engaged in distance the project purpose
tion relationships are education need to ap well. It is evident from
crucial for colleges and preciate each other’s some case studies that
universities to be able knowledge and skills by creating a one-stop
to extend their markets, and exercise some center for students and
find new students and flexibility without as instructors, or different
develop new products suming that either countries that central
geared to the needs side is superior in any ized distance educa
of these consumers. ways. Inter-institutional tion structures eventu
Inter-institutional col collaboration requires ally can move into the
laborations have a lot those concerned to world virtual structures,
of benefits and they reflect on their actions where even a physical
add value for the stu and learn from their location is no longer
dents, faculty and for experiences. The case necessary, for instance
the institutions which of inter-institutional African Virtual Univer
form them. However, collaboration between sity. Inter-institutional
institutions involved in
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 57
collaboration requires instructional resources. It is a challenge to all of
working together in the Developing environ those who work in the
spirit of collegiality, by ments particularly in field of distance edu
respecting diversity of the Sub-Saharan Afri cation to broaden their
opinions and capital ca region could benefit perspectives and strive
izing on each other’s a lot from these kinds for the implementation
strengths and diverse of partnerships Institu of best practices. Col
cultural geographic tions have to relinquish laboration is not just an
backgrounds. the tradition of compe economic strategy (this
tition and join hands to is not really about mon
Conclusion build a better global so ey). The most impor
ciety. In his speech at tant and enduring rea
This paper discussed
the Learning Together: sons for a collaborative
inter-institutional col
Collaboration in Open approach are the many
laborative activities,
Learning Conference, positive benefits, which
types of inter-institu
the President and will be experienced by
tional collaboration,
Chief Operating Officer those involved: the
the essential consid
of The Commonwealth faculty, students and
erations for inter-insti
of Learning, Professor staff of the university.
tutional collaboration
Gajaraj Dhanarajan Inter-institutional col
and potential benefits
(1998) said: laboration and faculty
and complexities as
It is unlikely that in teaming hold positive
well as their implica
a learner-centered, consequences for both
tions. Inter-institutional
flexible, technology- teaching and learning.
collaboration provides
driven system of The search for solu
an environment to en
education where tions to the challenges
liven and enrich the
the student can facing collaboration
learning process not
only in distance educa be located on the requires input from
globe, institutions many fields of knowl
tion settings but also in
can operate on their edge and professional
conventional practices.
own and be immune groups. A structure is
These collaborative
to pressures and required where coop
partnerships are impor
influences from their eration among collabo
tant where: resources
governments and, rating partners would
are shrinking, given
more importantly, produce tangible ben
the demand for wider
clients. (htty://www. efits to both faculty and
use of sophisticated
technology, limited fac col. org/speeches/ students.
curtin98.html).
ulty (teacher), time and

58 DEA5A-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


istrative processes is these collaborations Glasgow Caledonian
another. Other com should be aware of University (GCAL)
plexities include geo their complexities as and Queen Margaret
political isolation of uni well. Creating or en University College in
versities, and failures abling such inter-insti the United Kingdom
of implementation due tutional relationships serves as an example
to insufficient funds, is very challenging. of this reflection. Reilly
lack of clear vision, Collaboration entails & Gulliver, 1992 (as cit
real commitment and adapting principles to ed by Thach & Murphy,
ineffective handling of specific contexts and 1994) suggest that,
technical and human situations. Having to policies dealing with
problems. Copyright think differently and credit transfer, resi
and royalty restrictions work with individuals dency requirements,
can also hamper effec outside of our organi credit equivalency, and
tive collaboration (The zations pose a number other issues often must
Commonwealth Secre of risks that we seldom be written.
tariat, 1985 as cited by experience in our own
Moran, 1990). organizations. These A combination of per
may include changes sistence among the
Implications to new policy, struc players and strong
ture, communication positive leadership is
The advancement of and skills. required to sustain the
new communication collaborative project.
technologies calls for Traditional modes of Bringing different or
new reforms in higher institutional operation, ganizational cultures,
education. New skills especially competi styles and diverse
and resources to de tion and institutional scholars together re
liver education are autonomy must be quires good mecha
needed. Institutions abandoned to allow nisms for communi
of higher education collaboration to oc cation, negotiation of
can no longer afford cur (Thach & Murphy, relationships and de
to stand alone. Inter- 1994). Those who are cision making to serve
institutional collabora engaged in distance the project purpose
tion relationships are education need to ap well. It is evident from
crucial for colleges and preciate each other’s some case studies that
universities to be able knowledge and skills by creating a one-stop
to extend their markets, and exercise some center for students and
find new students and flexibility without as instructors, or different
develop new products suming that either countries that central
geared to the needs side is superior in any ized distance educa
of these consumers. ways. Inter-institutional tion structures eventu
Inter-institutional col collaboration requires ally can move into the
laborations have a lot those concerned to world virtual structures,
of benefits and they reflect on their actions where even a physical
add value for the stu and learn from their location is no longer
dents, faculty and for experiences. The case necessary, for instance
the institutions which of inter-institutional African Virtual Univer
form them. However, collaboration between sity. Inter-institutional
institutions involved in
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 57
collaboration requires instructional resources. It is a challenge to all of
working together in the Developing environ those who work in the
spirit of collegiality, by ments particularly in field of distance edu
respecting diversity of the Sub-Saharan Afri cation to broaden their
opinions and capital ca region could benefit perspectives and strive
izing on each other’s a lot from these kinds for the implementation
strengths and diverse of partnerships Institu of best practices. Col
cultural geographic tions have to relinquish laboration is not just an
backgrounds. the tradition of compe economic strategy (this
tition and join hands to is not really about mon
Conclusion build a better global so ey). The most impor
ciety. In his speech at tant and enduring rea
This paper discussed
the Learning Together: sons for a collaborative
inter-institutional col
Collaboration in Open approach are the many
laborative activities,
Learning Conference, positive benefits, which
types of inter-institu
the President and will be experienced by
tional collaboration,
Chief Operating Officer those involved: the
the essential consid
of The Commonwealth faculty, students and
erations for inter-insti
of Learning, Professor staff of the university.
tutional collaboration
Gajaraj Dhanarajan Inter-institutional col
and potential benefits
(1998) said: laboration and faculty
and complexities as
It is unlikely that in teaming hold positive
well as their implica
a learner-centered, consequences for both
tions. Inter-institutional
flexible, technology- teaching and learning.
collaboration provides
driven system of The search for solu
an environment to en
education where tions to the challenges
liven and enrich the
the student can facing collaboration
learning process not
only in distance educa be located on the requires input from
globe, institutions many fields of knowl
tion settings but also in
can operate on their edge and professional
conventional practices.
own and be immune groups. A structure is
These collaborative
to pressures and required where coop
partnerships are impor
influences from their eration among collabo
tant where: resources
governments and, rating partners would
are shrinking, given
more importantly, produce tangible ben
the demand for wider
clients. (htty://www. efits to both faculty and
use of sophisticated
technology, limited fac col. org/speeches/ students.
curtin98.html).
ulty (teacher), time and

58 DEA5A-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


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60 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


MANAGING A REGIONAL CENTRE IN AN
OPEN AND DISTANCE LEARNING INSTITUTION
Dr. NdabaJ. Ncube
Zimbabwe Open University

Abstract other CDL institutions, in particular, and others


and education manage involved in the delivery
Open and distance ment. The issues that of education will en
learning (CDL) is a are addressed include hance efficiency and
relatively new mode of locating a regional cen effectiveness in educa
availing educational op tre; student registration; tional provision and pro
portunities to a wider financial management, voke further dialogue
population, and it has human resource is on implementation of
ushered in the need to sues, and provision of CDL programmes.
manage institutions in library services, among
a decentralised format. others. Challenges Introduction
This development calls faced in managing a
for focus on the centres The emergence of
regional centre are also
that give direct service open and distance
explored. The chal
to the learners, hence learning institutions
lenges include lack of
this article is an explo has been a result of
resources, stereotypes
ration of the role of a governments’ desire
towards open and dis
regional centre in man to increase access to
tance learning, the di
aging key services in an university and tertiary
lemma of decentraliza
CDL institution. In keep education by the com
tion and centralization
ing with the ideals and munities (Mmari 1999;
in decision-making, as
principles of accessibil ZOU Act 1999). This
well as the distance
ity, cost-effectiveness deliberate act to excite
of the learners from
and convenience to entry into university
the centre. The article
learners it is imperative programmes by people
winds off with a discus
that CDL institutions set who would normally be
sion of strategies that
up and manage prop preoccupied with work
can be adopted to im
erly decentralized cen commitments, or have
prove the effectiveness
tres, which become the no access to university
of the management of a
call-face for learners education results in
regional centre. Among
since the institutions very large enrolments
the strategies to deal
serve learners who are in ODL universities.
with the challenges are
spread through out the For instance in 1977,
supply of resources,
country and even be 124 000 distance edu
training of personnel,
yond national boundar cation learners were
further decentraliza
ies. The article draws enrolled at UNISA;
tion, and heavy invest
from the experience of 81 000 at Technikon
ment in technology. It
the author as a Region South Africa; and in
is hoped that sharing
al Director in an CDL in 2006 over 21 000 were
these experiences with
stitution, as well as liter enrolled at the Zimba
other CDL practitioners,
ature on experiences in bwe Open University
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 61
(Dodds; Nyongolo & cilities (Bangkok: 1990: that the regional centre
Glennie 1999; Kurasha 7-20). Harry, John and offers include student
2006). In essence then Keegan (1993: 67) registration; library ser
the CDL universities say, “...these are uni vices; communication;
become mega universi versities of a nation or tutorial services; as
ties, which are charac a state, not of a city signment administration
terized by centralized like Oxford or Bolo and examinations man
senior management gna. Frequently they agement. The regional
structures reminiscent are universities on tens centre also serves as
of conventional univer or hundreds of sites a marketing unit for the
sities. However CDL spread throughout the university.
universities have their nation.” The regional
learners dispersed. To centres are the deliv The objectives of this
enhance student sup ery points of services article are:
port, and in keeping that learners require. • To explore the role
with the principles and of a regional centre
ideals of making CDL The regional centre in the provision of
education accessible, carries out specific services in an CDL
cost- effective and functions that ought to institution
convenient to learn satisfy customer needs • To explore how ac
ers, CDL universities and ensure studies are tivities in a regional
usually set up regional carried out efficiently. centre can be man
centers as the call- The quality of service aged to ensure that
face for the students. and education availed service delivery to
The management of to learners in an CDL learners is of high
these centres deter institution, depend on quality
mines significantly the how well a regional
• To highlight chal
success or failure of centre is managed,
lenges in manag
CDL programmes. The since in terms of op
ing a regional
number of regional erationalisation of pro
centre in an CDL
centres depends on grammes the regional
institution
the student population centre represents the
and availability of re institution. • To recommend
sources. For instance some strategies
the Open University of Various issues are that can be ad
Tanzania had twenty- involved in the man opted to improve
one regions in 1999, agement of a regional the efficiency and
and ZCU has ten re centre, starting with its effectiveness of a
gions in 2006 (Mmari location. It has to be regional centre in
1999; ZCU 2001). The within easy access to an CDL institution.
Open University, UK, the learners. The region
has for instance a net requires specific human The role of a
work of 260 regional and financial resources regional centre
study centres staffed to drive the processes, Locating a
with tutors, counsel and these must be regional centre
ors, administrators and managed in a way that
containing a wide va ensures quality service The primary consid
riety of educational fa delivery. Other services eration in locating a

62 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


regional centre is that 1989). An improperly faulty in the regional
the majority of learners located regional cen centres, the institution
have relatively easy ac tre is likely to lead to as a whole will have in
cess to it. Access is not frustration of learners accurate data. This in
only measured in terms and workers, and this turn will lead to faulty
of distance, but also may result in failure to planning of resources,
in terms of road net realize the goals of the which compromises
works, transport con institution. the quality of service
nectivity, accessibility to the learners. Data
of buildings, availabil Student in an institution helps
ity of ancillary services registration in the use of statisti
such as photocopy cal process control in
Regional centres regis the management of
ing and telephone fa
ter learners, as it is not
cilities in the vicinity resources, human and
possible for learners to physical (Greenwood &
and, Harry, John and
converge at headquar Grant 1994: 107). The
Keegan (1999) argue
ters for registration. For
that a regional study same view is shared
new learners this pro by Beagley (1999: 7)
centre must provide
cess begins with the who says inconsistent
easy access to full time
processing of applica enrolments can pres
workers, the disabled,
tions. Learners obtain ent difficulties in the
imprisoned, and hos
application forms from
pitalized, together with management of learn
the regional centre ing activities.
those tied to the home.
where initial selection
For the regional centre
is done, and ratified at The registration pro
to effectively service
the headquarters. Once cess is the first contact
this diverse population,
learners have been ac between the institution
its location must be
cepted they register and the learner and the
properly planned. The
at the regional centre
planner needs to take experience the learner
where they are handed is subjected to may de
full audit of the profile
their tutorial packages, termine whether or not
of the potential and cur
and given orientation
rent learners and do an the learner will main
into the institution. tain a sustained rela
informed mapping. The
Learners can only be tionship with the insti
choice of the location
registered upon pay tution. A positive expe
of a regional centre is a
ment of the requisite rience will most proba
conscious, rigorous and
fees. Thus the regional bly lead to a continued
data-driven process,
centre also manages relationship whereas
which also involves the
institutional finances.
ability to accurately ex a negative experience
The registration pro will most likely lead
trapolate future growth
cess yields learner sta the learner to drop out.
in student numbers and
tistics that are relayed Thus to ensure student
services to be offered,
to headquarters and retention the regional
for the centre must re
aggregated with other centre must adopt a
main accessible now,
regional centres to strategy to understand,
and in future. Citing
come up with a nation anticipate, manage
a regional centre can
al enrolment. If admis and personalize the
borrow concepts from
sions, fees-collection needs of the learners
school mapping (IIEP
and registration are
DEASA-5ADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 63
(Miller 2005: 1). A re professional develop a desire to add value to
gional centre that fails ment of all academic the learners. McCallion
to retain the learners staff through research, (1998:91) argues that
it registers defeats the conferences, staff de for an educational in
goals of enhancing ac velopment and further stitution to function ef
cess to education, and ance of academic and fectively systems and
wastes resources. professional qualifica procedures for manag
tions to meet new chal ing finances must be
Human resources lenges. Induction for all put in place. It is imper
The most important levels of staff is critical, ative, therefore, that
resource in a regional a view supported by financial transactions
centre are Doidge; Hardwick and and deployment of re
human
resources. Wilkinson (1998:10) sources in the regional
Person
nel, which fall under when they say induc centre are based on
the management of tion, “. ..is no more or prescribed, accept
a Director, comprise less than a function of able and transparent
cleaners, clerks, library good management and practices. The regional
assistants, administra should be seen as an centre is a cost centre
tion officers, full- time integral and important of the institution, and
academics as well as duty of all those who its function is to moni
part—time have staff reporting tor and control costs
academ
ics, Of these, in most to them.” To enhance (McCallion, 1998:93).
cases, the single-larg the quality of service There is need there
est group are part-time delivery the staff must fore to have financial
tutors. Gatiss (1996) be continually trained expertise in the region
argues that quality is as posited by Creech al centre.
about people and not (1 994:90-91) that
things. So to ensure training of people ex The regional centre
that learners are ex tensively and at every relies on a number of
posed to the highest level plays a vital role service providers for
level of quality service, in transforming an or its livelihood such as
efforts must be made ganization. suppliers, owners of
to engage in human re rented buildings, and
source planning “...to Financial part-time academics.
ensure the right num management It is imperative that
bers of the right kinds The regional centre these parties are paid
of people are available has a responsibility of timeously if they are
at the right time and managing budgets and to continue rendering
in the right places to resources good service, and the
allocated
translate organization to it by the institution. onus to ensure this
al plans into reality,” The guiding principle rests with the regional
Smith (1997: 6). Thus is that all expenditure centre. Apart from
the regional centre is should be in support paying suppliers the
involved in the recruit of learning. The way regional centre is also
ment, induction and money is spent ought responsible for receiv
welfare of staff at vari to convince the learner ing amounts payable
ous levels, and also and the public that ex to the institution in the
ensures continuous penditure is guided by locality. These may
64 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
include student fees, reading materials, as made to tackle
fines, donations and well as maintenance of these problems and
payment for services. accurate records of the improve services.
The guiding principle is resources.
Mmari (1 999:118)
that all money should
further says through
be accounted for and Communication
regional and study
remitted accordingly.
The regional centre centres decisions
also acts as a com of council, senate
Library services
munication centre and faculty boards
A very important re between the institu reach even the
source in any learning tion and the learners. lowest levels of
situation is the library. Through the regional the institution.
With the assistance of centre issues are com This provides an
headquarters, the re municated to learners opportunity for
gional centre sets up, from headquarters, timeous solution of
maintains and man and to headquarters problems. Hence
ages a library. The first from learners. This the regional centre
step is to secure appro helps to avoid informa plays a key role in
priate space. In spite tion-crowding at the facilitating effective
of the proliferation of headquarters as some communication
electronic data sourc of the issues can be within the institution.
es many learners still dealt with at the region Such communication
cannot access them, al centre level. Alluding is important as
so the physical library to the role the regional alluded to by Sallis
still plays a very impor centre plays in com (1996: 46) who says
tant role in the support munication at the Open communication is
of open and distance University of Tanzania, important in quality
learners. Mills and Tait Mmari (1999:117) ob management in
(1999: 74) cite studies serves that: education.
carried out in Austra Every quarter, the
lia, North America and directors of regional Tutorial services
the United Kingdom centers meet at
The regional centre is
which showed a heavy the Head Office to
also responsible for
weighting towards open compare notes and
distributing instruc
and distance learn thrash out student
tional materials and
ers using libraries by problems of a
organizing tutorial
making personal visits policy or practical
services for learners.
to the library. The re nature. Problems
This involves securing
gional centre receives con fronting them
venues, timetabling
stock from headquar and students include
tutorials and supervis
ters and processes it, the delivery of study
ing tutorials to ensure
then loans out to learn materials, return
quality service delivery.
ers. Good care should of marked scripts,
According to Mills and
be taken of the stock so receipts of fees paid
Tait (1999:73) tutorials
that it has a longer life into bank accounts,
are one area of conver
span and utility. There and postponement
gence between open
must be equitable and of studies. Every
and distance education
efficient distribution of effort has been
DEA5A-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 65
and conventional edu and distance learn can motivate learners,
cation and: ing setup is learner- advise them on how to
One of the instructor interaction, approach their studies
longest-standing and this can be f a and diagnose learning
elite traditions in cilitated through orga problems.
UK education at nized tutorials. Thus,
university level the regional centre Calder and McCollum
has been the plans for, and ensures (1998: 70) say face-
small-group and that the tutorials are to-face tutorial support
individual tutorial executed to the best is one of the most ef
work developed benefit of the learner. fective ways of learner
over many centuries Race (2005) acknowl support. They quote an
at the universities edges the value of tu open learner saying of
of Oxford and torials when he posits tutors, “The tutors are
Cambridge. The that open learners can very important, after
‘Oxbridge’ system be supported through, a certain level you get
of lectures and tutoring, training open stuck, the tutors are
practical work learning tutors, mentor there for you when you
provided by the ing learners and giving get stuck, you could
university combined tutor feedback to learn not manage without
with tutorial support ers. Race (2005:120) the tutors.” Given that
or supervisions proceeds to say: the core business of a
arranged by the while it is university is teaching,
individual colleges possible to package it can be argued that
is a well-tried and information and provision of tutorial
tested approach knowledge in a wide services is probably
which ensures that variety of media, the most important role
individual students and to design into of a regional centre.
are supported, open learning all the
their strengths and processes whereby Assignment
weaknesses noted learning should administration
and appropriate be successful, in
action taken. practice it is now For both continuous
assessment and as a
well recognized
The notion of small- that human teaching strategy, learn
group student support beings remain an ers write tutor-marked
and teaching is the indispensable factor assignments. The as
aspect that casts a dif for guaranteeing signments are prepared
ference between cor the success of open at headquarters and
respondence and open learning. sent to the regional cen
and distance learning, tre from where they are
and a regional centre Therefore apart from distributed to individual
facilitates this competi scheduling tutorials the learners. The regional
tive edge of the deliv regional centre must centre collects and re
ery mode. Harry, John continually train tutors cords all assignments
and Keegan (1999) and supervise them to from learners, passes
posit that one form of effect maximum bene them on to markers,
fit from the tutorial ses and keeps records of
interaction in an open
sions. Trained tutors what has been distrib
66 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
uted. Within an agreed tre plays a key role in ket the institution. I he
time frame (14 days ensuring that learners regional centre pro
for ZOU) the markers benefit from marked vides for the physical
return the assignments assignments. presence and visibility
to the regional centre. of the institution in the
Before assignments are Examinations local community. The
collected back by the management regional centre sells
learners, Programme the institution in the lo
Learner studies cul
Coordinators sample cality by means of open
minate in formal ex
and moderate them to days, taking part in ex
aminations which when hibitions, spearheading
ensure that marking
passed, lead to certifi research and hosting
is thorough, educative
cation, and examina
and communicative. conferences. The re
tions are managed by
This aspect is very gional centre also initi
the regional centre. This
important as the qual ates linkages with the
involves safe custody
ity of learning of open corporate world, politi
of examination papers,
and distance learners cians, as well as civic
before and after writ leaders. In all this, the
is partly influenced by
ing, procuring exami thrust is to identify the
the quality of feedback
nation stationary/mate
on written assignments. academic needs of the
rials; securing venues community and steer
Race (2005: 120) says,
and hiring invigilators the institution towards
“The most critical side
and ensuring that the continually satisfying
of supporting open
letter and spirit of the
learners is giving feed these needs and es
examination rules are tablishing a permanent
back on their marked
at play. If the university productive relationship
work.” The same view,
is to claim quality ser with the community.
is held by Mills and Tait
vice to its customers,
(1999: 73 74) when In its marketing role
the examinations must

they say: the regional centre


be managed properly.
Teaching by thus seeks to create
CoIlby (2003:3) and customers; keep cus
commenting
Natarajan (1993:11) ar tomers, and make the
constructively on
gue that one quality in customers profitable
students’ scripts
dicator of an education
became a key skill in for the organization
system is the credibility (Murombedzi, Mug
the distance tutor’s
of its examination and wagwa & Chivandikwa
repertoire. Much
certification processes. 2001 :8).
staff-development
For a regional centre
activity in QDL
to execute this task
currently revolves Challenges in
efficiently it has to be managing a
around the skills
empowered in terms of regional centre
and pedagogy
requisite skills, values,
of teaching by Several challenges ex
and attitudes among
commenting in ist in the management
the staff.
writing on a student’s of a regional centre.
work and entering Some of the problems
Marketing
into a dialogue using emanate from within
this medium. Another role of the re the institution, while
gional centre is to mar-
Thus, the regional cen others have their on-
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 67
yiii, uussue isie Insti government Induced The human resources
tution. Issues like hy destabilization of uni also present a chal
perinflation, and high versities, many issues lenge in managing a
unemployment levels are emerging relat regional centre, es
manifest themselves ing to the future role pecially academics.
through a number of of distance education The use of part-time
observable indicators and its efficient opera academics means that
at the regional centre tion in a client focused the regional centre’s
level. There are also market, where needs academic life depends
issues linked to the may have to be met on borrowed manpow
management of the with diminishing re er. These academ
institution and avail sources. ics can only be avail
ability of resources to able for the regional
be considered. Modern technology centre’s activities if
that would enhance their full-time employ
Resources the quality of education ers release them, or
In a developing coun delivery in a regional if no other part-time
try, a regional centre centre is usually out of employer offers them
is inevitably faced with reach in terms of cost a better package at
shortage of various for most institutions, or the same time. It not
resources. First, finan may not even be avail properly managed this
cial resources allocat able on the market. In could result in some
ed to the regional cen such cases, distance part time tutors often
tre often fall far below learning is supported missing scheduled
expectations, a fact through traditional and tutorials. Most of the
alluded to by Bolton often not-so-effective part-time academics
(2000) when he says means. This also ham come from convention
these units are often pers the undertaking of al universities where
expected to deliver un meaningful research. they enjoy “academic
der scarce resources In the libraries there freedom” in terms of
and meagre budgets. could be problems of what to teach, how to
In some cases region limited loan periods, mark and even know
al centres have en lack of stock, etc. (Mills ing what will come in
rolments higher than & Tait 1999). Even the examination. In
conventional universi where technology is an open and distance
ties, yet what they get available the challenge institution such ac
in terms of a budget of how to foster the ef tivities are designed
may be equivalent to fective use of electronic centrally and the tutor
a departmental budget media for teaching and must implement what
in a conventional uni learning is prevalent in is designed, almost in
versity. The issue of developing countries, a straightjacket fash
inadequate resources, and Calvert (1999:2) ion, and this leads to
is aptly summed by argues that, “Many conflict which may
Meacham (1999: 11) staff and students are derail the teaching
when he argues: new to the educational programme. Also be
In a period of rapid so use of e-mail, bulletin cause these lecturers
cial and technological boards, and computer are on short-term con
change coupled with conferencing.” tract, should anything
68 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
go wrong it is not easy The centralization/ gional centre regularly
to hold them account decentralization it is difficult to keep
able for their failures. dilemma up to date learner au
Most academics run- dits. Learner attrition
A regional centre is a only becomes visible
fling CDL programmes
decentralized unit of when assignments are
are products of con
headquarters, and it is not submitted or when
ventional universities
debatable if the former learners fail to turn up
both as students and
enjoys any meaningful for examinations. At
lecturers and the ten
autonomy and flexibil times, at this juncture,
dency is to employ
ity to address learner the learner may have
conventional delivery
needs in peculiar cir long dropped out and it
strategies in an CDL
cumstances. Because will be too late to bring
set up and controlling
of the need to often re him/her back. Failure to
for this is not easy.
fer to headquarters, so keep accurate student
Menon (1999:36) ex
lution of problems may statistics may lead to
plains this dilemma
take time, and this may under-planning for re
when he says, “. while
frustrate the learners. sources and services.
it has been reasonably
Where headquarters The challenge to be
possible to maintain
deliver less than what tackled is how to ensure
quality in instructional
has been promised, that there is maximum
inputs, it is difficult to
learners may exert a lot enrolment and minimal
ensure that quality is
of pressure on the re dropouts, as dropouts
maintained in contact
gional centre. Academ constitute a waste of
sessions and practical
ic staff has to live with resources (Mntangi
classes”.
a dual reporting struc 1999:72; Moyo & Mum
ture and this can create bengegwi 1995: 68).
Stereotypes
confusion and conflict.
In a location where a Some officers at head Fees payment
regional centre neigh quarters may want to
bours a conventional control the regional Some learners may
university, feelings that centre even if they are default on their fees
the conventional univer not conversant with payment, thus suffo
sity offers better qual what goes on there. cating financial inflows
ity education abound. This view is supported into the institution. Be
These feelings, mainly by Bolton (2000:2) who cause student state
emanating from the says, “In a rational de ments are generated at
fact that CDL is a rela sire for control and or headquarters it may be
tively new and little un derliness, central offi difficult at times to ver
derstood phenomenon cers have wished .the. . ify at regional level the
(Mmari 1999), may units to be either orga fees payment status
drive away potential nizationally weak, so of a learner. Failure to
learners and staff. Even that they depend upon collect fees due causes
part-time academ central services.. a strain on available re
ics from conventional sources, as these will
universities may bring Student audit be stretched to cater
these attitudes into the even for students who
Because learners do have not paid.
learners, which may af
not report to the re
fect their zeal to learn.
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 69
space able transport and other to increase learner en
Due to financial con communication net rolment so as to reduce
works, and tends to cut unit costs and realize
straints, a regional
off the learner from the economies of scale of
centre may operate
regional centre. The re offering programmes.
from rented premises,
sult is that learners miss Cost effectiveness
and move on when
key deadlines, miss analysis should be the
the lease lapses. This
tutorials, miss exami guiding principle in ex
gives the centre a no
madic character, with nations and ultimately penditure options (Huls
may dropout of the sys mann 1999). Fixed and
learners “chasing” it
from site to site. Even tem resulting in a waste variable costs should
of scarce resources. be clearly isolated with
if the regional centre
In some cases some the express intention of
does not move, learner
learners take longer suppressing the later.
and staff numbers may
than planned to com
soon outgrow the rent
plete their study pro Extensive training of
ed premises forcing the
grammes, thus increas full-time and part-time
institution to look for ad
ing the wastage ratio academics in CDL de
ditional premises hence
(Moyo & Mubengegwi livery modes will im
“scattering the region”
1995: 690). Studies by prove the delivery of
around town. Even in
Gatawa (1998: 21) and service. An improved
the few cases where
Dorsey, etal(1991: 23) service delivery reduc
property was acquired
confirm that distance es learner complaints.
when CDL universities
travelled by learners to The institution itself can
were introduced learn
educational institutions mount CDL instruction
er and staff growth
has far outstripped the disrupts learning ac programmes and en
tivities. The same view, sure that all regional
capacity to expand the
is held by Anderson, academics are prop
premises. Thus the re
gional centre finds itself Marcus and Thomas erly qualified for the
(1 999:28) who say, job they do, rather than
crowded in inadequate
“Supporting learners in rely on the assump
premises or “scattered
remote areas of Guyana tion that any academic
around,” or both. This
presents a significant can deliver in an CDL
leads to loss of identity
challenge to IDCE’s setup. Anderson, Mar
of the institution.
education system.” cus Thomas (199:28)
Distance argue that, “Oversee
The way forward ing the tutorial system
Even though the thrust and generally providing
If CDL is to continue
of a regional centre is learner support servic
to have the desired im
to reduce the distance es are activities depen
pact CDL institutions
between the institu dent on the deployment
need to empower their
tion and the learner in of competent and high
regional centres. Some
some cases, especially ly motivated staff, as
options are highlighted
in rural areas, distance well as good commu
below.
between the learners nication.” Reasonable
is a serious barrier to staff retention schemes
To boost the resource
effective CDL. This is should be put in place
base for the regional
worsened by lack of reli to motivate staff, and
centre, it is necessary
70 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
curb staff-turnover, the long run a lot of that has worked for the
which disrupts the in money that would go Open University of Sri
structional programme into wages would be Lanka (Weerasinghe
and leads to costs of saved, and some ef 1999: 57). This would
recruiting and inducting ficiency realized. help bring the univer
new staff. In the wake Chacon (1999) argues sity service to learners’
of dwindling govern that investment in ap doorsteps (ZOU:1 999).
ment funding the insti propriate technologies Learners in distant lo
tution needs to engage is the way to go and cations can be trained
in income generation, yields good returns in setting up and sus
and plough back some in the long run, while taining study groups
of the proceeds to staff Chandiram (1999:32) (Lippiart 2001: 81).
retention. explains how Indira The regional centre
Gandhi Open Univer must provide support
According to Mmari sity has successfully for the study groups to
(1999) cooperation used multimedia ap keep them focused.
with existing education proach to reach out to
al institutions, industry, its learner population. In conclusion, it must
private and public li be acknowledged that
braries makes it pos To deal with the issue open and distance
sible to offer uncom of distances between learning, holds hope
promised service even learners and regional for economic and so
with scarce resources centres, the CDL in cial development for
and limited budgets. stitutions may further many nations. Ding
The regional centres decentralize to district (1999:179) says, “Due
can share into the use and study centres. to its features of open
of existing cooperators’ However in so doing, ness, economy of scale
facilities at reduced care must be taken to and flexibility, open and
costs, or even at no restructure the insti distance learning has
cost at all, depending tutions’ hierarchy to made a special and
on the negotiating apti avoid ending up with significant contribu
tude of staff managing too tall structures that tion to Chinese higher
the regional centre. delay and distort com education, and more
munication. In addition broadly to socio-eco
Massive investment mobile teams can be nomic development.”
in modern technol used to provide tuto This can be true of any
ogy such as internet rial support for learn country, but only if the
and teleconferencing ers (Anderson, Marcus regional centre, which
facilities may improve & Thomas 2001:28). is the point of deliv
access to tutorial ser Learners can also be ery for the institution’s
vices, and reduce the issued with a guide programmes is appro
inefficiencies and in book at registration that priately empowered to
adequacies associated helps to induct them deliver in quality style.
with the use of a large to open and distance
number of ill-trained tu learning, so that they
tors. This may initially can tackle some of the
call for an enormous challenges they meet
capital outlay, but in on their own, a strategy

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 71


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DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 73


FACILITATING INTERACTION DURING
FACE-TO-FACE TUTORIALS IN OPEN DISTANCE
LEARNING: Insights from the Socratic Method
Stanslaus Modesto Tichapondwa
Botswana College of Open and Distance Learning (B000DOL)

Abstract method leads to ef cation has introduced


fective negotiation of face-to-face tutorials
The article focuses on
learning. One of the to complement written
classroom interaction
recommendations was modules, which are
with emphasis on the
that tutors should be the primary medium of
questioning method.
guided in the use of communication. The
The purpose is to ex
questioning strategies use of questions is not
amine the significance
for better interaction. at all new, however,
of the method during
learner-tutor interac the effectiveness with
Introduction which it is used has not
tion, and to establish
how best questions been established for
Questioning is an ac
can be used to achieve a fact. It was against
knowledged didactic
learning goals. Find this background that
method at the disposal
ings, based on a com the present investiga
of the tutor. Many dif
munication course, are tion was carried out as
ferent acts during tu
discussed. Eight tu torials are realised by a revisit to the Socratic
tors were identified to method if only to es
questions, and Sinclair
conduct tutorials, and tablish ways in which
and Brazil (1982:60)
each one worked with questions are used to
suggest that questions
25 learners. After a promote learning.
are the chief means
general induction, four of eliciting learner re
tutors What has remained
(experimental sponses. Elkind and
group) were briefed on questionable is the ef
Sweet (2004) regard
fectiveness of ques
questioning strategies, questioning as a so
and the remainder tions in terms of achiev
cialisation process that
served as the control ing learning goals.
leads to the negotiation
group. Interaction for Effectiveness refers to
of mutual expectations.
both groups was tape- the influence a ques
The syntactic structure
tion has in achieving
recorded before and of questions is interrog
after the briefing. Re learning goals. Basi
ative, aimed at stimu
sults showed that tu cally, in the context of
lating purposeful inter
tors whose awareness tutorials, questions are
action to achieve ped
had been raised, used a pre-condition for oral
agogic goals. Socrates
interaction. They are
interrogatives more was well known for his
effectively than their used for a whole range
use of questions to
counterparts. This led of purposes including
educate. That is why
to the conclusion that the questioning strat the tutor’s need to es
conscious tablish whether learn
enhance egy has come to be
ment of knowledge ers completed their
known as the Socratic
about the Socratic assignments, and to
method. Distance edu
74 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
find out why they come In the context for in der tutors, whose
late for tutorials. Tutors vestigation I narrowed awareness has
tend to use questions down the areas for ne been raised, ne
mainly for administra gotiation to negotiation gotiate learning
tive purposes. What of meaning and negoti better?
did not come out clear ation of form, which are
ly from my observation central to a communi Questions and
was the use of the So cation course. Learner the negotiation of
cratic method to nego output, as conceptu learning
tiate learning. alised in this study,
In line with the EPP
refers to the extent to
course objectives,
Without exception, this which learners, stimu
Tichapondwa and
tendency was noticed lated to participate by
Trennepohl (2001:48)
in tutorials for the CDL the tutor, contribute
observe that tutors
courses offered by the meaningfully to the
should ask the right
Zimbabwe Open Univer communicative events
kind of questions to en
sity (ZOU) and the Bo in a given tutorial using
able learners to answer
tswana College of Open extended discourse.
appropriately. Inter
and Distance Learning By extended discourse
rogatives are normally
(BOCODOL). Premised I mean learner re
categorised according
on that, the stimulus for sponses that go be
to their levels of diffi
research was a strongly- yond single words or
culty, or the complexity
felt pedagogic intuition phrases, but involve
of verbal responses ex
arising from experience the generation of sen
pected from learners.
generally, but made tences in language that
concrete in the course is original but relevant
In a typical communi
of field trips to commu to the topic. To guide
cation course such as
nity study centres. my investigation, three
EPP, negotiation of form
research questions
and meaning are in
The research were formulated thus:
separable. In the words
context 1. What type of
of Prabhu (1988:1) lan
questions do tu
BOCODOL originated guage is seen as “con
tors currently ask,
a course for police of sisting primarily of an
that is after induc
ficers known as Eng ability to conform auto
tion, to negotiate
lish for Professional matically to grammatical
learning?
Purposes (EPP). The noms, and communica
six-month programme 2. What interaction tion as a matter of un
was aimed at develop changes occur in derstanding, arriving at,
ing work related com the oral exchang or conveying meaning”.
munication skills and es between tutors
competencies in core and learners after Thus in the present
policing areas such as tutor awareness article, focus is on the
statement writing. Tu of the significance way questions are
tors holding a degree of questions (in used to promote inter
qualification in English the negotiation action through compe
were identified to han of learning) is tent use of grammati
dle tutorials during the raised? cal features to share
pilot stage. 3. Do learners un mutual understanding
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 75
in the course of mean ing with pupils in their tion, exchange, move,
ing-focused activity. first year of secondary and act. Each consti
Tutor awareness was school in Zimbabwe, tutes the elements of
raised by exposing Tichapndwa (2000) the rank above, ac
them to theories about dwells on the contextu cording to rank-specific
the Socratic method. al significance of ques structural rules. In their
tions. approach, a transac
Researchers on class tion is essentially an
room interaction (e.g. Questions, like other episode of talk on a
Barnes et al, 1971; linguistic features, can particular theme, and
Lyster and Ranta, be quantified and in it usually consists of a
1997) were influenced terpreted. That is why number of exchanges.
by the evolution of in the approach, ana A common example of
descriptive linguistics lysts are concerned an exchange is a ques
concerned with pro with interactional con tion followed by an an
cedures followed to ventions, features of swer, followed by an
stimulate classroom discourse, and the acknowledgement of
dialogue. Working with educational functions that answer.
British elementary Li of discourse when the
classrooms, Sinclair teacher stands in front Tutors and learners
and Coulthard (1975), of a class. take part in exchanges
Coulthard (1977), and for much of the time
Sinclair and Brazil Applied Linguists, Mal they will be talking. An
(1982), have evolved amah-Thomas (1987) exchange often con
an approach that, and Van Lier (1988) sists of three moves:
among other issues, shed more light on the Initiation (1) - Re
examines the role of educational value of sponse (R) Feedback
-

questions in promot questions and argue (F):


ing learning and class that teaching styles [1] T Takesure,
room interaction. Their and learning strategies, what is a
sociolinguistic slant as linguistic preoc plot? (I)
is partly the result of cupations, depend on L: The events in
influence from ethno metalinguistic aware a novel (A)
graphic investigations ness. Value judgement T Good. (F)
into the structure of in about the significance
teraction (e.g. Hymes. of questions in nego In what follows I exam
1972). Ethnographers tiation of learning (Van ine questions as tutor
are concerned with the den Branden, 1997), input and the respons
qualitative, process- and in the guided con es to such questions
oriented investigation struction of knowledge as learner output.
of interaction, and their (Mercer, 1995) will
question is: What are therefore be made. Question
the functions of ques Categories
tions and other dis Sinclair and Coulthard
course features in the (1975) proposed that a When the tutor inter
classroom where it is lesson can be analysed venes, by giving input,
claimed that learning as having a number of what does the student
takes place? Work- ranks: lesson, transac do with her slot in
terms of a fitting contri
76 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
bution relative to form action, we are able to tribute new information,
and meaning? Van describe and evaluate maintain interaction,
Lier (1988:105) says, the effect of linguistic and disputing a propo
“because of the turn- units evident in the ex sition of a prior turn,
taking rules, partici pression of initiative. what we call counter-
pants are restricted in The learner initiates informs.
their power and initia discourse when he/she
tive to change and in originates information To interpret data from
fluence the discourse.” through language re lesson transcripts, ana
This means, it is the lated to the topic under lytical categories were
way turns are allocated discussion, and often used. These were ac
which constrains or lib in answer to a ques cording to the way tu
erates initiative. Hence, tion. For purposes of tors asked questions
there are ways of ask description, Van Lier and how learners an
ing questions which ac (1988:109) introduces swered. Some catego
count for more effective the concepts of ‘pro ries account for more
discourse at both the spective’ and ‘retro effective discourse
input and output levels. spective’ classification than others. We start
By contrasting the two of speech acts. In: with categories attrib
examples given below, [3] T: Why does uted to teachers.
it is evident that the water
second interrogative is evaporate? The first question cat
less constraining than S: because of egory suggested by
the first. the heat from Sinclair and Coulthard
[2] a. Water the sun, (1975) is the polar in
evaporates The teacher’s move terrogative or the yes!
when it is is said to be prospec no question, which
heated, isn’t tive because it looks elicits a response that
it? forward to, limits the is either positive or
b. Why does next speakership and negative, using a sin
water influences the content. gle word.
evaporate? On the other hand, the
student’s response is The second category
Van Lier (1988) exam said to be retrospective is the ‘question tag’,
ines how and when ini because it is linked to which is linguistically
tiative is possible, and the preceding turn, and structured to signal
how it can be identified. could exhibit varying that agreement would
Initiative is the willing degrees of influence be the more congruent
ness, by an individual, from preceding turns. response as in this ex
to originate language ample.
that is more personal In addition, Van Lier [4] T: The adjective
and influential on sub introduces the idea of formed from
sequent interaction for topic control and man circle is
a given topic. Initiative agement as a manifes circular, isn’t
can be explained by tation of initiative. This it?
identifying moves used is reflected in features The tutor makes an
in the process of turn such as student’s use assertion, and then
taking. In a given inter- of discourse to: con- questions it. Thus, the
DEA5A-SADC ODE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 77
learner is invited to Here, the learner is re [7] T: Which
give the proposition ur quired to communicate countries
gent support. in his own language. border
Informative content re Malawi?
The third question fers to information nec S: Mozambique,
category is the dis essary for discussing a Zambia,
play question (Love, topic. In this question, Tanzania.
1991:203). It is posed the tutor cannot pre
with an answer in mind dict the precise nature The learner fulfils the
and it is also known as of the information and tutor’s predicting move,
a test question. A clear the discourse used to a display question in
example is: convey it. this case, by produc
[5J T: Which are ing a reply in which
the math Love (1991:102) adds discourse is used to
causes of soil that a referential ques regurgitate rather than
erosion? tion is “reinforced by negotiate content.
longer pauses than
Here, although an op
any other type of ques The second one is the
portunity is created for
tion”. A pause, though minimal response in
the learner to respond
non-verbal, is observ which pupils give single
in more words than
able and its pedagogic words or use vocalisa
was the case in the two
function is to allow stu tions (e.g. uhu,ormhh).
previous categories,
dents to reflect on al The third one involves
the potential answer
ternative language out use of a wide range of
is limited to the regur
put fit to express con constructions, which
gitation of discourse
ceptualisation of ideas. are neither predictable
initiated by the tutor
This means a pause, nor constrained in re
earlier. The foregoing
following a referential sponse to referential
three categories are
question, encourages questions.
considered to be less
students to plan their
effective.
discourse output. b. Clarifications
Some learner dis
The fourth category Clarification refers to
course will be more
is termed ‘referential extended discourse
communicative while
question’, and its ob produced by the learn
others will be less
jective, according to er in response to the
so, and communica
Sinclair and Coulthard tutor’s questions re
tive discourse implies
(1975), is the elicitation quiring the learner to
initiative as one of its
of informative content, supply further informa
characteristic features
for example: tion thereby clarifying
as illustrated below.
[6] T: Why do you content. Cullen (1998)
think there regards clarifications
a. Intormatives
are more as discourse that is
accidents in Three types, accord experiential. Thus, the
your town at ing to Sinclair and learner who is encour
Christmas, Coulthard (1975: 45), aged to clarify content
than any are identifiable. The first is likely to produce
other month one involves an answer more effective dis
in the year? to a display question. course in terms of both
78 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
quality and quantity (1993) has referred to Four tutors participat
based on personal ex such moves as diver ed in the study as the
perience. gent views expressed group that received
in discourse that is special intervention (the
The discourse exem neither predictable nor experimental group)
plifies two principles constrained. When a while the other four
put forward by Tarone student initiates a par were the control group.
(1980) and Cohen ticular contribution, Each tutor was audio
(1997), namely, the requesting further infor taped four times (twice
student’s application of mation, or disputing a before and twice af
learning strategies us proposition, this shows ter intervention for the
ing teacher input to de active participation and experimental group
velop linguistic knowl initiative, and occurs and at the same time
edge, and the student’s when the tutor or peer for the control group
attempt to use lan asks questions. without any interven
guage more efficiently tion). Those four (the
(production strategies). Method experimental group),
who were randomly
The study used a pre sampled received ad
Van den Branden’s test post-test experi
(1997) view on clari ditional intervention on
mental research design the issue of question
fications is that when with a control group.
the interlocutor gives ing techniques. Three
The Pilot Stage for one-hour sessions
non-comprehension
the EPP course com were spent sharing
signals, students may
prised 8 tutors, each principles of question
come to question their
handling 25 learners ing, and raising exam
language output and
in four regions in Bo ples from experience
consciously choose
tswana. The part-time for application during
more communicative
tutors were qualified subsequent tutorials. A
discourse. Thus, clari
teachers of English whole range of question
fications stand as evi
serving in colleges of types was discussed
dence of more effective
education. They held with specific distinc
use of language in the a degree in English as
negotiation of learning. tion made of the more
the minimum academic from the less effective
qualification. Learn
ones. This awareness
c. Counter-informs ers were drawn from raising was linked to
Counter-informs are the Botswana Police the impact such teach
retrospective moves Service, and their mini ers would make on
originated by the learn mum academic qualifi police officers under
er to express a different cation was two years of their tutorship. Tape-
position. For example, secondary schooling. recording tutorials af
when one interactant All the 8 tutors under ter intervention would
initiates a move he or went induction in prep establish whether any
she expects a response aration for tutoring, and intervention changes
(prospective move). were, in addition, given occurred. Similarly,
In reply (retrospective a tutor’s guide to help learner responses un
move), the addressee them teach three mod der teachers in the con
gives an answer that is ules over a period of trol and experimental
contradictory. Burbules six months.
DEASA-SADC CDE international Journal of Open and Distance Learning 79
groups were analysed Report and prepare for
and results compared, T: Is that all? List the assignment.
to establish how effec some more...
tively they negotiated Ls: The first elicit is the
learning. That way, the T: Have you recall type requesting
second and third re forgotten? Heh...? display of knowledge.
search questions were Routine Report is The learner responds
addressed. one of them...and accordingly through a
Investigative short informative. The
The study took six Report. Isn’t it? request to list more
months. Data collected Right. Now... examples, also a recall
from sixteen tutorials which are the elicit, results in silence
were transcribed and three main parts as learners avoid giv
interpreted in accor of a report? ing answers. The tutor
dance with analytical Ls: goes on to ask the off
categories determined T: I will give you a task question: “Have
for the purpose as dis clue. The first one you forgotten?” to
cussed above. Pre-test begins with the which no response is
and post-test results letter ‘I’. Yes... forthcoming. To save
were then compared. L: Introduction face, he answers his
T: Correct. and the
. . own question show
Results next one? Yes... ing there is little topic
L:Body development. This is
The first two extracts
T:Body...yes and followed by yet another
capture interaction
the last one is... display question about
before intervention.
L: Conclusion report types. Realising
For ease of reference,
T:Good. What about there is no response,
the following notation
the document he gives a clue, and
is used. T= tutor; L=
you write and hesitantly one learner
learner silence
circulate within responds minimally
by learners; in
the organisation. by giving one word.
structional pause.
What is it called? Guessing the answers
Anyone... expected by the tutor,
Extract 1
L:Letter learners simply give
This extract is from a T: What kind of one -word answers
tutorial by one of the letter? It has a (minimal responses).
tutors who were going special name... Talk is monopolised
to receive guidance on starts with letter by the tutor, and there
best ways to use ques is little negotiation of
tions. L: Memo learning.
T: Name the T: Yes.. memo or
different types of memorandum in Extract 2
report you have full. Now read the
read about from This extract is from a tu
section in your
the module... torial by a tutor who did
modules that
Anybody? Yes... not receive guidance
deals with Reports
Sir on the principles about
and other means
the Socratic method
L: Occasional of communication,
(control group).
80 DEASA-SADC CDE lnternationa Journa’ of Open and Dstance Learning
T: What name is you don’t read interviewer.
given to the person in preparation What do
who gives you for tutorials. I you call a
information when said what is the person who is
you are investigating word? interviewed?
a crime? Does Ls: L: Applicant
anyone know? Yes... T: The word T: Applicant? No...
L: Witness is ‘reliable’ of course. The
T: There is a special witness. When person is called
word for it. What is a person is an interviewee.
it?... Informant. reliable that Together say
Isn’t it? means you can interviewee...
Ls: (in chorus) Ye trust him. Ls: (in chorus)
e-es interviewee-e-e
T: Then an informant The extract has all the T. Right. There are
who comes on features identified in different types
her own to give Extract 1, except the of interview
information is called focus on word mean What name
a...what?A what? ings: “There is a special is given to an
Ls: word for it. What is it?” interview where
T: Easy. She Again this reflects pre a person wants
is called a conceived responses employment?
voluntary elicited through display L: Work interview
informant. questions. The lack of T: No. It’s called
Together say initiative by learners a job interview.
voluntary is shown in a number Now... there
informant. of ways, including si are two more.
Ls: (in chorus) lences. When the tutor An intervention
Voluntary answers her own ques interview and
informant tions, she requests an informative
T: At times you choral answers, a less interview. Which
find it difficult effective way of topic of these two
to trust an development. is aimed at
informant. persuading the
However, there Extract 3 and Extract interviewee
are informants 4 reflect use of the to see things
you can trust. Socratic method in tu the way the
What term do torials recorded during interviewer sees
we use for such post intervention. them?
informants? The Ls:
word has to do Extract 3 T: Think... Think...
with trust. Can’t you
T. Let’s see what
L: Trustworthy just choose?
you know about
T: Not exactly. OK... the
interviews. A
There is that correct answer
person who
special word. is intervention
interviews
What is it? Your interview In
somebody
problem is that your module...
is called an
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 81
______

there are tions are asked and people so that


four types of how learners respond. the discussion
questions asked Some difference was, becomes
in an interview however, noted in Ex meaningful.
Which are tract 4 from the tutor L4: Also can you
these? who taught Extract 1. make resolutions
L: Short questions when there are
T: Short Extract 4 few participants?
questions? / don’t think so.
T: / asked you to
I don’t know L5: Resolutions are
read the section
that. Leading arguments...
on Meetings.
questions... right?
How many of
specific T: There is a
you have read?
questions... question. What
Ls: (raise their
What else? are, What are
hands)
Ls:. resolutions?
T: Good. Who are
L6: I think they are
the key players
This is from a tutorial agreements.
in a meeting?
by the same tutor for T: Agreements?
Yes...
Extract 2 (belonging Any different
Li: You need a
to the control group). view? Yes...
chairperson.. a
Clearly, her pre-oc .

Li: Decisions made


secretary...
cupation with what when people
ummm
learners know places finish talking
L2: Don’t forget
her subsequent inter about something.
participants...
rogatives in the display T: Fine. They are
otherwise
category, and she pro decisions which
there is no
vides answers to most the secretary
meeting without
of her questions. When will minute.
participants.
learners volunteer their L7: I don’t think
T: What do you
limited informatives, only resolutions
mean? Can
they get discouraging are minuted.
you explain?
remarks for incorrect Suggestions
L2: If there are no
answers. This results and views by
people who will
in silence as an indica participants can
attend?... The
tion of unwillingness to also be minuted.
chairman and
participate. Comparing
the secretary...
the two extracts by the The conversation be
only two of
same tutor, the way gins with an admin
them?
she performs in the istrative question to
L3: That’s why you
post intervention phase verify prior reading,
need a quorum.
is similar to the way and moves on with a
T: A quorum...
she asks questions be display question that
That’s a new
fore intervention takes requires information
word. What
place. Clearly, there about key players in a
does it mean?
fore, there is no signifi meeting. Li gives two
cant change that takes predictable answers,
L2: There should
place in the way ques then L2 self selects and
be enough
82 DEASA-5ADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
gives as third player: When L6 volunteers and polar questions,
participants. Through a response, the tutor which lead to very limit
a referential question, does not rush to ac ed negotiation of learn
the tutor asks L2 to cept the answer lest ing (Coulthard, 1977).
explain. The answer that closes the smooth This finding addresses
is not predictable, and flow of discourse. He the question to do with
L2’s clarification, given asks for alternative the types of questions
in extended discourse, meaning, which Li is asked by tutors before
leads to mutual under able to furnish. The guidance about prin
standing (negotiation tutor’s rejoinder serves ciples of the Socratic
of meaning). Without to acknowledge that method is given.
waiting for the tutor to the contributions made
allow her to speak, L3 are compatible with Results from Extract 4
takes the initiative by the topic. Unexpect compared to Extract 3
giving further clarifica edly, L7 introduces lead to one major con
tion, thus facilitating a new position about clusion, namely, that
topic development. the substance of min tutors who receive the
utes. In this counter in benefit of principles
The teacher con form, more meaning is about questioning strat
sciously draws atten added to the dialogue, egies assist learners
tion of learners to the showing learner auton to negotiate learning
new register ‘quorum’ omy in the negotiation more consciously and
and seeks its eluci of form and meaning in more effectively com
dation. 12 provides a extended discourse. pared to those tutors
wide ranging informa who are not exposed to
tive that brings a clear Discussion principles of question
meaning of the word, ing strategies. Distribu
A number of conclu tion of speakership is
thus negotiation of form
sions can be drawn more conscious as evi
and meaning are fused
from the two pre-in denced in the prospec
together. After that L4
tervention extracts. A tive and retrospective
takes initiative by ask
clear pattern of asking discourse. The second
ing a question, which
questions emerges
introduces the concept conclusion is that in
characterised by tutors the hands of some
of ‘resolutions’. In ac
asking display ques body aware of the sig
tual fact the question is
tions (most of the time) nificance of questions,
a counter inform which, constraining
whose display questions can
nevertheless, accounts
effect can be noted in be used as a basis for
for discourse progress.
the minimal responses, negotiation of learning,
When L5 self selects,
and lack of initiative by notwithstanding their
he expresses a prob
learners (Love, 1991). limited effectiveness,
lem with the meaning
The key finding is that a view subscribed to
of the word ‘resolu
there is a lack of initia by Van Lier (1988).
tions’. At that point the
tive by learners in pre Thirdly, where open
tutor redirects the con
intervention exchang ended questions e.g.
versation by request
es. This is a direct re “What do you mean?”
ing learners to clarify
sult of the type of ques are asked, learner re
the term.
tions asked, and these sponses are unpredict
are mainly display, tag
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 83
able, and learners use of improved ability to conduct face-to-face
language that is origi negotiate learning, an tutorials.
nal. Fourthly, the use attribute that is absent
of instructional pauses from those under tu My key recommenda
allows learners to think torship in the control tion is that distance ed
and retrieve the appro group. ucation organisations
priate language to for with face-to-face tu
mulate a response. Fi Recommendations ition as a component of
nally, we conclude that course delivery should
referential questions To begin with, the
actively promote meth
liberate learners to research population
and the scope of the odologies that empha
take the initiative to ad sise more purposeful.
vance their own views study are quite lim
ited. Further, EPP, talk. The conclusion
without waiting for the from pre-intervention
tutor to allocate turns. the course studied by
learners and on which interaction, showing
Evidence of initiative is that tutors ask less ef
shown through self-se the investigation was
conducted is new in fective questions, sug
lection; providing infor gests that something
mation in more person Botswana. Also, much
as the findings can be ought to be done. This
alised and extended is because learners
discourse; readiness to considered to be inter
nally valid, that is, they under such influence
clarify points; and pro do not show any ini
viding different percep are a function of the in
tervention, one is hesi tiative. It is, therefore,
tions to the topic under recommended that
discussion. tant to make generali
tutors of different sub
sations. What I should
make clear though is jects be given system
On account of these atic induction about the
findings, therefore, it that the research was
not designed as an pedagogic benefits as
could be said that after sociated with question
exposure to ways of us experiment to prove
the Socratic Method ing strategies.
ing the Socratic meth
od, tutors from the ex empirically, but was
rather a classroom The second recom
perimental group show mendation is that
a significant change in action research for
developing that meth courses in teacher
the manner they ask education should in
questions. The change odology and gaining
some insight of it. I am dude components
is attributable to the about ways of making
intervention more than therefore, comfortable
with the assumption classroom talk more
to any other influence productive. Among
since counterparts in that any innovation has
relevance beyond the such components
the control group do should be the Socratic
not show evidence of specific situation it is
associated with, hence method. The common
any change. Similarly, practice by distance
learners under tutors my recommendations
learning providers is to
from the experimental presuppose the find
ings would apply in the hire qualified teachers,
group respond to ques serving in conventional
tions in a creative fash real distance education
schools, as part-time
ion, and show evidence circumstances where
tutors. The assump
questions are used to
84 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
tion is that somebody the didactic methodol fective ways of asking
who is already quali ogy under discussion questions. As dem
fied to teach will have to enhance cognitive onstrated, the more
a sound command of development even in effective ones have a
teaching methodolo conventional schools. positive influence on
gies. However, as the the discourse output of
study proved, qualified Synthesis learners. Similarly, tu
teachers (part-time tors can inhibit learning
In sociocultural terms,
tutors) showed a defi by using interrogatives
people talk for a va that have a constraining
ciency in the way they
riety of reasons, and effect. The language
ask questions.
these include sharing of learning is both
of knowledge and ex persuasive and deci
Finally, it is recom
perience. In pedagogic
mended that education sive in all tutoring and
contexts, where tutor learning. In that case,
authorities including
and tutees constitute a in distance education
the Ministry of Educa
speech community, the
tion in Botswana or face-to-face tutorials,
sharing of knowledge
ganise workshops and the case for revisiting
takes a systematic
seminars to sensitise the Socratic method
slant during which one cannot be overem
already serving teach
interlocutor is vested phasised. Therefore,
ers about teacher-
with the responsibility
learner interaction as questions that foster
of directing speaker-
an applied linguistic negotiation of learn
ship towards attain ing, based on linguistic
phenomenon that can
ment of cognitive goals. awareness, bring rela
be enhanced through
The chief means of do tions between thinking
appropriate use of
ing that is the Socratic and languaging into fo
the Socratic method.
method that leads to cus. In their wake, we
There was ample
interaction and nego get learner discourse
evidence from the in
tiation of learning. that is expressive of
vestigation that more
effective questions imagination, creativ
Tutors who are suc ity, and argumentation
stimulate more effec
cessful in their respon
tive discourse that is of as topics are pursued,
sibilities distinguish the developed and person
pedagogic value. Thus
less from the more ef alised.
it is logical to revisit

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 85


References competence”. In J.B. Sinclair, J.M. and
and J. Holmes (eds.). Coulthard, R.M. 1975.
Barnes, D., Britton,
Sociolinguistics. Ham Towards an analysis
J.,Rosen, H. and the
mondsworth: Penguin of discourse: the Eng
London Association for
the teaching of Eng lish used by teachers
Love, K. 1991. and pupils. London
lish. 1971. Language,
“Towards a further Oxford University
the learner and the
analysis of teacher Press
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talk”. In Pretorius, E.J.
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Applied Linguistics. zil, D. 1982. Teacher
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Lyster, R. and Ranta,
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Coulthard, M.1 977.
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Ltd. guage Learning, Vol.
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“On communicative

86 DEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


QUALITY ASSURANCE AND QUALITY CONTROL
STRATEGIES IN THE ZIMBABWE OPEN
UNIVERSITY
Grace T. Mukeredzi Zimbabwe Open University

& Tsitsi G. Ndamba Great Zimbabwe University


Abstract efficient moderation. and effect their own


Regional workshops, quality agendas be
The paper is based on seminars and meetings fore others set them.
a research conducted were crucial for prepar It is clear that quality
to determine quality ing and updating staff assurance and quality
assurance and qual on efficient service control are important
ity control strategies delivery. Student tu and central tools for ef
in the Zimbabwe Open tor evaluation through fective management.
University (ZOU). The comprehensive instru
focus was on tutoring, ments emerged as an External quality control
assignments, exami effective way of en mechanisms are not
nations, staff devel hancing tutor perfor effective for internal im
opment, external as mance. The research provement purposes. It
sessment, resources recommended that is therefore crucial that
and student tutor ZOU increases the educational institutions
evaluation. Qualitative existing human, mate build their own quality
research design and rial and infrastructure assurance and quality
analysis was used. resources and mount control strategies fo
Questionnaires extract more workshops for cused on own on-going
ed data from forty-eight academic staff at Na development and guid
(48) students, thirty- tional, Regional, Fac ed by own values and
four (34) lecturers and ulty and Departmental judgement as well as
eight (8) regional di levels to promote and professional account
rectors. Results show ensure quality at all ability (Nixon 1995).
that great strides were levels.
being made to assure In 2006 the Zimbabwe
quality despite chal Introduction Open University had
lenges in the provision an approximate total
of human, material, Quality assurance and enrolment of twenty-
physical and financial quality control are vi one thousand (21 000)
resources. In tutoring, tal for effective man students. Ten Regional
highly qualified, expe agement. Most quality Centres have been es
rienced and committed management strate tablished in an effort to
personnel were ap gies combine both decentralize operations
pointed and tutorials elements to ensure as a quality assurance
were effective. Item continued improve and quality control
writing of examination ment. Freeman (1994) measure (UNESCO,
questions involved tu observes that if institu 1990). The Regional
tors nationwide and ex tions wish to maximise Centres offer infor
amination marking was control of their opera mation and advice to
centralized to facilitate tions, they have to set
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 87
the public, mainly ap vis-à-vis set objec for clients with con
plicants and students tives; ventional universities
by telephone, written • continuous evalu that are coming up with
correspondence and ation of all ZOU continuing education
face-to-face meetings. programmes; programmes that are
Staff at the Regional taught using distance
Centres provide ad • evaluating services
education modes. It is
vice on courses and provided by ZOU;
critical therefore, for
also coordinate and and
ZOU to put in place
manage programmes. • maintaining high quality assurance and
The model of open and quality standards quality control strate
distance education in the delivery of all gies in order to main
followed by the Zim programmes. tain existing clients and
babwe Open Univer attract new ones.
sity, where there is the The strategies outlined
central administrative above are evidence of Literature review
office and a number of commitment by ZOU
regional offices, is ad in its attempt to pro Quality refers to the
opted from the Open vide quality services. degree of excellence
University, UK, (ZOU Against this back or conformity of servic
Strategic Plan 2000 ground, the objective es or products with the
—2003). of the study was to de requirements or char
termine the strategies acteristics of set stan
Addressing the issue of employed by ZOU in dards. Hoyle (1995)
quality assurance, the assuring and control views quality as a con
Zimbabwe Open Uni ling quality in its ser formity to specifications
versity, in its Strategic vices. Guided by this regardless of whether
Plan (2000 — 2003:5) objective, the research or not the specifica
states that: sought to answer the tions satisfy clients.
question, What quality Stoner, Freeman and
There is need to de assurance and qual Gilbert (2003) refer to
velop quality assur ity control strategies quality as focusing on
ance mechanisms that have been put in place the production of in
will ensure consistent by ZOU to assure and creasingly better prod
delivery of products control quality in open ucts and services.
and services to staff, and distance learn
students and industry ing?’ Quality control refers
such as: to the operational tech
• continuous evalu Statement of the niques and activities
ation; problem employed to fulfill re
quirements for quality
• administrative The Zimbabwe Open (Hoyle 1995). In other
procedures that University is the only words, any activities
are followed and open and distance employed to improve,
continuously evalu learning dedicated in control, manage or
ated; stitution in the coun assure quality may be
• self evaluation, try. However, in recent some form of quality
peer evaluation, years, the institution control activity. Quality
student evaluation has had to compete control is therefore a
88 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
process of maintaining for instance, moni university will fulfill re
standards and not cre toring and review of quirements for qual
ating them. According learning materials, pro ity. Quality assurance
to Hoyle, these stan grammes and courses, measures are critical
dards are maintained external assessment, for any institution be
through processes of assignments and ex cause managers and
selection, measure aminations and annual clients cannot oversee
ment and correction of reviews are some qual all the operations for
activities so that all the ity control activities that themselves.
products and services the institution would
which emerge meet the use (Lusunzi, 1998 and Research design
standards. Quality con Ambedkar, 1991).
A qualitative research
trol is often regarded
design was used to col
as a post event activity, Quality assurance,
lect and analyse data.
a means of determin on the other hand, is
Descriptives were used
ing whether quality has concerned with ‘feed
to present the findings.
been achieved and tak foward’ as opposed to
Information was sought
ing corrective action. In feedback, namely with
from students in twelve
the Zimbabwe Open the design process
different programmes
University, quality con and systems so that
at undergraduate and
trol would be referring potential problems are
postgraduate levels in
to those processes, anticipated and pre
two regions of the Zim
activities or procedures vented from happen
babwe Open Universi
put in place to deter ing (Doherty, 1994).
ty (Masvingo and Mid
mine whether accept This entails planning
lands), namely, Post
able services are being a programme, which
Graduate Diploma in
delivered to clients with includes its objec
Education (PGDE),
a view to taking correc tives, content, staffing,
Bachelor of Education
tive action. resources, teaching
(B. Ed), Master of Edu
methods and expected
cation (M Ed), Bach
Preedy, Glatter and outcomes to ensure
elor of Arts in English
Levacic (1997) note that students achieve
and Communication
that quality control is course objectives
(BA ECS), BSc Agri
concerned with check (Dhanarajan, 1997).
cultural Management,
ing outcomes after Stoner, Freeman and
BSc Nursing Science,
processes have oc Gilbert (2003) go on to
BSc Geography, Mas
curred in order to say quality assurance
ter of Business Ad
identify problems and implies doing things
ministration (MBA),
weaknesses. Doherty right during the first
Bachelor of Com
(1994) views qual attempt instead of cor
merce (Bcom), BSc
ity control as based on recting any errors later.
Psychology (BScPSY),
‘feedback’, which is a In ZOU, quality assur
BSc Special Educa
way of assessing infor ance would therefore
tion (SPED) and BSc
mation from staff, stu refer to those planned
Counseling. Informa
dents and employers and systematic activi
tion was also obtained
so that errors can be ties critical to provide
from tutors engaged in
corrected. In learning clients with adequate
different programmes.
institutions like ZOU confidence that the
All the ten Regional Di-
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 89
rectors were targeted namely: external as and at least three (3)
as respondents in this sessment, decentral years experience in all
study. ization, regional direc its programmes, except
tors’ expectations of in critical areas where
Data collection the university, quality people with good hon
assurance measures ours degrees are ap
The sample was drawn
taken before launching pointed as teaching
through stratified and
new programmes and assistants. Tutors were
purposive procedures.
lessons learnt from for found to be committed
The questionnaires
mer programmes. to their work and al
were distributed to tu
ways availing them
tors and students dur
Findings and selves and adequately
ing weekend tutorials
discussion prepared for those face
on 2 and 3 as well as
to face sessions.
9 and 10 November Most of the answers
2001. The question given by Regional Di
A very high standard of
naires were admin rectors, tutors and stu
istered to forty-eight tutoring was confirmed
dents were similar and
students, four from by students. Tutoring
as a result they were
was also viewed as
each of the twelve discussed together.
timeously done, fo
programmes attend
ing weekend schools cused and conducted
Tutoring
over the two weekends in a positive and en
When asked to give couraging manner.
as stated above and
also to thirty-eight tu their assessment of Face-to-face contact
tors of the same pro the quality of tutoring time was seen as ade
in ZOU, both students quate by both staff and
grammes. Ten other
and tutors felt that the students. According
questionnaires were
university employs to Dhanarajan (1997),
mailed one each to the
highly qualified and teacher learner contact
ten Regional Directors
experienced person is crucial for good edu
in the institution and of
nel. This could be at cational practice. Such
these, eight were re
tributed to a rigorous occasions are good
turned.
selection exercise un for motivating learn
dertaken by the institu ers and overcoming
All questionnaires had
tion before appointing learner problems. They
open-ended ques
part-time and full-time also enable learners
tions which addressed
teaching staff. The to measure their own
quality assurance and
Open University (OU) value systems about
control of the follow
(UK) (2000) points out their studies and their
ing aspects: tutoring,
that university teach future. Students ben
assignments, exami
ing staff are required efit more through ac
nations, staff devel
to have a degree or its tive learning as ap
opment, student tutor
equivalent qualifica posed to memorizing
evaluation, resources,
tion and experience. and reproducing facts
weaknesses and pos
The ZOU goes further and answers. Talking,
sible solutions. The
to appoint staff with a listening, observing,
questionnaire for Re
minimum qualification discussing, writing and
gional Directors had
of a Masters Degree relating own experienc
five additional aspects
90 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
es and applying them respondents were of regurgitation of
in the context of their the opinion that involv facts, they call on
lessons are all part ing tutors nationwide students to draw on
of the active learning in the setting of as their school/teaching
process. Face-to-face signment questions to experiences. That
tutorials facilitate peer build a bank of ques makes students
interaction which as tions was good prac produce work that
sists thinking and un tice. This is echoed is original and
derstanding. Learning by Ambedkar (1991) reflecting their lived
can improve through in Satyanarayana and experiences.
team effort than solo Sesharatuan (1992)
performances. who highlights that it Students also con
is desirable to have an firmed that assignment
Respondents felt that assignments question questions were given
tutorials were regularly bank to reduce delays in advance and spac
scheduled and time in the preparation of ing of assignments was
tables and semester assignments every adequate to enable
diaries were carefully semester. In the ZOU, thorough research.
developed. Paced these question banks This is supported by
learning is crucial for are evolved at regional Lusunzi (1998) who
students. What this and/or national cen says that as far as
implies in teaching is ters. Assignments were possible, assignment
a clear understanding viewed as extensive in questions should be
of appropriate pacing breath and intensive in sent to students along
and learning through depth. They were also with the first batch of
tutorials. Tutors in this regarded as being of course materials.
study applauded stan good quality, very de
dardization meetings manding and adequate Respondents were
which were taken to be in number to cover all happy with the prac
informative and meant aspects of the course. tice of giving uniform
to iron out and stan In-class assignments assignments for each
dardize operations as were seen as a very course nationwide.
these meetings were good development that Preparation of de
held before the start of ensured authenticity of tailed marking guides
each semester. Team results. Regional Co at national level were
teaching was viewed ordinators noted that viewed as ensuring
as an effective strategy in-class assignments control of expected
of ensuring quality. Tu were vital as they answers throughout
torial groups were seen guarded against copy the country. This is
as appropriately sized ing and plagiarism. confirmed by Ambed
and close supervision kar (1991) who points
of tutorials was viewed These assignments out that assignments
as critical for quality. were viewed as de intended for marking
manding application of should be accompa
Assignments experiences. nied by tutor guides
One respondent said: or notes to assist the
Asked about their views Assignments are tutors in assessing the
on the nature and qual not calling for assignments. Marking
ity of the assignments,
DEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 91
was regarded as pro adequate feedback shaw (1991) in Lusunzi
fessionally, objectively and return marked as (1998) give one of the
and thoroughly done as signments within the attributes of quality in
evidenced by tutoring stipulated time. Pro distance education as
comments which made gramme coordinators an assessment and
students feel that they should insist on tutor examination system
were being assisted markers to observe which measures ac
(Open University UK, time schedules for re curately the extent to
2000). Comments on turning evaluated as which knowledge has
scripts are expected to signments. Students been acquired by the
be constructive, rigor in this study observed students.
ous, clear and carefully that in some isolated
fashioned to empower cases, however, some Revision sessions with
learners to improve tutors returned marked tutors were regarded
their performance. assignments late. as very beneficial as
they enhanced prepa
Tutors said they were Examinations ration through past ex
given adequate mark amination and speci
ing time and modera Internal examiners from
men papers for new
tion of marked assign regional centres are
programmes. The CU
ments was effected nominated by Regional
UK (2000) emphasizes
where possible. They Directors through pro
the need for specimen
also noted that strict as gramme coordinators
papers, which enable
signment records were and appointed by the
students to be familiar
maintained. Ambedkar university. It emerged
with the appearance
(1991) points out that from both staff and
and structure of the ex
programme coordina Regional Directors
amination papers.
tors should be deeply that writing examina
involved in ensuring tion items involved
Adequate security
proper assessment all programme tutors
measures were always
of assignments. They nationwide through
in place before and af
should take samples development of item
ter examinations were
of marked assign banks. Results further
written. Administration
ments for moderation indicate that examina
and conduct of exami
and providing feed tions questions were of
nations were seen as
back to tutor markers. good quality, balanced
procedural and smooth,
Monitoring assignment and well focused and
and examinations were
marking has two major challenging to test
written in conducive
purposes both critical students’ abilities and
environments with
to aspects of quality knowledge. The ques
close invigilation and
assurance by facilitat tions were said to be
monitoring to guard
ing identification of demanding application
against any form of
variations in the mark of theory and reflection
cheating. As observed
ing practice and staff on one’s experiences at
by Regional Directors,
developing tutor mark the workplace, thereby
all those quality control
ers. Yates (1998) adds making students read
activities are facilitated
that tutors should mark widely, understand and
by decentralization of
assignments, provide prepare for examina
operations which has
tions. Reid and Robert-
92 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
been adopted by the ally. Moderation by dents’ performance
Zimbabwe Open Uni external assessors provided by supervi
versity. was also viewed as sors at workplaces.
another critical quality
The study found that assurance and control Orientation workshops
nationally centralized measure which ZOU for new tutors and stu
marking was regard should consider to do dents were regarded
ed as a very effec systematically for all as appropriate since
tive quality assurance programmes. Regional these were held be
and control measure Directors recommend fore launching new
through coordination ed the involvement of programmes to expose
and standardization of external assessors in them to university, fac
marking guides as well examinations regularly ulty, departmental and
as supervision and Iro all programmes as programme expecta
moderation of marked vital for ensuring and tions. The practice is
scripts by team lead promoting quality. The supported by CU UK
ers. Centralised mark CU UK (2000) goes (2000) who point out
ing is also supported further to say external that although new staff
by CU UK (2000) who assessment ensures may have wide expe
points out that mark maintenance of appro rience and expertise
ing is done by course priate academic stan in teaching and adult
tutors centrally under dards through scruti learning, they still re
the supervision of a nizing coursework and quire orientation to be
marking coordinator. examination scripts. able to appreciate open
Centralized marking learning. Regional Di
is viewed as important Staff development rectors indicated that
as it offers an oppor the university makes
tunity for all markers Staff development
available funds for
through regular re
to attend and partici such workshops for all
gional and national
pate in the coordina regions. Regional staff
workshops and semi
tion exercise where meetings held at least
nars was viewed by
a sample of scripts is twice a month and de
considered and mark both staff and students
partmental regional
ing standards are set. as a critical strategy
meetings at the start
The marking scheme for quality assurance
and end of the semes
is also discussed and and control. However,
ter were also viewed as
tutor respondents felt
modified as necessary. a useful quality assur
In the Zimbabwe Open that these workshops
ance and control tool.
University, markers are and seminars were
The Regional Direc
drawn from both the re not adequate. Free
tors also pointed out
gional and the national man, (1994) in Lusunzi
that strategic planning
(1998) points out that
centers. is crucial before the
tutors need current
launch of a programme
information related to
Findings indicated that to ensure smooth and
programme adminis
marking of examina effective delivery of op
tration, learner charac
tions was done at ap erations when the pro
teristics and progress,
propriate venues by gramme is eventually
tutor competence and
tutors selected nation- launched.
feedback from stu
DEASA-SADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 93
Tutor and Regional and this was seen as of staff and student’s
Director respondents a very effective quality honest opinions. A
indicated that staff de assurance and control further observation
velopment was also ef measure. The exercise by Fox (2001) is that
fected through univer was seen as vital for evaluation instruments
sity-sponsored contact enabling tutors to get should be designed
and observation visits to know their strengths in such a manner that
to other universities and weaknesses there they provide diagnostic
locally, in the region by facilitating reflec feedback useful for im
and at times interna tion, introspection and proving teaching and
tionally. Participation in remediation. It was felt measuring teaching ef
academic conferences, that such evaluation is fectiveness.
meetings and work conducive to effective
shops within and out learning and tutoring Staff also indicated that
side Zimbabwe spon and encourages tutors the performance ap
sored by the university to come prepared for praisal exercise con
were regarded as vital tutorials. ducted on full time staff
for quality assurance. quarterly and monthly
It also emerged that Both tutors and students progress reports sub
the university was en were involved in course mitted to the national
couraging and spon evaluation as well to en centre were also criti
soring staff to improve able them to articulate cal tools for effective
themselves academi their concerns. Fox, quality assurance and
cally and profession (2001) points out that control. The practice of
ally through postgradu evaluation needs to be performance appraisal
ate programmes which built into the everyday is also supported by
it sponsored for most structure in distance CU UK (2000) who con
cases. This is sup education thinking and sider it to be an integral
ported by the CU UK planning of curricu part of career develop
(2000) who indicated lum development and ment as it involves re
that they encouraged teaching approaches. views of performance
tutors to attend cours Fox goes on to say: against set outcomes
es, conferences and If we are reflective for the previous year
seminars hosted by in our work, then and setting out objec
other institutions. The evaluation will be tives for the coming
study also noted that an integral part of year. The appraiser
members of staff within our programme and appraisee together
ZOU could register for because it enables identify training needs
university courses free us to become to determine the most
of charge. more focused appropriate means of
and informed development at the
Student tutor practitioners. (P4) workplace or through
evaluation formal training.
Evaluation instru
The study found out
ments were seen as Resources
that student tutor eval
very comprehensive,
uations were done reg Respondents viewed
detailed and objective
ularly both at regional the university as hav
to facilitate expression
and national levels ing made great strides
94 DEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
in securing bigger tricts was a welcome materials is achieved
and better regional of development although through contributions of
fice accommodation these needed to be ad all team members (CU
in most of the ten re equately equipped with UK 2000). Throughout
gional centers to facili necessary resources development and pro
tate the smooth flow of especially books. With duction, the team mon
operations. Delivering reference to CU UK itors, discusses and
education to students Kirk (1979) observed revises draft course
off the central campus district centres as vital material subjecting it to
needs infrastructure for establishing a focus collective criticism and
that is supportive of the and presence of the development.
teaching and learning university in rural and
environment. UNESCO isolated communities Weaknesses
(1990) confirms that thereby providing a lo
Respondents noted
many distance-teach cal contact for enrolled
that ZOU was grow
ing institutions con students. Although
ing at a fast pace. Re
sider a comprehensive the model of Open
spondents cited limited
system of decentraliza and Distance Learn
resources as a seri
tion of operations as a ing followed by ZOU
ous weakness which
vital component of the is adopted from Open
presented a big mis
delivery of services. University UK, it may
match with the size of
not be easy to match
the enrolment. Lack of
Appointment of full- the standards in terms
computer facilities for
time staff in regions of human and material
students, and a limited
was regarded as criti resources as Zimba
number of this resource
cal for effective and bwe is still a develop
for staff emerged as a
efficient programme ing country.
major weakness.
management and co
ordination of part-time The team approach to
Delays in the process
staff. This is supported materials production
ing and releasing of ex
by CU UK (2000) who was viewed as excel
amination results and
emphasise that the lent for the production
an inadequate commu
quality of teaching is of quality modules and
nication system were
dependent upon effec other learning materi
regarded as other ma
tive functioning through als. Both student and
jor weaknesses. Re
management and co tutor respondents
gional Directors also
ordination of a range of viewed ZOU modules
pointed out that servic
tasks. as of good quality and
es are over-stretched,
most of them were in
with officers in place
Libraries at the regional place before the launch
overworked and this
centers, were criticized of new programmes.
tended to compromise
of thin stocks, but were Team members bring
quality. Strategic plan
considered as having with them knowledge
ning and procurement
recent and relevant and expertise gained
of resources are criti
texts. Respondents felt from being involved
cal to quality achieve
that the establishment in teaching on the
ment of objectives.
of resource centres in ground. The outstand
When major changes
the ZOU regional dis ing quality of course
are put in place and
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 95
resources reduced, service delivery. Major Recommendations
established quality as findings were that in
surance processes can tutoring, highly quali Basing on the findings
appear to be at risk, or fied, experienced and and conclusions from
improvements may be committed personnel this study, it is recom
achieved at a slower were appointed and mended that:
pace than staff and tutorials were of a high More manpower
students would prefer standard. Assignments should be recruited
(CU UK 2000). were regarded as de in the examination
manding and adequate section at both re
Communication be in number and marking gional and national
tween central and re was thoroughly and levels for speedy
gional centers with tu professionally processing and
done.
tors and students was Item writing for exami publishing of ex
viewed as unsatisfacto nations was viewed as amination results.
ry yet it is a high priority of good quality. Mark • More full-time staff
to ensure that the most ing of examinations should be recruited
current information is was centralized to fa at regional level to
passed on. Dhanara cilitate moderation and enhance efficient
jan (1997) emphasizes external assessment. and effective ser
the need for increased Regional workshops, vice delivery.
and flexible access to seminars and meetings • More funds should
information to enable were seen as crucial for be made available
isolated learners usu preparing and updating to the Zimbabwe
ally preoccupied with staff on efficient ser Open University
other demands of living vice delivery. Howev to enable this new
to obtain information er, most respondents institution to in
on both academic and felt that these were not crease its limited
administrative matters. sufficient. Evaluation resources.
Dhanarajan goes on of tutors by students • The establishment
to point out that good through comprehen of district centers in
quality practice rec sive instruments was all the ten regions
ognizes the need for cited as an effective of the Zimbabwe
students to be well in way of enhancing per Open University
formed about courses formance. Material should be expe
available to them. resources especially dited. These will
computers and were need to be ad
Conclusions viewed as inadequate equately equipped
and not matching the with appropriate
The objective of the
rate at which the uni resources.
study was to determine
versity is growing. Lack
strategies employed • An appropriate
of effective, adequate
by ZOU to assure and and effective com
and timeous commu
control quality. It was munication system
nication with both stu
evident that the Zimba needs to be put in
dents and staff was
bwe Open University place to enhance
also highlighted as a
has put in place mea accessibility of
weakness that needed
sures to assure and information by stu
attention.
control quality in its dents from national
96 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
and regional cen- time and full time order to promote
ters timeously. academic staff at and ensure quality
• More workshops national, regional, at all levels.
should be mounted faculty and depart
for both part- mental levels in

oEAsA-sADc CDE International Journal of Open and Diatance Learning 97


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UNESCO (1990) What ertshaw, M. (1991) In
Ambedkar, B. R.
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(1992) in Satyana
The Range of Possible The Tutor and Quality
rayana and Sesharat
Functions. Handbook Assurance in Distance
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on The Organisation Education. Paper
Assignments for Sub
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mission in Distance
Distance Education tificate in Adult Educa
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Study Centres. Bang tion Tutors’ Workshop
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(2): 33-45
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Lusunzi, I. S. (1998)
Danarajan, G. (1977)
The Tutor and Quality Stoner, J. A. F., Free
Globalisation, Com
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Asian Association of
tel in Gaborone What is a Study Cen
Open Universities, 1 l
Annual Conference tre” The Range of
Nixon, J. (1995) Pre Possible Functions
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in Open and Distance
Levacic’ (1997) Edu Organisation and
Learning in Kuala
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Lumpur, Malaysia.
Strategy, Quality and tance Education Study
Resources. Burking Centres. Bangkok:
Doherty, G. D. (1994)
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Developing Quality
Press. pp. 7-20, 30.
Systems in Education.
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Open University UK ZOU (2000-2003)
(2000) Quality and Zimbabwe Open Uni
Fox, R. (2001) Evalu
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Making a Difference in
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Preedy, M., Glatter, R.
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98 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


TEACHING MANAGEMENT AND
ACCOUNTING THROUGH OPEN AND
DISTANCE LEARNING MATERIALS: The case of
the Lesotho College of Education
Lineo Clementina Kolosoa — Lesotho College of Education
Abstract learning materials and ing because learners
mechanisms to allow are different and differ
This study was aimed at more fact-to-face and in how they learn. For
investigating the quality counseling services to some students read
and readability of the be built in the learner ing may not be a good
Management and Ac support system. way to learn, as differ
counting modules at ent learners learn best
the Lesotho College Introduction with different media
of Education (LCE). other than print. Media
The study explored In distance learning improves the learner’s
the learners’ perspec learners and instruc control of learning, dia
tive on the learning tors are separated geo logue, independence,
materials’ quality and graphically almost all interactivity, acces
readability in terms of the times. For this rea sibility and individu
the easiness, clarity of son and many others alization. Media can
concepts, illustrations the process of learn be used to facilitate
and pictures, and the ing has to be medi learning in many ways:
time spent studying the ated to facilitate effec whether for creating
materials. A compre tive learning (Sauve, stimulus, attracting at
hensive sample of 150 1994). Course media tention, guiding the
fourth year Distance tion is an alternative learning, making an
Teacher Education Pro media through which illustration, providing
gramme (DTEP) learn the teaching-at- a- dis feedback, and enhanc
ers from the lowlands tance is presented. A ing retention and trans
districts of Maseru and wide variety of media fer of learned informa
Berea were studied. can be used in learning tion (Sauve, 1994).
The data were col such as print materials, Even though print re
lected through the use lectures, conferences, mains prime medium
of the questionnaire tutors, videos, pictures, for distance educa
and group discussions sound and computers tion, the course may
with the respondents. (Bork and Gunnars be mediated through
The findings reveal that dotti, 2001). Course the radio and televi
the majority of teacher- mediation increases
sion broadcast, audio
learners found Manage the amount and the and video cassettes
ment and Accounting level of interaction that are more appropri
learning materials diffi between learner and ate for the provision of
cult and were identified learning materials, and greater interactivity in
as taking longer to com in some instances pro the teaching and learn
plete than others. The vides more opportunity ing process (Bork and
study recommends the for human interaction. Gunnarsdotti, 2001).
review of the present Media improves learn-
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 99
Lesotho College of (HEC 104) with 46%, almost anything that
Education (LCE) intro Science (SCI 109) stores information can
duced a new Distance 43%, and Mathematics be a part of this pack
Teacher Education (MAT 108) 40%. The age. This package can
Programme (DTEP) in study does not capture be a single workbook, a
January 2002 with the why the learners have videotape or audiotape
aim of upgrading the these feelings about with a study guide. It
qualifications of the the study materials. may be a computer disc
unqualified and under However, it appears in or a practical kit togeth
qualified serving pri distance education that er with back-up notes.
mary school teachers. learners have such This package has an
Learning is achieved feelings on study ma important role to play
through guided self- terials if they are more in CDL. What makes
study of the specially challenging and more the CDL materials dif
written course materi difficult to read and un ferent and important
als, and supplemented derstand than others. from the resources that
by face-to-face interac There could be other teachers and trainers
tion with the tutors. In reasons why CMS 106 use in ordinary class
December 2002, 442 seems to be more de room teaching is that
learner-teachers were manding than other the package will have
studied in order to so courses, this study been designed with
licit baseline informa therefore was intended a specific purpose in
tion on the learner at to investigate the qual mind they are aimed
-

titudes and opinions ity and readability of at achieving learners’


on the programme. the learning materials specific objectives with
The findings revealed with special reference specific competences
that 16% of the learn to Management and for distance learners
ers found study ma Accounting study mod (Sparkes, 1993; Rown
terials easy, 33% of ules at LCE. tree, 1994).
them were undecided
to say whether they Open and distance Melton (2002) places
found materials easy learning materials the effectiveness of the
or difficult, while 51 % CDL study materials
of the learners found A definition of learn
ing materials for Open on the extend to which
the learning materials design strategies have
quite difficult (Jones, and Distance Learning
been incorporated in
2003). (ODL) as merely read
them. To design effec
ing texts is increasingly
becoming inaccurate. tive distance learning
In the same study, materials, it is of para
48% of the learners CDL materials are ma
mount importance to
showed that Manage terials put together in
understand how learn
ment and Accounting 1 such a way that users
can learn from them ing takes place and the
(CMS 106) course took factors that influence
longest of the 13 mod satisfactorily with less
help from a teacher the learning process.
ules to complete and According to Melton,
do the assignments. (Rowntree, 1990). As
strategies to be em
This was followed by Rowntree (1994) has
ployed in the design
Home Economics 1 pointed out, ODL ma
of the study materials
terials are a package;
100 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
are, firstly, they should In support to Melton 2- clear objectives, 3-
be structured in a logi (2002), Carr et al., small units, 4-planned
cal manner. The logical (2002) outline the fea participation, 5-com
framework here refers tures of high quality pleteness, 6- repeti
to the learners’ ability distance education ma tion, 7- synthesis, 8-
to recognise the rela terials, that the subject stimulation, 9- variety,
tionships between con matter must be correct, 10- open-ended, 11-
cepts and not feel too inclusive of all elements feedback, and 12-con
entangled in a maze and at “the right level of tinuous evaluation.
of learning concepts at academic demand.” In
any point in the learn developing ODL ma According to Gough
ing process. Learners terials more attention (1980) in Timmers
should be made aware should be given to the (1990), the character
of the learning goals pedagogical aspects of istics of an effective
and when such goals distance learning how- distance education
should be achieved. teaching and learning system should include,
Secondly, the ODL takes place in distance inter alia, the use of
study materials should learning.Well-designed specialized education
be designed in such self-instructional ma al techniques in devel
a way that they make terials are developed oping learning experi
use of a multimedia differently in style and ences, writing self-in
approach to facilitate structure from other structional materials
learning. One appro texts such as lecture and designing suitable
priate medium or a notes and journal ar teaching strategies
combination of media ticles in that they must that make learning ad
should be used with the clearly state aims and equately available to
intention of enabling objectives, and include learners. The system
learners to use all their a wide range of access should produce learn
senses for maximum devices such as course ing materials published
teaching and learning. guides, advance or in pedagogically sound
Thirdly, the study ma ganizers, self-assess and attractive format
terial should include ment tests, clear and using various appropri
enough activities and consistent headings ate media. The orga
projects to encourage and sub headings, nization must have an
deep rather than sur summaries, glossaries efficient course deliv
face learning in learn and many other strate ery system in its widest
ers (Melton, 2002). Hol gies that make individ sense, including the
mberg (1960) in Jarvis ual learning possible development of an ef
(1995) suggests that (Carr et al., (2002). Is- fective support system
ODL materials should man et al., (2004) on to meet the needs of
be “conversational and the other hand identify learners at a distance
almost two-way” with 12 general principles both pre-enrolment
comments that invite to be incorporated in and post-enrolment
dialogue through the the design of distance (Timmers, 1990).
medium of the learn education materials as
er’s assignments and highlighted in Moore Research
the tutors’ comments. and Kearsely (1996) questions
as; 1- good structure,
Specifically the study
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 101
addressed the follow theories and prac the Lesotho College of
ing questions: tices in distance Education. The sample
• What are learn learning. consisted of all the
ers perceptions • To recommend 150 fourth year DTEP
of the quality and possible interven learners in the Low
readability of the tion mechanisms lands region of Maseru.
Management and that could be built This region is made of
Accounting study in the design of two districts of Maseru
materials? the Management and Berea, which con
• How useful do and Accounting sist of six clusters. The
the learners find learning materials sample was distributed
words, illustrations to improve on the in these clusters as fol
and activities used learners ability to lows: Maseru Central
in the study materi study the materi (29 learners or 20%),
als to their learning als. Morija and Mantsebo
of the subject? (28 learners or 19%),
Research St Michaels and Ra
Objectives of methodology mabanta (26 learners
the study or 17%), Semonkong
Research design (20 learners or 13%),
The purpose of the In this study both quan Teyateyaneng and
study was to investi titative and qualitative Sefikeng (27 learners
gate the quality and methods were used. or 18%) and Bela-bela
readability of the Man Quantitative research and Mapoteng (20
agement and Account approach was em learners or 13%). Even
ing study materials at ployed to test data ac though Maseru and
the Lesotho College of curately in order to get Berea are termed low
Education. The specific results that assisted to land districts, the sites
objectives of the study explain and predict the of Mapoteng, Sefikeng
were as follows: quality and readability and Ramabanta lie
• To explore learner of Management and in the foothills region
attitudes and opin Accounting study ma while Semonkong is a
ions on the learn terials, whereas quali highland site.
ing materials qual tative research method
ity and readability helped in producing A survey approach
in terms of easi insightful knowledge was employed for this
ness of interaction, on how the Manage study and compre
helpfulness of in ment and Accounting hensive sampling was
formation, practical study materials can be viewed as appropri
activities and gen improved for effective ate in the selection of
eral presentation of learning. the sample. All the 4th
information. year teacher- learners
• To examine the na Population and of the Maseru region
ture of the subject, sample (150) were engaged
especially the ac in the study. The re
counting part of the The population of the spondents seemed
reading materials, study was 1742 DTEP to be knowledgeable
in relation to the teacher-learners at and informative in
102 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
terms of experience, subjects. The question ity, Gunning Fog Index
background and geo naire was also used to and Complexity Quo
graphic location to give obtain information that tient were conducted
a broader view of the could not be easily ob on four Management
problem investigated. served such as when and Accounting study
The sampling method opinions, beliefs and materials. Rowntree
benefited the research perceptions are desired (1990 and 1994) de
in that the sample was and to enlist data from scribe fog index and
manageable and yet informants that could complexity quotient as
diverse enough that not be interviewed measures that judge
there was variation in personally because of the “fogginess” or “the
the data collected a distance or time con readability of a piece of
recommended by Mc straints (Charles, 1995, writing”. The readabil
Millan and Schumach Remenyi et at., 1995). ity tests usually predict
er (2001). The questionnaire was how difficult the learn
field tested using LCE ers are likely to find the
Data collection staff and twenty year study material (Hodg
instruments 2 and 3 DTEP learners son, 1993). For the
from Morija and Mant material to be readable
Multimethod strategies its fog index should not
sebo cluster to ensure
were used to collect
its validity and reliabil exceed 12, while com
data in this study. Dif plexity quotient should
ity. The responses on
ferent data collection
the field test assisted not exceed 3. Para
techniques were used
the researcher to clarify graphs were selected
in this study to allow the
the questions, and re at random from mod
researcher to compare
fine the final question ules 1,2,3 and 4 and
different sources, situ
nai re. Gunning Fog index
ations and methods to
was calculated. Com
see whether the same Group discussions plexity Quotient was
pattern keeps on re
calculated from Mod
curring (McMillan and Group discussions
ule 1, unit 10 page 162;
Schumacher, 2001). were conducted in all
Module 2, unit 9 page
the six clusters. Group
140; Module 3, unit 10
Out of the 150 subjects discussions were used
page 157 and Module
studied 110 filled the in this study as an al
4 unit 10 page 134.
questionnaire. A self- ternative to in-depth
administered ques interviews that could
Data analysis
tionnaire was used to not be practical for the
enlist information from researcher to engage In analyzing data in this
learners. The question in. The researcher research study, refer
naire consisted of 20 became the facilitator ence was made to the
items. A questionnaire of discussions, rather objectives of the study
was chosen for this than interviewer (Tice and research ques
study because it is the hurst and Veal, 2000). tions. Data collected
quickest and relatively through the calcula
economical means of Module readability tions of Gunning Fog
collecting factual infor Index and Complexity
In order to measure
mation by asking the Quotient on the Man
the module readabil
same questions to all agement and Account-
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 103
ing modules 1 to 4 were 45 years (91%) and them 1 to 5 hours of
analyzed mathemati had one or two children travel to work per week
cally through the use (54%). Most of them did (72%).
of one-way chi-square not have any teaching
(X2) to test the overall qualification before they Learners were asked
readability. While qual joined DTEP but were to indicate the modules
itative data from group teaching with Cam that took them lon
discussions were di bridge Overseas Cer gest to complete and
vided into themes. The tificate (COSC) (75%). answer assignments.
frequencies of each They were employed The top five modules
theme found were tab on permanent contracts that took students
ulated, quantified and (72%) with the teach longest to study and
expressed into per ing experience rang complete assignments
centages. ing from 4 to 10 years were Management and
(70%). They lived at Accounting (63%), So
Findings least 10 km away from cial and Development
The study revealed that the study centres. They Studies (54%), Mathe
the majority of DTEP studied at home (75%) matics (46%), Science
learners were married and needed more than (30%) and Education
(74%), females (76%), 2 hours of study per (25%) respectively.
aged between 26 and week (91%). It took

Table 1: Learners’ views of the management and accounting study materials


Views Frequencies Percentage
(n=11O)
Modules
Easy 44 40
Difficult 66 60
Difficult words used in modules 81 74
Concepts presented poorly 8 10
Concepts presented clearly 102 90
Illustrations and pictures useful 98 89
Illustrations and pictures not useful 12 11
Assignments

Clear and simple 34 41


Complicated and not clear 76 69
Words used to describe assignments simple 29 26
Time spent studying

104 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


• Views Frequencies Percentage
(n=11O)

Less time is taken to study the material 11 10


Much time is taken to study the material 99 90

Table 1 above shows that learners found the Management and Accounting
course materials (modules) difficult (60%) even though most learners felt that
concepts were presented clearly (90%). The majority of the learners found
assignments complicated and not clear (69%). They also felt that the words
used to describe activities in the modules were difficult (74%). Learners found
pictures and illustrations used in the study materials useful in understanding
the materials (89%). Even though they found concepts clearly presented in
the modules (90%), it took many of them more time to read the materials and
do activities (90%).

Table 2: Views of learners on how the ability to learn from the management and
accounting modules should be improved
Themes No. %

Simplify modules and indicate glossary 37 34

More examples 27 25
Hire and train more qualified subject tutors 33 30
More time for revision / workshops /tutorials / practi- 68 62
cal activities

Supplement modules with radio! audio taped lessons 22 20

Distribute modules and assignments on time 25 23

Table 2 shows the views of the learners on how the modules could be im
proved. In order to improve on their ability to study the modules, most learn
ers felt that they needed more time for revision, workshops and practical
activities (62%), while others wanted modules simplified (34%) and more
qualified and trained tutors hired (30%).

Table 3: Gunning Fog Index calculated on management and accounting study


materials
Materials Fog Index (0 — E) (0 — 2
E) (0 — 2
E)
Index expect- E
ob- ed
served

CMS 106 25.20 12 13.20 174.24 14.52

CMS 208 20.60 12 8.60 73.96 6.16

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 105


CMS 308 12.12 12
[ 0.12 0.01 0.08
CMS 408

Chi squareX
2
12.32
J L0.32 0.10 0.01

20.77
1’ > U.Ub, aT = , UrIU( ai x= IbiD

Table 4: Complexity quotient calculated on management and accounting study


materials
Materials Quotient Quotient (0 — E) (0 — 2
E) (Q.EIT
Observed Expected E
CMS 106 4.8 3 1.8 3.24 1.08
CMS 208 7 3 4 16 5.33
CMS 308 6.17 3 3.17 10.05 3.35
CMS 408 12.32 3 9.32 86.86 28.96
Chi square = 2
X 38.71
P >0.05, df = 2, Critical X
2 = 7.815

Tables 3 and 4 show concluded that the ma asked. Some learn


calculations of one- terials took longest for ers believed that some
way chi-square (X )
2 the learners to study subject tutors did not
goodness-of-fit test and respond to the as seem to know enough
on the Gunning Fog signments because the subject matter to as
index scores and the writers used complicat sist in answering the
Complexity Quotient ed and long words. assignments. The fol
scores respectively as lowing were the views
calculated on study Findings from of the learners on how
materials. The X2 ob group discussions the Management and
served is 20.77 for Accounting modules
Fog index scores and According to the learn
could be improved:
2 observed is 38.71
X ers who participated in
the discussion groups, Modules should
for complexity quotient be distributed dur
scores. Since both X they spent more time
2 ing the on campus
observed
than is usual reading
exceeds session and to
X critical (7.815) for
2 the Management and
Accounting study ma everybody at the
both measures, the same time. No
scores show the con terials in order to be
able to do their assign sites should be
fidence level of 95% given preferential
and strongly support ments. They felt this
was because the study treatment on the
the opinions of the re timing and distribu
spondents interviews materials were not
very clear and some tion of modules.
that Management and Modules were dif
Accounting study ma times posttest activi
ties were not relevant ficult and should be
terials were difficult. simplified.
It could therefore be to the assignments

106 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


• Audiotapes, radio als at the Lesotho Col plicated words. On all
programmes or lege of Education. The pages of the modules
videotapes should study revealed that studied, Fog Index ob
supplement mod 74% of the learners served is higher than
ules so that learn were married females the expected index of
ers could listen to with the responsibility 12, while the Complex
them at own times of at least two children. ity quotient observed
to clarify what the Before enrolling on the is higher than the ex
tutors taught. programme, 75% of the pected quotient of 3.
• Modules should learners had no teach The overall chi-square
be checked before ing qualification other (X2) observed 20.77
distribution to cor than Cambridge Over and 38.71 respectively
rect grammar and seas School Certificate (cf. Table 3 and 4). It
spelling, check (COSC). Due to lack of could be concluded
missing pages, uni infrastructural resourc therefore that learners
formity of ink and es, learners travelled found learning materi
font on the printing. at least 10km from als difficult as a result
home to schools which they were unable to
• Moderation of
were used as study recognize the relation
tutor-marked as
centres henceu few ship between concepts
signments was
(25%) used them while and practice and as
important since
many (75%) preferred such their learning
there was a lack
to study at home. The objectives were not
of uniformity from
majority of them (91 %) achieved. In order to
different sites and
studied for less than 2 meet the quality crite
tutors. Uniformity in
hours per week. ria of ODL materials,
the marking of as
they should incorpo
signments could be
According to the study, rate multimedia ap
maintained if there
60% of the learners proach, as suggested
were similar mark
found CMS study ma by the 20% of the re
ing guides for dif
terials difficult and as spondents (cf. Table
ferent sites. Tutors
signments complicated 2). Respondents insist
should discuss the
and not clear (90%). that Management and
assignments and
Ninety per cent of the Accounting modules
marking guides
learners took more should be simplified
together to ensure
time to study the mate and glossary should be
common under
rials and do the assign included.
standing before
ments. After 4 years in
grading.
the programme, learn Inferred in the findings
ers still ranked CMS of this study were the
Discussion
modules, as the mate critical features that are
As indicated earlier, rials that took longest brought about by the
the main purpose of to study (Jones, 2003). nature of the subject
this study was to inves The readability tests and the principles that
tigate the quality and calculated on the ma determine the teach
the readability of the terials confirmed that ing and learning of ac
Management and Ac the materials were diffi counting. According to
counting study materi cult with long and corn- Wild (2000) in learning
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 107
accounting one studies tion demonstration to
- method be employed
a lot of principles, con illustrate procedures or which combination
cepts, procedures and and systems, while of instructional tech
analysis. Wild explains facts and concepts niques.
accounting as a practi can be taught through
cal subject that requires expository methods In agreement with
many illustrations and such as explanation. Bisschoff et al., (1992)
examples to clarify Demonstration com and Melton (2002) the
complex concepts. bined with explanation respondents (cf.Table
Bisschoft et al. (1992) allow learners to see 2) recommended that
perceive accounting application of correct more examples should
as a “systematic sub procedures and hear be included in the mod
ject, subject to strict the information needed ules, more revision les
discipline.” Research to guide their study sons, workshops and
indicates that students and application. They tutorials were needed
learn accounting better discourage teach to provide them with
when they are actively ing methods such as enough practice to
involved in the learning textbook and lecture enhance learning.
through concentrated methods as they do They felt that modules
drill and practice; the not cater for learners’ should be supplement
learning of the subject individual differences ed with radio and or
is stimulated when a and do not engage audio taped lessons,
learner is provided learners actively in which implied that
with a variety of ma their learning. The im there should be a con
terials, media and in plication here is that nection between the
structional techniques. DCL materials should figures in the modules
Because accounting is be prepared bearing in terms of what they
a procedural subject, in mind these learning see and explanations
learning is facilitated principles. They must of the concepts to allow
through modeling and accommodate the fea real life application and
verbalization of the tures of step-by-step understandability. In
procedures followed by demonstration method support Melton (2002)
immediate provision of to avoid giving learn believes that for DCL
feedback (Bisschoff et ers the knowledge that study materials to pro
al., 1992). is often disconnected vide effective learning,
from the features that they must be designed
Due to the nature of make it understand in such a way that they
the subject, Bisschoff able and meaningful. make use of a multi
et al., (1992) recom If study materials are media approach. The
mend teaching meth the collection of les step-by-step demon
ods that provide more sons, fl planning for stration of what actu
exemplification and a lesson the facilita ally takes place could
practice to stimulate tor should always ask be provided by the in
interest and initiative. the question, for what clusion of the glossary
They recommend such learning objectives and that 34% of the learn
teaching methods as a for which learners and ers believe could make
combination of demon under what learning the Management and
stration and explana conditions should any Accounting modules
108 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
easier. Table 1 sup- study. Specifically cassette tapes and
ports the importance simplify materials radio programmes
of illustrations and pic- by the inclusion to provide demon
tures in the learning of of glossary, more strations and illus
the subject as 89% of examples and illus- trations to supple-
the learners found il- trations. Incorpo- ment practically
lustrations and pictures rate quality control oriented Manage-
useful in their learning, measures during ment and Account-
the production of ing study materials.
Recommendations self-instructional • Built in more learn-
materials. The par- er support mecha
Taking into consider-
ticular advantage nisms that provide
ations the findings of
of self-instructional more face-to-face
the study, it is recom-
materials is that and counseling
mended that LCE:
they enable learn- services, more
Engages in con
ers to choose their time for tutorials
tinuous review of
own time and place and revision ses
the learning mate-
of study. sions.
rials so that their
quality and read- • Integrate other • Increase on the
ability can be as- learning technolo- capacity of the
sured and to make gies such as video part-time subject
them easier to cassettes, audio- tutors.

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 109


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110 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
ABOUT THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN
DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY Centre for -

Distance Education (SADC-CDE)


I Thutoetsile,
Southern African Development Community Centre for Distance Education
-

The Southern Afri • build and maintain • engage in and col


can Development a resource base laborate with other
Community - Centre on CDL with up- institutions within
for Distance Educa to-date information the region and in
tion was created by regarding training ternationally in staff
the Southern Africa materials, pro development, train
Development Com grammes, courses ing and systemic
munity (SADC) Minis and related ma research activities
ters for Education and terials, research in open and dis
the Commonwealth documents, local tance learning;
of Learning (CCL) in experts and con • actively seek op
2005 to undertake sultants in specific portunities for
and promote training areas working in CDL
and development in • develop training projects and con
Open Distance Learn strategies and sultancies with a
ing (CDL), engage in provide training view to generating
and support systemic for different target revenue for the
research activities in groups within min sustainability of
CDL, provide qual istries of education, the Centre;
ity distance education institutions and • serve as a centre
and increase the provi agencies in South of expertise in CDL
sion of quality distance ern Africa for Southern Africa
education in Southern
• develop plans and
Africa. The specific ob
strategies for sys SADC CDE has un
jectives of the Centre —

temic research and dertaken several activi


are to;
disseminate the ties since its establish
identify and meet
relevant informa ment. Find below a
the education and
tion and findings table that summarises
training needs of
through journals, the activities undertak
different profes
newsletters and en from 2005 to date;
sional groups with
other available
in Southern Africa
means

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 111


SADC — CDE UNDERTAKEN PROJECTS (Since June 2005 to Date)

PROJECTS TARGET GROUP DATE NO. of IMPACT


UNDERTAKEN PAX
Situational ODL institutions July—De- 27 institu- The Centre is well
Assessment in SADC Member cember tions known. Collabora
States 2005 tion within the coun
March & 8 institu- tries and outside
May 2006 tions has improved.
ODL Associations
—formed e.g. Ma
lawi. Consultative
meeting in Zambia
aimed at forming an
ODL association in
the country
2 Facilitation of ISPU and UNISA UNISA met with
Collaboration ISPU, a Mozambi
on Material can institution, with
Development a view to arrange
(Sharing) for ISPU to offer
UNISA courses to
Mozambicans in
Portuguese.
3 1 SADC SADC CDE Advi-
— December Botswana, The legitimacy of
— CDE Advi- sory Board 2005 COL, the Centre was
sory Board Lesotho, underscored as its
Meeting Zambia recognition started
Swaziland, from the meeting
SADC
Secretariat
4 Policy Devel- 2 participants each January to 6 out of An ODL Policy is
opment On from Lesotho, May 2006 eleven being developed in
line Course Malawi, Tanzania, par- Lesotho and there
Zambia, Zimbabwe ticipants is a draft policy in
& 1 from Botswana Continued Zambia
up to the
end.
5 SADC CDE
— SADC CDE Advi-
— 25 Janu- Botswana, Acceptance of the
Advisory sory Board ary 2006 CCL, Centre as a SADC
Board Emer- Lesotho, organ in March by
gency Meet- Zambia, the SADC Ministers
ing Swaziland, of Higher Education
SADC
Secretariat

112 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


PROJECTS TARGET GROUP DATE NO. of IMPACT
UNDERTAKEN PAX

6 Copyright BOCODOL, NAM- November 4 par- The four are now


Workshop COL, UNISA, OUT 2005 ticipants trainers in IP and
(Kampala, & DODE (sent to copyright, e.g. they
Uganda) Kampala) resourced in the
Centre’s IP and
Copyright workshop
in Pretoria. They
have also produced
draft copyright poli
cies in the different
institutions.
7 Copyright All member states 27 Febru- 16 (Only The Draft IP report
Workshop in except Angola & ary to Malawi, produced, is being
Pretoria, RSA DRC 3 March Mauritius used by Distance
(UNISA) (Language) 2006 & Swa- Education Asso
ziland ciation of Southern
failed) Africa to inform
its operations e.g.
sharing of Library
materials

8 Research Materials develop- 15 19


— 22 from; From the 2 work-
and Publica- ers, learner sup- May 2006 Botswana, shops, 15 articles
tion Capac- port personnel, Namibia, have been pro
ity Building management and Malawi, duced. These are
Workshop finance officials Zambia being reviewed
#1 in Lusaka, and Zim- and about ten will
Zambia babwe be published in a
journal.

9 Hosting Open All member states 4—5 July 21 The Centre is now a
Schooling —institutions with 2006 coordinating body
Consortium open schooling for the open school
ing consortium
10 Research Materials Devel- Septem- 20 from; As a result of the 2
and Publica- opers, Learner ber 2006 Botswana, workshops The Cen
tion Capac- support personnel, Namibia, tre has been identi
ity Building management and Lesotho, fied as the training
Workshop #2 finance officials Zambia, arm of DEASA
in Windhoek,
Namibia

11 Drafting of n/a October n/a n/a


technical 2006
specification
for the Fi
nance in CDL
course

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 113


PROJECTS TARGET GROUP DATE NO. of IMPACT
UNDERTAKEN PAX
12 Invitation for All DEASA member December 12 ODL n/a
bids to design institutions 30th 2006 institu
and develop tions
the Finance in
ODL course

13 Formation Library personnel, January n/a SADC-CDE is host-


of critical ODL practitioners, 2007 ing and coordinating
partnerships researchers, law- the business of
- registration yers, governments, AA2KAT
of AA2KAT a — publishers
pan African
organisation
aimed at pro
moting open
source and
relaxed copy
right laws that
will enable the
growth of the
public domain

14 First Interim Interim Board of 1 March 10 Some draft project


Board Meet- Trustees 2007 proposals have
ing been drawn, e.g. a
conference is cur
rently being planned
for October 2007 by
AA2KAT and SARUA
15 3 SADC-CDE DEASA, Lesotho. 9 March 10 Strategic decisions
Advisory Swaziland, Bo- 2007 have been taken that
Board Meet- tswana, UNESCO, will further advance
ing Zambia, SADC the impact of SADC
Secretariat, COL, CDE
and SADC-CDE
16 Drafting of SADC Secretariat June 2007 - SADC SADC CDE servic

an MoO with and member states — CDE ing SADC Secre


SADC Secre- Board tariat professional


tariat members, ODL needs
- SADC
—CDE
Seniors
officials,
-SADC
Senior
Officials,
-SADC
Education
Ministers
114 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning
PROJECTS TARGET GROUP DATE NO. of IMPACT
UNDERTAKEN PAJ(

17 Supporting in All stakeholders in 2-3 April 30 Inter institu


country Zam- ODL; Universities, 2007 tional collaboration
bia Initiative colleges of educa- started.
- Consultative tion, elecommuni- working towards a
workshop on cations Authority, wider national con-
the revival or Ministry of Science sultative workshop
formation of and Technology, where a national
the Zambia Ministry of Educa- ODL association
National ODL tion will be formed and
Association its first committee
elected

18 Conducting DOMASI, Malawi 18—22 Participants


ODL materials College of Distance June 2007 acquired materials
development Education, Mzuzu development skills
workshop for university and Mm- which they are using
Malawi istry of Education to develop quality
learning materials
which will in turn
help learners to
study and pass
their examination
in greater numbers.
This has the
potential to decrease
drop out rates and
increase through
put rates of ODL
institutions.

19 Conducting an Ministry of Educa- 25—30 Lesotho is on


ODL Policy tion, Lesotho Dis- June 2007 course towards the
Development tance Teaching development of a
workshop Centre, National policy framework
University of Leso- that will guide ODL
tho and Institute for practice in the
Extra Mural Studies country to improve
access to quality
education which will
improve the liveli
hoods of many who
would otherwise be
left out of the educa
tion system

DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 115


PROJECTS TARGET GROUP DATE NO. ot IMPACT
UNDERTAKEN PAX
20 SADC ODE
— Malawi 0DL The cours- 40 people The impact will
secured 40 institution(s), es com- be measured after
Masters Zambian ODL mence in the beneficiaries
degrees institution(s), Leso- January complete the pro-
scholarships tho ODL institution 2008 gramme.
tenable at and BOCODOL in
Indira Ghandi Botswana
Open Univer
sity (IGNOU)
for capacity
building in
SADC ODL
institutions

21 Joint devel- The Government From n/a No impact yet as


opment and of Finland, Hewlett 2006 - no project has been
submission Foundation, Ford 2007 undertaken to date.
of funding Foundation,
proposals Canadian Interna
for the Open tional Development
Schooling Agency (CIDA),
Consortium UBS Optimus
with Mindset Foundation, Aga
Livelihoods Khan Foundation,
Open Society Initia
tive for Southern
Africa (OSISA),
W.K. Kellogg Foun
dation, Gary Player
Foundation, US
Africa Development
Fund, Bill and Me
lida Gates Founda
tion, South African
Development Fund,
The shuttleworth
Foundation

SADC CDE in collaboration with DEASA is working on developing some


criteria that would be used to define best practice in various aspects of ODL
in the context of Southern Africa. Such criteria would be circulated widely in
SADC ODL institutions with a view to improve the quality of ODL provision in
SADC member states.

116 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


DEASA$ADC CDE International Journal of
-

Open and Distance Learning


NOTES TO CONTRIBUTORS

The DEASA-SADC CDE Format: References:


International Journal Manuscripts should ide
of Distance Education The journal makes use
ally be between 3000 of the American Psy
is an annual refereed and 7000 words includ
journal of DEASA mem chology Association
ing the list of references. (APA) Manual writing
ber institutions. It main The first page should style 5
th
Edition or as
ly publishes articles on contain the title and the updated.
distance education and details of the author/s
also accepts papers in thus name, affiliation,
other related areas as Proofs:
address, e-mail, phone
well as book reviews. number and fax num Authors shall normally
Manuscripts will be ber. The second page receive edited proofs
seen anonymously by is the abstract page. before publication to
two referees. It should have the title confirm and approve
of the manuscript at the final version of their
Manuscript the top followed by an manuscript with editori
submission abstract of between al input. However, this
Manuscripts should 100 and 200 words step may be omitted in
be submitted in elec maximum. This is a sum case of delays in the
tronic form in MS Word mary of the manuscript processes.
to the Editor-in-Chief and should cover the
(chimedza @ ecoweb. objectives, main points, Copyright:
co.zw or chimedza@ methodology, findings It is a condition of pub
zou.ac.zw) copied to and conclusions as ap lication in this journal
the Director SADC CDE propriate to the paper. that authors vest copy
(tthuthoetsile@ bocodol. The third page, which is
right in the Distance
ac.bw). Where this is the first page of the man Education Association
not possible contribu uscript, should have the of Southern Africa and
tors can send three cop title at the top follow by the Southern Africa
ies of their hard copy the abstract and then Centre for Distance
manuscripts by courier the main contents of the
Education. However
mail to Professor Rob paper. The title should authors are free to
ert Chimedza, Zimba be in bold and the man use their material else
bwe Open University, uscript should be typed where after the publi
1h
7
Floor Stanley House, in Times New Roman cation without seeking
Jason Moyo Avenue, in size 12 font and all
permission from the
P.O. Box MP 1119, Ha- pages should be num journal provided they
rare, Zimbabwe. bered. Details about the acknowledge the copy
author/s should not ap
right holder as the first
pear on this page. publisher.
DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning 117
CONTRIBUTORS

Auxilia Badza is a of Open and Distance Open Learning.


Senior Lecturer and Learning
Chairperson in the Grace T. Mukeredzi is
Department of Special Regina Kegopotswe Senior Lecturer in the
Education at the Zim Masalela is an instruc Department of Educa
babwe Open Univer tional designer and tion and Regional Pro
sity. Programmes Coordi gramme Coordinator of
nator in the Department Education in Masvingo
David Chakuchichi is of Distance Education Region of the Zimba
Senior Lecturer, Direc - Center for Continuing bwe Open University
tor and Assistant to the Education at the Uni
Pro Vice Chancellor versity of Botswana. Tsitsi G. Ndamba is
Academic at the Zim She coordinates the Lecturer at Great Zim
babwe Open design, development babwe University
and evaluation of dis
Trudie Frindt is Senior tance learning pro Lineo Kolosoa is Lec
Lecturer and Head grams in Education turer of Management
of the Department of and Accounting in
Continuing Education Ndaba J. Ncube is Se the Distance Teacher
at the University of Na nior Lecturer and Re Education Programme
mibia. gional Director of the at Lesotho College of
Bulawayo Region of Education.
Louise Mostert is a the Zimbabwe Open
Lecturer at the Univer University Thulaganyo Thutoet
sity of Namibia sue is Director of the
Stanslaus Modesto Southern Africa De
Godson Gatsha is the Tichapondwa is Head velopment Community
Regional Manager of of Department, School Centre for Distance
the Kang Region of of Business Studies, Education
the Botswana College Botswana College of

118 DEASA-SADC CDE International Journal of Open and Distance Learning


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© DEASA-SADC CDE