On-line learning among Health Studies’ students at an open distance learning institution: prospects and challenges for interactivity
Author(s)Maboe, Kefiloe Adolphina
Health services management
Open distance learning
Distance education -- South Africa -- Computer-assisted instruction -- Case studies
Open learning -- South Africa -- Computer-assisted instruction -- Case studies
Internet in higher education -- South Africa -- Case studies
Health education (Higher) -- South Africa -- Case studies
University of South Africa. Department of Health Studies -- Students
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AbstractThe purpose of this research is to explore students’ on-line interactivity in an Open Distance Learning institution with other students, educators, study materials and Unisa as the sampled prototypical research subject. A mixed-method of research encompassing both explorative and descriptive aspects was used. Data was collected through myUnisa discussion forum, focus group interviews and an on-line questionnaire from second and third year Health Services Management students at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
Although the findings indicated that 84.9% of students owned computers, and 100% owned cellular phones, only 3.8% participated in the discussion forum. On-line discussion forum are critical in Open Distance Learning (ODL) because it allows people who cannot physically attend the educational institution to interact with each other. Almost 40% of these sampled students agreed that the discussion forum allowed them to study with their peers. However, only 53 of the 1,379 students registered for both second and third year studies during the first semester participated in the discussion forum. This indicates that very few students benefit from on-line interaction.
Most of the students who are enrolled in Health Services Management course are from 21 to above 50 years of age. This age factor can have an impact on computer literacy. Some of them indicated that they struggled with the utilisation of technology. The majority of these students do not utilise the prescribed on-line interactive tools effectively. Students’ need support cognitively, academically, administratively, institutionally and affectively. The findings suggest that although students are aware of the benefits of using online technologies, they do not have the support from the institution to enable them to better their skills in using these technologies. The other
challenge that they have raised is that educators also interact minimally on-line. Therefore, they do not receive the necessary feedback they require. The university systems are sometimes offline, which becomes worse during registration and submission of assignments.
The recommendations emanating from the study warrants various interventions of multiple stakeholders to resolve the students’ challenges.
D.Litt, et Phil. (Health Studies)
Maboe, Kefiloe Adolphina (2013) On-line learning among Health Studies’ students at an open distance learning institution: prospects and challenges for interactivity, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <http://hdl.handle.net/10500/13944>
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