2014 e learning innovations conference stephano nalaila blended learning

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2014 e learning innovations conference stephano nalaila blended learning

  1. 1. Blended learning at Mzumbe University: Students’ Perspective By Stephano Nalaila Mzumbe University M.Ed. Comparative and International Studies Kenyatta University A Paper presented at 21st Century eLearning and Innovation Conference at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. July 28-31, 2014
  2. 2.  Introduction  Methodology  Findings  Conclusion: Issues ahead
  3. 3. Introduction • Despite an increase in HLIs from 4 before 1990s to more than 55 in 2010, Tanzania still registered the lowest GER (bellow 2%) among the East African countries (Trust Africa, 2012; Kashorda and Waema, 2011) • The demand for the higher education has increased due to recent success in primary and secondary education development programs, PEDP and SEDP in the 2000s.
  4. 4. Introduction cont.. Consequently, HEIs have been grappling with the following challenges; • Cost of accommodating students in the available residential infrastructures and improvement of teacher-students ratio. • High demand for quality education • Unproductiveness of the traditional bound curriculum environment regarding the demographic change
  5. 5. Introduction cont.… Today, the use of ICTs is well articulated in the main policy documents, mainly; • The national ICT policy of 2003 • The Tanzania development Vision 2025 of 2006 • The ICT Policy for the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training-MoEVT of 2007 • Higher Education Development Programme of 2007 According to these policy documents, ICTs are seen important for the following;
  6. 6. Introduction cont.…. • Quality improvement in education delivery • Expansion of access to majority needy • Pedagogical roles changes • Cost-saving
  7. 7. Introduction cont.….. In the past five 5 years, the government and HEIs of Tanzania have struggled to establish ICT infrastructures to support various forms of e-learning, mainly the application of online activities to supplement the traditional face-to-face instructions. For example; • The establishment of National Research Network (NREN) • Establishment of the marine cables to provide reliable internet provision
  8. 8. Introduction cont.…  Exemption of value added tax to ICT equipment  Providing suitable environment for private investors, e.g. mobile phone companies, which have significantly contributed to availability of internet.  Currently, Science and Technology Higher Education Programme (STHEP) under support of the World Bank is implementing several interventions aimed at strengthening ICT capacity of HEIs, such as the EMIS, and The E-library, which are expected to have a significant impact on the use of E-learning
  9. 9. Introduction cont.. STHEP is also supporting the pilot move for the use of MOOCs and indispensably mobile learning in the country In Tanzania, just like many other African countries, studies show that, the use of various forms of e-learning still remains rudimentary and its adoption has been very slow (Government of Ghana, 2014; E-learning report, 2012; UNESCO, 2012; Sife et al., 2007). While the emphasis on the quality of education is also shared to the domestication of technology as well, critical pedagogical considerations must be critically put in place.
  10. 10. Introduction cont.. Major challenges relate to how well the HEIs can incorporate the ICTs in the teaching and learning, mainly as a result of • Cost of setting up ICT facilities • Technology characteristics • Lack of preparedness and self-efficacy among users • Limited accessibility • Lack of technical support • Failures to anticipate the outcomes sought out of ICTs Mtebe and Raphael, 2013; InfoDev, 2013; Kashorda and Waema, 2011; Shimba et al., 2011;Swarts and Wachira, 2010)
  11. 11. Blended learning at Mzumbe University In Tanzania, B/L is a recent practice, and its conception has not featured well in the current e-learning practices. Currently, Mzumbe university is part in many government initiated projects like TERNET, EMIS and E-Library System, and donors like VLIR-OUS from Belgium, which are all directed to building capacity to harness the best ICT solutions in the teaching, learning, research and management. The available e-learning environments, enabled by Moodle platform provides for a substantial online functions to supplement the face-to-face instructions at the university.
  12. 12. Blended learning at Mzumbe.. However, the recent e-learning utilization report (MU, 2013) presented an abysmally low level of utilization of the system by teaching staff, students and administrators. For instance, the report presented only 0.8% of over 280, which translates to 25 teaching staff using the available platform to blend the instructions. This report relates to findings at University of Dar es Salaam by Mtebe and Raphael (2013) and at OUT by Nihuka and Voogt (2012)
  13. 13. Methodology This paper is a result of an exploratory study which was conducted by using documentary review (mainly training manuals, reports and policy documents), interviews and focused group discussion on students’ perspective on the experiences, opportunities and challenges of the blended learning at Mzumbe university. Interviews were administered to directors for QA, ICT and DELCE (Director for External Linkages and Continuing Education), while focus group discussion were conducted on 6-7 member groups of students
  14. 14. Findings of the study  B/L supports at the university; • Some irregular trainings for students and instructors • Motivated helpdesk team for technical support • Committed management especially in the directorate of ICT • Networked computer labs (6 of them with over 230 computers) • Fair internet connectivity (bandwidth of 40 Mbps)  Traditional face-to-face strategies still dominate the T/L practices at MU despite government and institutional initiatives.
  15. 15. Findings cont.….  Only few subjects can be accessed on-line, some of which do not have contents, some faculties/schools did not have any contents online Perceived/experienced benefits of B/L At Mzumbe, students expressed interests to use B/L, with the anticipation to improve delivery quality and flexibility
  16. 16. Findings cont….  Students perceived that, B/L may reduce instructors concervativeness (some instructors force students to buy/use their books/publications) and enrich learning.  In the satellite centers, students perceived a reduction of geographical distance with their instructors
  17. 17. Challenges experienced by students These were related to the teaching staffs and technology resources, and students themselves; • Lack of delivery motivation from the teaching staffs • Role substitution (technology to do everything) by the teaching staff • Inadequate know-how to use navigate the online strategies • Lack of resources in the satellite centers where teachers rarely reach • Though no much complaints on, but no ICT facilities for special needs students • Inadequate and piecemeal coordination of the B/L-DICT, DELCE, QA, top management, teaching staffs
  18. 18. Conclusion: Issues ahead The traditional lecturers’ approaches/culture Piecemeal implementation; commitment of actors within and between institutions and ministry and how they are linked link Types, adequacy & effectiveness of training Resource constraints- Evaluation of different projects  All these need to be looked not only from the institutional context, but also national policy frameworks
  19. 19. Thank you snalaila@mzumbe.ac.tz Steven.nalaila@gmail.com www.mzumbe.ac.tz Skype: Nalaila Steven

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