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ICDE 2015 - International Partnership

Paper presented at the ICDE 2015 world conference

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ICDE 2015 - International Partnership

  1. 1. The role of an international partnership in developing academic capacity in open distance learning Geesje Van den Berg - Unisa Muriel Joffe - UMUC Stella C.S. Porto - IDB & UMUC
  2. 2. Overview ● Background ● How does the partnership work? ● Research methodology ● Findings ● Overall value of the programme ● Final remarks
  3. 3. Background: Unisa ● Largest OU in Africa ● Founded in 1873 ● 1st public institution to teach at a distance ● +400K students ● in transition...
  4. 4. Background: UMUC/MDE
  5. 5. Background: Tying the knot
  6. 6. How does the partnership work ● same academic requirements and standards ● special registration process ● admin support @ UMUC and Unisa ● academic support common to all students in the program
  7. 7. The research ● Purpose ● Online survey - open and closed questions ● Paradigm: interpretivist ● Participants: 50; 34 responded (68%) ● Data analysis: online tools, thematic approach
  8. 8. Summary of findings ● Participant profile Main themes: ● Time management ● Support ● Academic culture
  9. 9. Participant profile
  10. 10. Participant profile
  11. 11. Main findings: time management Most important challenge: balancing work obligations with study - major issue High quality learner support might help with their time management
  12. 12. Main findings: support
  13. 13. Main findings: support
  14. 14. Main findings: support ● Line managers: only 7 respondents received real support, 13 received support, line managers did nothing; 11 received no support ● Administrative support: 88% indicated that they received all or some support ● Mentors: “One needs someone to guide one through”. ● Guidance needed: self-directedness; autonomy of learning surprise! Although information available, preferred to ask administrators
  15. 15. Main findings: academic culture educational systems, pedagogy, the learning process, ethics, student behaviour, student beliefs and practices
  16. 16. Main findings: academic culture ● Different educational systems: deadlines, registration, length of semesters, the grading systems ● Structure of the UMUC courses as a key concern: ○ fast pace of the courses; deadlines; the amount of reading; groupwork; synchronous events ● Difference between the UMUC and the UNISA parts of the programme ● Value of studying in another country; different cultures: developed vs developing
  17. 17. Overall value of the programme ● Structure of UMUC courses (paradox?) ○ became a positive after adjustment ● Interaction between faculty and students ● The constant feedback from instructors ○ represented a model of teaching and learning many Unisa faculty wished to replicate ● Importance of writing coaches and teaching assistants ● Support system as a whole ● Student centredness
  18. 18. Overall value of the programme ● Introduction to distance education literature ● Theory ● Teaching tools ● Exposure to technology ● Being a student ● Interacting with students from around the world - value of international partnerships
  19. 19. Final remarks ● The programme should be offered to all Unisa faculty to prepare them for teaching online. ● Expand partnership should be expanded ● Gained theoretical and practical knowledge ● Many benefits, specific difficulties - some specific to ODL ● Academic culture: frustrations and benefits. ● Requires time from students ● Need for efficient student support from both institutions
  20. 20. Final remarks Partnership: ● manage expectations: time management and student support and ● improve readiness and autonomy of learning ● fruitful & promising “awesome”, “informative”, and “challenging”
  21. 21. Final remarks This international partnership with the purpose of academic capacity building in open distance learning proved to be successful. The model not only served its purpose, but it can serve as an example for institutions in similar contexts.
  22. 22. Thank you! Questions?

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  • carmenpacheco

    Oct. 25, 2015

Paper presented at the ICDE 2015 world conference


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