Students’ Concerns and Views on Effectiveness of Implementation of a Post-Diploma in Basic Education Distance Learning Programme (Published)
This study sought to find out issues of serious concern to Post-Diploma students at the Kumasi Study Centres of the University of Education, Winneba, distance education programme. It also solicited their views on how to address those concerns. A descriptive cross-sectional quantitative survey using a self-designed structured questionnaire was employed to randomly select 291 respondents from a population of 1,200. The reliability coefficient of the questionnaire was 0.73. The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS 16.0 version). The study identified inadequate feedback and contact with lecturers/instructors, poor facilities and conditions at the study centres, high cost of programme, delay in the supply of modules, absenteeism of instructors, among others, as issues of serious concern to students. The number one issue of concern was delay in the supply of modules. It was revealed that early supply of modules, ensuring improvement in facilities and conditions at the centres, among others, would address students’ concerns on the programme. The study contributes to the importance of student involvement in successful implementation of distance education programmes.
Issues of Quality in Teaching Practice Supervision among Open Distance Students: Student and Lecturer Input (Published)
While Teaching Practice (TP) students are expected to carry out teaching duties as guided by their training institutions and instructions from the school managers, there is need that all stakeholders get involved to improve the quality of the practicum. As such, the purpose of TP supervision is meant to achieve the set of objectives of training and building up a teacher to the level of acceptable standard. This study was conducted with the open distance students who were following up a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). The study employed focus group method with participants and a few open ended questionnaires were administered. In the study it was established that TP supervision was regarded as effective in some ways such as being timeous but not productive in giving students room to air their opinions as discussions were dictatorial and hurriedly done. The study suggests, among other things, a relook by the University on the minimum numbers of students each TP supervisor should supervise on a given day, especially in remote areas where schools are far apart.
In this paper, the authors deal with the new approach on distance learning with the use of technological solutions based on knowledge bases and the semantic web. There are large number of papers, books, studies and the like, which deal with electronic and mobile learning but there are almost no papers which deal with intelligent learning. New technologies based on knowledge bases and semantic web allow completely new approaches of learning to those who for whatever reasons do not want or cannot attend seminars, lectures, courses or any other form of training. Here, for the first time beside electronic (e-Learning), mobile (m-Learning) we introduce intelligent (i-Learning) and a unique integrated concept (e-m-i-Learning). In the paper it is used Protégé platform for the update of basic knowledge as the basis of different mode of distance learning. The emphasis in the paper is not only on distance study than on any other learning that they can organize and any other business system which is not bound by time and place.
CONCEPTUALIZING THE VIRTUAL LEARNING SPACE(S) IN SAUDI ARABIA: A FOUCAULDIAN PANOPTIC APPROACH (Published)
In a place-conscious culture where marked spaces define national identity and social order, the move from a teacher-centred educational system to the virtual classroom resulted in re-drawing the map of power relations. From the practices of the early Saudi classroom, the Halaga, with its panoptic circle structure, to the modern school classroom with its carefully-drawn rows and set of disciplinary techniques, the Saudi teacher had always exercised his authority from/as the centre. Yet, the educational phenomenon of the virtual-space-based distance learning has left the instructor feeling ‘out of place’. As the setting for the physical presence and the disciplinary gaze is shifted/cancelled in the online classroom, the balance of power has also shifted in favour of the student. This paper explores the hierarchical structure of the virtual space in the not-so-modern Saudi teaching practices and the position of the teacher which has (d)evolved into the power struggles of the 21st century modern ‘educational technological phenomenon’. Applying Foucault’s concept of the panoptic in educational settings, we posit that the traditional power and discipline the teacher used to claim has been transmuted in the reverse panoptic gaze of the students who are in control of the virtual classroom and its time and space. The invisibility of the students in the current distance learning setting, compared to their visibility as a disciplinary tool in the physical Saudi classroom, poses a serious challenge not only to the teacher’s authority, but also to his/her style and methods. On the other hand, some might argue that the students might gain more understanding of a subject via their ‘spatial freedom’ of the online material access. However, we hypothesize that the virtual space in distance learning needs to be teacher-friendly and visual contact between the teacher and the students should still be applied freely.