Featured research (3)
This study aims to investigating the challenges that first year student's experience when using blended learning at UB. Most of the first year students at UB are not that computer literate because they had very minimal or no exposure to using computers at basic education level where computer related subjects such as computer studies and information technology [IT] are offered as electives at senior secondary school and only. Hence only few students opt to do these IT courses. More so at basic education level most of the schools do not incorporate use of IT and ICT related tools such as using the computer as part of the teaching and learning aids in day to day classroom teaching and learning. At this level teaching approaches are still very much traditional. However at university level computers are used as part of the teaching and learning tools and learner management systems (LMS) such as Blackboard and Moodle are also used as teaching and learning platforms hence, blended learning is part of many of the courses that these students take. Consequently, this gap of computer literacy between basic education and university poses many challenges to students when using blended learning. The research method used is the quantitative research method. Research tools used include a questionnaire that was administered to 150 students enrolled in both ICT 121 and COM 141 courses during the first semester of 2015/2016 academic year. In addition, interviews and classroom observations over the same period were conducted by the researchers. The study is guided by the Diffusion of Innovation theory theoretical framework Rogers (2003). In this theoretical framework Rogers's theory seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread. Thus the research found it to be an appropriate theoretical frame to base their study on since their study is on challenges that learners have when introduced new ideas and technology and it seeks to understand why students have these challenges and how solutions to these challenges can be established. A study conducted by Masalela (2009) indicated that there some potential benefits for blended learning that included improved pedagogy; engagement in learning; and added flexibility in teaching and learning. This study further showed that there were perceived complexities such as lack of students' readiness to use the course management system, slow network and breakdowns; lack of computers for students and lack of time. Another study by Thomas (2008 on blended learning as a component of eLearning at UB showed that there was a slight (but not ignorable) declining trend in the technology diffusion process from the first semester of the 2005/06 academic year. Thomas argues that this trend is seen in both the number of active online courses as well as the number of online course designers. He further states that based on several technology adoption models and theories (Roger's diffusion theory, Hall & Hord's Concerns Based Adoption Model, Moore's hypothesis for the possibility of a chasm, Gartner's hype cycle, Burkman's User Oriented Instructional Development (UOID) process, Stockdill & Morehouse' checklist of critical factors that facilitate adoption of innovations in educational settings including Uys' LASO model that guides the implementation of technology at UB and the outcome of personal interviews with three EduTech members and ten lecturers who are currently using eLearning in conjunction with face-to-face approaches, students at UB find it difficult to use blended learning. The discussions of the study will conclude by suggesting future directions for blended learning based on the literature review and findings of the study.
- Department of Computer Science
About Ezekiel Okike
- Ezekiel Okike currently works at the Department of Computer Science, University of Botswana. Ezekiel does research in Computer and Society.