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Promoting student autonomy and lifelong learning skills through WebCTdiscussion tool: a case of University of Botswana Communication and Study Skills Unit

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Abstract

With the emergence of digital literacies, web based pedagogy has gained prominence in the 21st century in Universities the world over. Several research studies on online teaching confirm that it increases collaboration, interactivity and active learning of the learners. This paper shares first year students’ experiences of using WebCT discussion tool to promote self directed and active learning. Findings show that students noticed that the discussion tool was engaging, motivating and helped them develop active learning skills.The conclusion drawn is that the WebCT discussion forum is a useful tool that can actively engage all students in learning therefore could be used to help develop students’ autonomy and lifelong learning skills (LLL). For CSSU to realize its mandate it is recommended that more lecturers in the CSS unit engage learners in the use of WebCT communication tools especially the discussion forum in order to assist students develop among other communication skills; autonomy, collaboration and lifelong learning

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... The principle of learner empowerment lies behind the students' acceptance of the responsibility of their own learning (Çakıcı, 2015). Therefore, the facilitating role of a teacher is to empower students by encouraging student involvement and to help them gain lifelong learning skills (Ntereke, 2010). Empowerment involves freedom to learn and continue learning outside the teaching context (Merç, 2015); therefore, empowerment could allow students to become autonomous and independent learners. ...
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