Conference Paper

A Case Study : E-learning Comparing UNISA's SAKAI and DUT's Blackboard

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E-learning refers to the use of electronic media and information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. The E-Learning and more specifically Online learning using SAKAI has become the corner stone of the University of South Africa (UNISA) strategy to implement online teaching and learning and the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has the Blackboard (BB) platform. A study was conducted to implement blackboard online classrooms before the official launch at DUT. The approach used was a combination of face-to-face contact lectures and the uploading of blackboard course material. The study was conducted with IT students who were computer literate in online learning techniques. Two online classrooms were registered and students were enrolled to download course material and receive announcements. Access to the classroom was during lecture periods and under the supervision of the lecturer. Whilst the BB classroom initial served a repository function, the findings and experiences of the students and instructor demonstrates the capabilities of implementing Blackboard to supplement face-to-face lecturing. The study further compares and contrasts UNISA's implementation of the SAKAI platform. The results have consequences for the greater DUT academic community who wish to implement BB to supplement and complement their teaching and learning. An important aspect was the academic support functions to students and instructors from staff outside of the IT ambit. It is recommended that before the implementation of BB, staff and students receive an induction and orientation to the BB platform; furthermore it is recommended that teaching content should not become a data repository, it should be the starting point to developing a student's critical role in accessing online content.

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