Accessibility and Use of Internet Learning Environment by Distance Education Students: A Case Study of the Open University of Tanzania

Marwa , Anthoni (2010) Accessibility and Use of Internet Learning Environment by Distance Education Students: A Case Study of the Open University of Tanzania. Masters thesis, The Open University of Tanzania.

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Distance education institutions are moving towards adoption and use of Internet learning environment for complementary learning, for which is a reflection of changes in use of teaching/learning technologies. Because of its immediacy of interaction, Internet technology is increasingly being accepted as a good information resource as well as good instructional media. It was for this reason that the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) developed own web site and hoisted the Learning Management Platforms as well as Internet access points for students.This study was aimed at investigating accessibility and use of such Internet learning environments by Distance education students of the Open University of Tanzania. This was a descriptive study, which used purposive sampling procedures to draw a total of 84 respondents: 2 system administrators, 2 OUT Directors and 80 OUT students from the three Dar es Salaam regional centers. The same sample was used to draw 27 Focus Group Discussion participants. The study sought to discuss students' perceptions on their competence level in using Internet facilities, availability of Internet services, training and perceived major barriers in using same services. The study used the following data collection methods: observations, a questionnaire, interview and focus group discussions. Results revealed: lack of computer skills, which was found to be most significant, demographic factors and information processing skills. Among demographic influences, gender was the most leading influences while distance was the fourth most significant influence. However, age and income were found to have no significant influence as expected. The study provides the following recommendations: There should be provision of further training for students in computer use and information processing skills, Information Technology experts should be trained and there have to be Internet rooms appropriate to students' needs. Further studies should asses use of various Internet services for students learning through distance education; ascertain faculty acceptance including use of Internet Integrated teaching; investigate in detail accessibility as well as use of Internet learning environments for different courses. Policy issues should enhance ways on how OUT could collaborate with other universities in East Africa to purchase a greater volume of bandwidth, which will lower marginal costs of that bandwidth. Other measures include introducing computer courses in schools and institute modalities for OUT students to acquire their personal computers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: 600 Technology > 600 Technology (Applied sciences)
Divisions: Institute of Continuing Education > Department of Professional Studies and Continuing Education
Depositing User: Mr. Administrator OUT
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2011 12:11
Last Modified: 24 May 2017 14:06

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