Student Support at The Open University Of Tanzania (OUT) for the Past 20 Years
AbstractThe study reported in this article discusses student support at The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) for the past 20 years. The study uses descriptive survey research design to examine student support at OUT for the past 20 years as perceived by lecturers and students. Interview questions and analysis of email correspondences of a sample of 7 lecturers and 64 students at OUT were conducted. Findings indicate that student support at OUT has evolved from typically traditional to a technology-enhanced student support. Specifically, student support at OUT was typically traditional during the first decade characterized by limited application of ICTs as a result of poor ICT infrastructure; dominant use of print study materials, regularly organized face-to-face sessions, delays in delivery of print study materials, lack of regular communication and interactions and lack of immediate feedback to students. According to lecturers and students the second decade has witnessed improvement in student support in terms of timely delivery of courses (through CDs and MOODLE LMS), access to learning resources (through OUTâ€™s website and Portals of other universities) and communication and interactions between lecturers and students (through e-mails). It is recommended that a comprehensive large scale empirical study is conducted to investigate the impact of improvements in ICT on students retention, graduation rate and student academic performance.
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