Are the Print Materials at The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) Replaceable? Analysis of its use Opportunities, Challenges and Future Prospects
Keywords:e-learning; Open and Distance Education; Broadcasting; ICT and Correspondence Education.
AbstractThis paper examines the opportunities, challenges and future prospects towards the phasing out of print study materials at OUT (The Open University of Tanzania). During 2011/12 academic year, the hard copies of study materials at OUT was replaced by soft copies. It is envisaged that e-learning facilitates the teaching-learning process with an array of channels and technologies, and has the potential to revolutionise instructional practices in educational institutions in both developed and developing countries. The study used both quantitative and qualitative approaches, to find out opportunities, challenges as well as future prospects as a result of phasing out print study materials at OUT. Ninety OUT students were sampled where by twenty of them were subjected to interview and the remaining seventy were administered to questionnaires. The results showed that the students were aware of the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) potentialities in teaching and learning hence willing to utilize the technology. However, some of the students were faced by challenges such as unreliable electricity particularly in rural areas, poor connectivity, inadequate ICT instruments such as computers to facilitate their learning and unreliable learner support services to mention a few. It is recommended that e-learning practices is important to be integrated into the pedagogical practices of OUT but print materials also remain relevant to support teaching and learning process to the distant learners. For that case, students should be facilitated with soft as well as hard copies to assist them in their academic career.