Friday, 19 March 2010

Near death of costly African Virtual University

Use of ICT and computer assisted teaching and learning is not always proving to be a shortcut to success, especially in settings which are not properly prepared. Below is a recipe for disaster, a list to be noted - ending with a call to adopt use of proven technologies like school TV and radio as important and cost-effective means of fostering development.

: The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 10, No 4 (2009), ISSN: 1492-3831

Teaching and Learning Against all Odds: A Video-Based Study of Learner-to-Instructor Interaction in International Distance Education

September 2009, By Jean-Marie Muhirwa Education Specialist, 
Equitas--International Centre for Human Rights Education

Distance education and information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been marketed as cost-effective ways to rescue struggling educational institutions in developing countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study uses classroom video analysis and follow-up interviews with teachers, students, and local tutors to analyse the interaction at a distance between learners in Mali and Burkina Faso and their French and Canadian instructors.
Findings reveal multiple obstacles to quality interaction:
• frequent Internet disconnections
• limited student access to computers
• lack of instructor presence
• ill-prepared local tutors
• student unfamiliarity with typing and computer technology
• ineffective technical support
• poor social dynamics
• learner-learner conflict
• learner-instructor conflict
• and student withdrawal and resignation.
In light of the near death of the costly World Bank-initiated African Virtual University (AVU), this paper concludes by re-visiting the educational potential of traditional technologies, such as radio and video, to foster development in poor countries.
Full article here

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