Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Web 2.0 Technologies Application in Teaching and Learning by Makerere University Academic Staff

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Web 2.0 Technologies Application in Teaching and Learning by Makerere University Academic Staff

Article excerpt

1.Background

According to Thomas and Thomas (2012), over the last three decades rapid growth and development has occurred in the area of information and communication technologies (ICT). Particularly in the last decade, the growth in prominence of social media and Web 2.0 technologies has had a dramatic impact globally on how people communicate (Thomas and Thomas, 2012). Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Renren have the potential to become important disruptive technologies (Christensen 1997; Mutula, 2013) for building cutting-edge models of management education. Fleck (2007) however notes that to date applications of ICT have stimulated developments in e-learning more as support mechanisms than disruptive technologies.

These learning enhancements have typically involved Microsoft Office tools (e.g. Power Point), e-mail and more innovative applications such as online interactive web chats, specific interest forums, streaming video, electronic conferencing and Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol systems, e.g. Skype and "blended learning" programmes (Hawawini 2005). Essentially, these technologies have encouraged a more flexible learning approach to take place across various "touch points", i.e. the classroom, off campus, within the workplace and virtually anywhere with internet access. This distance "blended" learning approach initially occurred within the fields of executive education and lifelong learning within faculties. Globally, many academicians are embracing the utilization of web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning. The rapid penetration and use of these technology platforms is also being driven by the rise of affordable handsets (Mutula, 2013). However, with the erratic power supply; poor internet connectivity, poor ICT infrastructure etc in African Countries, it difficult to know whether academia have adopted the utilization of web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning. It is against this background and doubts that this study was instituted to establish the utilization of web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning at Makerere University.

1.1 Problem Statement

Makerere University is the oldest and premier University in Uganda. In the recent webometrics ranking (August, 2013), Makerere was ranked 4th in Africa by August 2013 (Cybernetics Lab, 2013). Makerere University is an institution in a continuous state of transformation. According to Tusubira (2007), one of the adopted strategies in this transformation is the integration of ICT in all the university academic and administrative functions. The planning phase of this project started during the early part of 2000 and up to now there is remarkable adoption to the utilization of ICT in Makerere University with 24 hours and seven days access to Internet services. There is a fully established Directorate of ICT in the university that supports the University functions by ensuring that there is full-time Internet services. With the availability of these services, one would expect academic staff to adopt the use of web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning given that the current generation of students is the IT savvy generation. Unfortunately, through interaction with many staff and students, we realized that some staff members were not utilizing web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning in the University. According to Makerere University Annual Report (2013), there is a steady improvement in the use of e-learning platform. Unfortunately, this report makes no mention at all of any adoption of web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning in the University. This therefore prompted us to make a University wide investigation into the utilization of the web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning with the guidance of the following objectives:

i. Determine the awareness and use of web 2.0 technologies for teaching and learning in the university

ii. Establish the opinion of academic staff towards web 2. …

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