Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Administration's Perception about the Feasibility of Elearning Practices at the University of Guyana

Academic journal article International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology

Administration's Perception about the Feasibility of Elearning Practices at the University of Guyana

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

It is public knowledge that the traditional approach to learning and teaching is hinged on teachercontrolled practices and strategies: the teacher directs, and the student obeys and follows unquestioningly. Smith (2000) puts forth that this traditional scenario, even if it engages students, is theoretical, and does not foster emancipation or critical thinking. Most of the teaching is done solely via the face to face (F2F) mode. Those students who are able to attend the university campuses benefit from traditional F2F sessions. Those who cannot make it to campus would profit from traditional distance education (DE) print/correspondence. The changing scenes in higher education (HE) at the turn of this century (Biggs & Tang 2011) necessitated a restructuring of didactic practices to embrace student learning diversity and deep approaches to learning. "Since 2000 there have been dramatic changes in the nature of higher education. It is not just that participation rates are higher than ever [...], but that these and other factors have altered the main mission of higher education and modes of delivery" (Biggs & Tang 2011, p. 3).

With the growing use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in many settings, it was envisaged as a potential and viable resource for transforming educational practices, and for bridging the geographical divide which sought to prevent some students from obtaining access to education. With the passage of time, many universities in both developed and developing countries began experimenting with ICTs in different ways, paving the way for the promotion of elearning. According to Ally (2004, p. 5), elearning can be defined as "The use of the Internet to access learning materials to interact with the content, instructor and other learners [...]". As espoused by Brown (2005), elearning has caused significant improvements in student learning. Elearning is making significant in-roads in educational practices of many HE institutions. It has been asserted that elearning can cater to the many disadvantages evident in the traditional classroom practices (inflexibility of resources, for example), since it fosters a flexible learningteaching scenario (Lam & Bordia 2008; Williams & Williams 2010; Gyamfi & Gyaase 2015).

This is the peculiar situation which faces the University of Guyana (UG) which, to a large extent, still embraces traditional pedagogical practices. The situation is such that, despite this technology-dominated age, the 'chalk and talk' classroom practices are ubiquitous, where the teacher plays the role of the 'sage on the stage'. The sagely knowledge is given out in bits and pieces, and the students grasp whatever they can, if they can. Since elearning practices are now flourishing in a plethora of HE institutions across the globe, it is imperative for the UG, through its administrative body, to take cognisance of these rapid changes in the education landscape. It must be established that learners are being prepared for a world in which technology is increasing the speed of innovation and change, but they are being prepared by education systems that are not oriented towards rapid change in the way they are managed and operated. Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) (Laurillard 2012) could help education adapt to a world that is rapidly changing in response to technology. Sounds educational practices and effective educational leadership could create and sustain the environment necessary to embrace student learning diversity.

BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

Of the many goals contained in the UG's Strategic Plan 2009-2012 (UG 2009), one of them is "To achieve higher quality learning and teaching aligned with expanded national needs, especially in science and technology" (p. 28). Unfortunately, the UG's administration is not making good on its promise to provide "higher quality learning and teaching" to its students. This is evident, given that traditional forms of learning and teaching at that institution are still espoused (traditional F2F instruction and traditional distance education [DE] by print/correspondence) (Livingstone 2013a). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.