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

Investigating the Lecturers' Challenges to Embrace Collaborative Web Technologies in Higher Education Institutions

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

Investigating the Lecturers' Challenges to Embrace Collaborative Web Technologies in Higher Education Institutions

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Embracing Collaborative Web Technologies (CWTs) has posed challenges for the Lecturers in Higher Education Institutions in Tanzania (Lwoga, 2012; Pima, et al., 2016). On the other hand, students of the HEIs have become the natives of the digital age desirous of using CWTs socially (Mtebe & Raphael, 2013; Deniz & Geyik, 2015; DeAndrea, et al., 2012). In a study by Hussain (2012) at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur Pakistan, about 90% of the students (n=600) used Facebook. Maglajlic and Gütl (2012) emphasized that the use of social networking sites can improve the students' academic performance. Additionally, learners in HEIs no longer access the web for information on the courses they take, but for creating collective knowledge through social interactions (Maloney, 2007; Mtebe, 2015). In that case the shared contents and active interactions have increased among and between learners and lecturers' due to the presence of CWTs. Equally important learners can put together pieces of information and share the information they gained with others (Lwoga, 2012).

However, little efforts have been done in the context of HEIs in Tanzania (Sife, et al., 2007; Lwoga, 2012; Mtebe & Raphael, 2013; Mtebe, 2015) to address the challenges facing Lecturers in embracing CWTs in learning and teaching. In that view, this paper sought to answer two research questions:

1. What are the challenges facing lecturers to embrace the use of the CWTs in learning and teaching in higher education in Tanzania?

2. How could the challenges be alleviated?

The case study designed, and the data collection methods discussed in section 5, enabled the authors to answer the above research questions. Furthermore, the paper contributes new knowledge about the actual and contextual challenges facing Lecturers when it comes to accepting CWTs willingly and enthusiastically using them in teaching and learning in HEIs. It further provides tested solutions, from the experiences of respondents, to the existing challenges. In the next section, a discussion on the reviewed literature is provided.

2. THE LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Overview

This section provides a discussion of both theoretical and empirical studies on the challenges facing lecturers to embrace CWTs in teaching and learning. The review discusses the challenges faced by lecturers throughout the revolution and evolution of the web. The discussion draws its premises in the higher education sector since web 1.0 when e-learning were common, and extends to the web 3.0 era when the web has become semantic and readable by both human and machines. The section's structure is aimed at first, conceptualizing the research problem, and, secondly, provide the state of the art of the challenges facing lecturers when embracing CWTs.

2.2 Three Technologies of the Web

The web has been around since 1990s after the proposal by Tim Berners-Lee to link all CERN researchers around the world to share information (Berners-Lee, et al., 1992). Since then, the CERN and Tim's efforts gave rise to the main three technologies of the web which have remained its pillars. According to (Berners-Lee, 2010) the three pillars of the web include the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP); the Universal Resource Identifier (URI); and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). These technologies made the web accessible to anyone from any place.

For the HTTP, the web technology protocols have four steps in data communication. First, opening a TCP connection to the web server; secondly, sending a request to the web server; thirdly, receiving a response from the web server (which includes the data of the requested web page); and fourthly, closing the connection (optional).

Secondly, the URI is a string of characters designed to identify a website resource over a computer network. The URI uses syntax and semantics for location and access of resources on the internet. The URL consists of the features in the following given order: the scheme name (commonly called protocol); a colon, two slashes; a host, normally given as a domain name but sometimes as a literal IP address; optionally a port number; and the full path of the resource. …

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