Challenges and Opportunities of Technology Based Instruction in Open and Distance Learning: A Comparative Study of Tanzania and China
Nyandara, Zamzam I
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This paper presents challenges and opportunities of technology based instruction in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions particularly at the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and Center for Continuing and Distance Education (CCDE -China). The paper developed out of a cross sectional survey design study with a mixed approach of qualitative and quantitative methods to collect and analyze data. A total of 144 (83-OUT; 61-CCDE) respondents from both institutions were involved in the study with a subpopulation of students, instructors and technical staffs. Main data instrument was questionnaire followed by focus group discussion. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS v.17, whereas qualitative data were reduced into main themes and reported accordingly. The findings revealed that CCDE institution is far better than OUT in the practice of technology based instruction due to some favorable conditions that support technology based instruction. Either, OUT instructors, have better access to computer and internet than their students although despite the access, instructors are not active initiators and implementers of technology based instruction and learning. Generally, participants from both institutions have positive attitude and even acknowledged the opportunities of using technology in ODL. There are some challenges which seem to affect both institutions although at a varied extent, OUT being at a stake than CCDE. The paper concluded by suggesting that OUT should opt some of the CCDE strategy to successfully implement e-learning. In addition, the use of blended technology is crucial in increasing the access to e-learning materials especially under situations like slow internet or lack of internet connectivity.