Open and Distance Learning: Benefits and Challenges of Technology Usage for Online Teaching and Learning in Africa
Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is gaining prominence in African Universities. Universities in Africa use distance learning mode where materials are sent to learners, supplemented with a fewer contact sessions through study centers. With the advent of new technologies for teaching and learning, African Universities are also moving towards online teaching and learning. This paper presents the benefits and challenges associated with the use of technology in ODL mode in Botswana Higher Education context. Web based surveys were used to collect the data for this study. The study was carried out among the online lecturers and learners in two institutions of Higher Learning in Botswana. 9 experienced lecturers and 21 learners who had used technology for their ODL teaching and learning participated in this study. Findings indicate that, major benefits of using technology for online teaching and learning include interaction and student engagement; access to latest information; content sharing and communication. The major challenges faced are access of technology, affordability and technophobia. Emerging technologies recommended include Virtual learning platforms (Blackboard, Moodle, Edmodo, Schoology), Social networking platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp) and Content sharing software (Camtasia). The survey results will provide insightful guidelines to ODL lecturers, ODL learners and the institutions who are offering online learning modes of learning, especially in Africa. // Paper ID 530
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