06. Pan-Commonwealth Forum 6 (PCF6), 2010
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PublicationA Comparative Study between the Learners of Computer Science and Health Science of Bangladesh Open University( 2010-11)Success of distance education would be depended on how the policy makers’ are aware of the problems, needs, attitudes and characteristics of their learners. The present study tried to reflect the learners’ demographic status and a comparative analysis between the learners’ of DCSA and Nursing program of SST.
PublicationThe role of Open and Distance Learning in community development in Malawi( 2010-11)According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) 2007 report, deeply entrenched poverty is a major obstacle for development and growth in Malawi where about 8 million people (representing 70 percent of the total population) live below the national poverty line. Illiteracy is attributed as one of the major causes of this desperate situation. Lack of knowledge on the best practices in agriculture, health and sanitation, nutrition and sexuality has resulted into otherwise avoidable problems related to food insecurity at the household level, chronic malnutrition, escalation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and substandard health livelihood. The enhancement of ODL activities in Malawi could therefore improve standards of living for the rural poor.
PublicationEnhancing Teaching and Learning: Development of a New e-Learning Model at Open University Malaysia( 2010-11)Open University Malaysia (OUM) which was established in 2000 was the first open and distance learning (ODL) university in Malaysia. It has the unique status of a private university yet indirectly owned by the government through it shareholders, the first eleven Malaysian public universities. Having been in operation for more than 9 years, OUM has cumulatively enrolled about 95,000 learners, and has produced over 26,000 graduates. The growth of OUM is quite phenomenal, as indicated by the increase, not just in terms of student numbers but also in the number of programmes and learning centers. Nationwide, it has made its presence felt through 61 learning centres that are located at all major towns and cities across the country. // At the international level, OUM has been working with various foreign partners offering both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Thus far, OUM has collaborated with institutions from Yemen, Bahrain, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Ghana. To date, the total number of international learners has reached almost 2,000. // OUM, like any other universities, engages in a rapid process of change, particularly in areas that concern the quality of its graduates and their professional competencies. Quantity and quality are both important considerations as it seeks to continuously improve its services to its increasing number of learners. Learners have become increasingly diverse, bringing with them a variety of backgrounds and experiences. In its efforts to meet the challenges posed by this diversity, OUM has adopted a “flexible mode of delivery” through a “blended learning” approach. // The blended learning in OUM encompasses the face-to-face tutorials, online/e-learning learning and self-managed learning. The face-to-face tutorial allows learners to interact directly with their tutors in physical classrooms made available at the learning centres. The online/e-learning requires learners to learn through Internet, and it is supposed to augment the face-to-face interactions. Despite of the tremendous efforts directed at encouraging the use of e-learning, the usage, thus far is perhaps best described as not concerted, and its use rather superficial.
PublicationBarriers to Learning: The Difference Distance Learning can make in Namibia( 2010-11)This paper will address the barriers to learning, including innovative structures and strategies put in place to overcome such barriers, with specific reference to rural distance education students in the Namibian context. Access to quality learning has been compromised for many years prior to the country’s independence in 1990. Distance education, having been around for a long time, has seen changes, innovations and vast improvements that contribute to enhancing quality learning. If we are to find means to improve the situation, it will be vital that everyone understand the importance of education- that it is not merely a means to obtain status in society, but rather, that it is the responsibility that society owes to itself. // The Polytechnic of Namibia, through its Centre for Open and Lifelong Learning (COLL), has recently fulfilled this responsibility to the rural society of Namibia when it established a network of Regional Centres across Namibia that has the function of coordinating and facilitating all the necessary instructional and support services to address the needs of distance education students throughout their learning process and to give them the academic tools they need to overcome unnecessary barriers in order to succeed. There are various drawbacks on the part of those who would like to pursue their studies through distance learning. Despite the fact that decentralisation of the support services has taken place through the establishment of the Regional Centres, all areas in Namibia are not covered and students face limitations due to factors like distance from the Centres, and affordability. // Making studying through distance education possible for more Namibians will require funding to students who are economically disadvantaged. eLearning is one way to bridge the gap and ensure easier access to education. Students become more pro-active in their pursuit of studying towards their desired qualification once the facilities that support their learning are brought closer to them. // The support services on offer through COLL, and in particular through the Regional Centres, ensure that barriers such as distance and affordability are overcome. Students, prospective students and the public should be educated about the facilities on offer, and how these can support their learning. They can then be encouraged to pursue studying on distance, knowing they have a good chance to succeed. In this case study, the strategies implemented to establish a well-functioning Regional Centre with good logistics and reliable infrastructure as an integral part of the delivery of Open and Distance Learning (ODL), including the support provided to rural distance education students are put forward.
PublicationWinning the Niger Delta Battle’ Through Sustainable Community-Based Leaning and Outreach: The Challenge of Community Development in Nigeria’s Oil-Rich Region( 2010-11)This paper rests on the argument that the much touted sustainable development in the Niger Delta cannot take its proper root until there is mass tertiary education aimed at equipping the indigenous people of the area with appropriate knowledge and skills, which will complement the haphazardly implemented mass adult and literacy programmes that terminate at the basic literacy level (Secondary Education level). The paper posits that, given the peculiar volatile nature of the Niger Delta, occasioned by a combination of illiteracy, extreme poverty amidst plenty, ignorance on the side of both the government, the oil companies and host Niger Delta communities, poor situation analysis and employment of ill-suited panacea (such as handouts, paltry palliatives and violence) for resolving the seemingly intractable national embarrassment called the Niger Delta crisis, constructive introduction and support of community- driven mass oriented distance higher education, such as can be offered by the Open University System, could be the right first step to the gateway of stemming the crisis.