Using an Online Technology Accessibility Strategy Towards a Leadership Programme for Professional Development at an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) University

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Corporate Author
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

Using an online technology accessibility strategy towards a leadership programme for professional development at an open and distance learning university is aligned to the sustainable development goal of Ensuring Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education and Promotion of Life-long Learning for All. This study determines perceptions and experiences of students regarding Master of Educational Leadership (MEdEL) programme, delivered using a blended teaching and learning approach. The sample consisted of 67 practicing educationists enrolled at Botswana Open University (BOU). A mixed methods approach was adopted for this study. Students were purposively sampled, interviewed and a survey administered to establish the extent to which using an online technological space through ODL integrated technology connectedness contributed to increased accessibility and training of MEdEL students. Key issues for data collection included experience regarding use of tablets, electronic content, general perceptions and experiences on internet connectivity, online support, online interaction with tutors and other students, and assessment. Progression at work due to the programme was another issue for data collection. Descriptive statistics and thematic interpretation were used for data analysis. Findings of the study revealed that students improved their technology competencies and accessed quality training that contributed to their professional development. Furthermore, findings suggested that using technology such as tablets to package content instead of print study materials encouraged students to learn. It emerged that students used tablets for various purposes including studying online, doing their assessment, submitting their written assignments, and receiving their marked assessments from tutors. Finally, it concluded that accessibility and integration of technology in the MEdEL programme enhanced teacher professional development positively. Their experiences revealed that they had not only developed as people, but also professionally. It is recommended that a longitudinal study be undertaken to further explore the impact of integrating technology to access learning and in professional teacher development in the entire country. // Paper ID 229

Open and Distance Learning (ODL),Professional Development,Online Learning