Perceptions of Participants on the Certificate Course for Distance Education Practitioners: Botswana Case Study

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Masalela, R. K.
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
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PCF5: Cross-Cutting Theme // This study qualitatively examined through case study, how the certificate in distance education for practitioners (CDEP) offered by the University of South Africa (UNISA) has helped or hindered the development of skills amongst the group. Specifically the study 1. Explored the skills that practitioners have developed from the course 2. Explored the benefits of the course to practitioners and how these benefits have impacted their performance 3. Identified challenges that practitioners faced when participating in CDEP 4. Identify new ways that could be used for teaching young people in Open schooling A case study enabled the researcher to gain a deep understanding of the practitioners’ perceptions on the program thus determining its relevance and significance to their jobs in particular and their skills development in general. The findings of this study will inform both the Center for Continuing Education (CCE) and Botswana College of Open and Distance Education on the relevance of the course and whether their staff members should continue to take it. The findings will further inform the Botswana government in advancing its long term vision 2016 of “an educated, informed nation.” The proposed study had thirty one participants some of which have completed the course while others are still registered and some dropped out. However, only thirteen were interviewed due to time constraints. The study is ongoing. Interviews lasted twenty to thirty minutes. The interviews consisted of semi-structured questions. All interviews were done face-to-face. Data was analyzed through constant comparison methods. The preliminary findings of this study revealed four themes: poor course management, learner support services, relevance and desirability and lack of course completion monitoring. // Paper ID 118
Distance Education, Professional Development, Teacher Education