The applicability of international benchmarks to an internet-based distance education programme at the University of Stellenbosch

Herman, Nicoline (2001-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The publication of the Report of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) in 1996, the White Paper on Higher Education (1997) and the Size and Shape Report (2000) has profoundly changed the landscape of Higher Education in South Africa. Institutions of Higher Education have to re-think, among others, their teaching and learning strategies including the integration and use of technology. Although the use of technology in higher education is still in the early stages, the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is growing rapidly. The University of Stellenbosch started to integrate the Internet in their teaching in 1998. Research was undertaken to find a suitable on-line course management system and Web Course Tools (WebCT) was chosen for this purpose. Since it was implemented, the use of WebCT has grown exponentially, although in most cases only as an add-on to classroom lectures. The World Health Organisation (WHO) Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care programme was the first programme developed as a full distance education course, delivered completely by means of WebCT and making use of the team approach to programme development. This programme was therefore chosen as the case study for this research. The purpose of this study is to apply 24 internationally developed benchmarks for quality on-line distance education to the WebCT component of the WHO programme in order to determine the applicability of these benchmarks for World Wide Web (WWW) programmes at the University of Stellenbosch. The research strategy for this study is a qualitative case study. Qualitative data was obtained by conducting semi-structured interviews with the individuals involved in the design, development and implementation of the WHO course. The study concludes that the 24 benchmarks cannot be applied to the current University of Stellenbosch context. The systems at the US will either have to be adapted, or established to meet the requirements of the international benchmarks. Another option for the US could be to develop their own benchmarks, taking international guidelines into account.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die publikasie van die Nasionale Kommissie vir Hoër Onderwys se verslag in 1996, die Witskrif vir Hoër Onderwys 1997 en die onlangse "Size and Shape" Verslag, het die scenario vir Hoër Onderwys in Suid-Afrika onherroeplik verander. Hoër Onderwys instellings is besig om, onder andere, die strategieë wat leer en onderrig bevorder, in heroorweging te neem en dit sluit die integrasie of gebruik van tegnologie as een van die belangrikste punte in. Alhoewel die gebruik van tegnologie in Suid-Afrika nog in 'n beginstadium is, groei die gebruik hiervan ongekend. Die Universiteit van Stellenbosch het sedert 1998 begin om die Internet in leer en onderrig te benut. Navorsing is gedoen oor 'n geskikte elektroniese kursusbestuurstelsel en die keuse het op "Web Course Tools (WebCT)" geval. Sedert die implementering hiervan het die gebruik eksponensiële groei beleef. In die meeste gevalle word WebCT bykomend tot klaskameronderrig gebruik. Die "World Health Organisation (WHO) Mental Health Disorders in Primary Care" programme was een van die eerste, volledige afstandsonderwysprogramme wat van die spanbenadering tot programontwikkeling gebruik gemaak het. Die program is daarom ook as gevallestudie vir hierdie navorsing gekies. Die doel van hierdie navorsing is om 24 internasionale kriteria vir kwaliteit Internet afstandsonderrig, toe te pas op die WebCT komponent van die bogenoemde WHO kursus, ten einde te bepaal of die kriteria toepaslik is vir Internetkursusse binne die Universiteit van Stellenbosch konteks. Die navorsingstrategie wat aangewend is om die doel van hierdie navorsing te bereik, is 'n kwalitatiewe gevallestudie. Kwalitatiewe data is verkry deur semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met die persone te voer wat betrokke was by die ontwerp, ontwikkeling en implementering van die WHO program. Die afleidings wat deur hierdie studie gemaak word, is dat die 24 kriteria nie toepaslik is vir die huidige Universiteit van Stellenbosch konteks nie. Die US sal dus die huidige sisteme moet verander of sisteme vestig ten einde aan internasionale standaarde te voldoen. 'n Ander opsie sou wees om 'n eie stel kriteria, gebaseer op die internasionale kriteria, te ontwikkel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52484
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