The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Patrick Seleta Ngoma

Completing degree programmes by distance learning

Patrick Seleta Ngoma
Department of Adult Education and Extension Studies, University of Zambia

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     Last modified: October 14, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/03/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland B
     (View Schedule)

Since the birth of the University in 1966, degree programs have never been offered entirely by distance learning. The trend has been that the students would complete first and second year courses by distance learning mode. Thereafter, it is compulsory that they transfer to full time to complete their studies.

The research sought to determine students’ motivation and attitudes towards completing studies entirely by distance learning mode.

The findings were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics such as tables, frequencies, percentages and mere counting. The sample of the study consisted of 27 distance education students (81.5% male and 18.5% female). Questionnaires were administered to the randomly selected students during the 2004 Residential School.

85% of the respondents expressed negative attitudes towards completion of the studies through this mode. They gave reasons like it would take too long to complete studies, degrees acquired would be inferior to those attained by full time studies etc. The few (15%) who expressed positive attitudes gave reasons like employers would not interfere in the studies, students would not lose their jobs and they would always be with their families.

The respondents, however, suggested effective strategies that would strengthen and improve the delivery of distance education by the current arrangement and/or any other like full use of university provincial centers, use of computer and the internet in the delivery of course materials, assignments, comments, etc.
It was hoped that the findings would benefit the University of Zambia administration, distance education students, employers and other stakeholders involved in the administration of distance education in Zambia.

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