The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Senani Rajamanthri

Student expectations of classroom sessions at the Open University of Sri Lanka – ODL or conventional?

Senani Rajamanthri
Department of Management Studies, The Open University of Sri Lanka

Kanchana Bulumulle
Department of Social Studies, The open University of Sri lanka

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     Last modified: October 29, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/03/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland B
     (View Schedule)

In most distance learning institutions, face to face contact sessions form a component of the student support services provided to learners. This study focuses on student expectations of classroom sessions conducted by five different departments at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL). It attempts to identify student expectations of classroom sessions and the reasons underlying them.
The methodology employed is qualitative; the data collection technique is in-depth interviews inclusive of a probing interview protocol. The interview protocol includes a combination of structured, unstructured and open ended questions.
The subjects include asample of final year undergraduates in five different degree programmes. Data analysis is done using qualitative content analysis methods to determine similarities, difference, recurring regularities, and patterns of data.
Five categories of expectations emerged through data. They are expectations regarding the content, teacher effectiveness, social needs, day-schools structure and physical infra-structure facilities. Students assign a great deal of importance to classroom interactive sessions. Organization of informal small group discussion sessions by students themselves is also a common practice. Very high dependency by students on classroom sessions stems from a severe lack of orientation to the Distance education system and further aggravated by limitations in the instructional material and constraints for self study. Tutor effectiveness, the day-school structure and infra structure facilities are noted as significant in conducting effective sessions.

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