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Distance Education- Emerging Technologies and Opportunities in Africa

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Distance Education- Emerging Technologies and Opportunities in Africa

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This slides are from my keynote at the Inaugural symposium of the Global African Diaspora Development Network seminar at the University of Oklahoma. Oct 16, 2015

This slides are from my keynote at the Inaugural symposium of the Global African Diaspora Development Network seminar at the University of Oklahoma. Oct 16, 2015

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Distance Education- Emerging Technologies and Opportunities in Africa

  1. 1. Distance Education in Africa: Promise and Practice Terry Anderson, PhD. Professor Emeritus Athabasca University – Canada’s Open university
  2. 2. Presentation Outline • What is Distance Education • Does it work? Does it save money? • Current developments in African DE • Your comments • 3 generations of DE pedagogy and technology (time permitting)
  3. 3. What is Distance Learning? • Access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both. (Keegan and Wikipedia) • Distance Education involves a formal instructional usually capable of issuing certificates and degrees
  4. 4. From Distance Educ. to: • E-learning, • Online learning, • Open & flexible learn. • Distributed learning • Blended learning
  5. 5. Types of Distance Learning and Education Tauranga Moana Learning Community NZ
  6. 6. Paced Versus Un-paced DE Models • Paced – – Familiar from Campus model – Fits institutional schedule(s) and services • Un-paced – Maximizes student freedom – Maximizes teacher freedom – Procrastinators heaven, lower completion rates – Develops independent learners – Challenges with Examinations
  7. 7. Distance Education Promises DE will bring the following benefits: 1. Increased enrolment which will improve the financial viability of the institution 2. It is an opportunity for faculty development and allows lecturers to experiment with new pedagogies and techniques 3. Increase in staff income through module writing and creation of online course sites 4. Gives faculties a chance to revive courses which are not popular on campus Momentum to Distance Education Initiative at Africa University Zimbabwe, 2014
  8. 8. Memes of Distance Education • Achieving a more open society – Equalizing opportunity for all – Allowing open access to information • Competing Memes – Efficiency of private enterprise – Opportunities for entrepreneur exploitation (ie MOOCs, High Dropouts, more ads than substance) – Neo-liberal privatization dogma Latchem, C. (2014). Musing on the memes of open and distance education. Distance Education, 35(3), 400-409.
  9. 9. • “an injustice to make underprepared and poor students believe that DE is their salvation whilst at the same time forcing providers and institutions to accommodate the fallout from such an assignment” Heydenrych, J. (2015) Heydenrych, J. (2015). Education (Im) Possible: Reconsidering the Contribution of Distance Education in South Africa. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (AJHSS), 3(2).
  10. 10. Africa in 4-6 years?? 2014 USA Figures • 18.6 million college students taking an online course • About 5.5 million of these students are studying partially or fully online – most are “on-campus students”. • Competition for these online students is increasing - 421 institutions launched online programs for the first time in 2014 Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2015). Online college students 2015: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
  11. 11. Not Everyone Loves Synchronous • “How often would you be willing to log in at a specific time to join a required discussion or virtual lecture with your instructor and classmates?” – 21% percent responded “never,” but – 15% responded “more than five times per course.” Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2015). Online college students 2015: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
  12. 12. DE is “cost sensitive” • Forty-five percent of respondents to the 2014 US survey reported that they selected the most inexpensive institution. Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2015). Online college students 2015: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
  13. 13. Not all Students or Teachers Embrace Distance Education • “I paid for a real, campus education” • “I would never finish if I started an online degree • “I got into teaching because I like the classroom” • “It may be OK for other subjects, but my subject requires Face-to-face contact.” • “It is way to much work and takes too long”
  14. 14. DE is not chosen because campus education is not available! • When asked if they would attend on-campus classes if their program was not available online, – about 30% said they probably or definitely would not – 25 % said they would not attend a hybrid or low- residency program
  15. 15. Students prefer different types of DE Clinefelter, D. L., & Aslanian, C. B. (2015). Online college students 2015: Comprehensive data on demands and preferences. Louisville, KY: The Learning House, Inc.
  16. 16. • “A new medium can empower and liberate you, if you let it. But if you try and colonize it - if you try to cram your magazine through a phone jack and call yourself interactive - you'll get nowhere. Because you will not have thought through what it means to be interactive.” – Barry Diller February, 1995 edition of Wired,
  17. 17. Challenges of DE – beyond Technology • “Current research into distance education has focused on the process as a western social/cultural/educational construct, (Barker and Dickson, 1996; Bork, 1993). • Distance learning, by its very nature, involves more than just the transmission of information, but also the transmission of cultural/social paradigms between and among the participants.” DARKWA, Osei; MAZIBUKO, Fikile. Creating virtual learning communities in Africa: Challenges and prospects. First Monday, [S.l.], may. 2000. ISSN 13960466. Available at:
  18. 18. Is it really cheaper? • “currently DE is subsidized at only 50% of the amount for contact students with master’s and doctoral degrees excluded” (De Villiers, 2009, South Africa). ….. It all depends
  19. 19. Cost Efficiencies – Industrial Model Production Media Designers Distance Learning Centers High Fixed Costs – Low per student costs
  20. 20. Current E-Learning Model Low Fixed Costs – Higher per-student costs Image Source: http://nabeeloo.com/2013/02/teaching-problems-teaching-online-is-different/ NOT Scaleable
  21. 21. Disruptive Technologies Archer, W., Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (1999). Adopting disruptive technologies in traditional universities: Continuing education as an incubator for innovation. Canadian Journal for University Continuing Education, 25(1), 13-30.
  22. 22. Critical Assumptions -True?? • Technology-enhanced DE is the answer to quality delivery • Open learning is inherent to DE • Student support can be affordable and effective for a very diverse audience; • Throughput challenges can be overcome • DE is more affordable Heydenrych, J. (2015). Education (Im) Possible: Reconsidering the Contribution of Distance Education in South Africa. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences (AJHSS), 3(2).
  23. 23. Growth in Demand For Higher Education in Africa • Uganda enrolments grew from 20,000 in 2001 to close to 180,000 in 2011 (Musisi, 2003) . • Ethiopia from 79,000 in 1991 to more than 600,000 students in the higher education system in 2012 (Teferra, 2014) • Kenya State Univ. enrolments risen by 41% in two years – from 195,428 in 2012 to 276,349 by the end of 2013 (Nganga, 2014). WoldeveM., & Sehoole, M. C. (2015). Access to Quality Postgraduate Education through Distance Education in Ethiopia: The Case of Indira Gandhi National Open University. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 5(1), 159
  24. 24. Failure to Meet Growth Demands • “84.7% to 94.8% of the candidates seeking admissions every year never got admitted into Nigerian universities”. Aluede and Idogho (2012)
  25. 25. Recent African Developments
  26. 26. African Virtual University
  27. 27. Kenya based NGO delivering courses on and “off grid”
  28. 28. Distance Education Theological Training
  29. 29. Private operators
  30. 30. • South Africa - distance education has become a vital part of the university sub-system, – 40% of headcount students – 30% of FTE students White Paper for Post School Education and Training System (2014) the Department of Higher Education and Training ISSN 2239-978
  31. 31. WoldeveM., & Sehoole, M. C. (2015). Access to Quality Postgraduate Education through Distance Education in Ethiopia: The Case of Indira Gandhi National Open University. Journal Mega Open Universities
  32. 32. African Council for Distance Education Member Institutions as at 20th March 2013 Total number 39 institutions
  33. 33. Slide from Aguti, N (2014) Commonwealth of Learning Internet & Education: Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa
  34. 34. https://youtu.be/h4OBclZjSxU
  35. 35. From http://www.siyavula.com/technology-approach.html
  36. 36. Technology to Scale – Massive, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs)
  37. 37. Cost Efficiencies – MOOC Model Production Media Designers High Fixed Costs – Low per student costs
  38. 38. Slide from Aguti, N (2014) Commonwealth of Learning Internet & Education: Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa
  39. 39. OpenEducationEuropa.en
  40. 40. Ubuntunet Alliance: Solutions • Mbale, Kadzamina, Martin & Kyalo (2015) A Collaborative Research Platform for Sharing of Technological Tools for Eradication of Brain Drain The project will promote two strategies. 1. creation of linkages and networks among experts in the Diaspora and those in the home country. 3. mobility schemes under which professionals will relocate to their home countries for short term teaching and research assignments. OR teach via Distance Education!
  41. 41. Summary • Distance Education is no magic bullet to solve long standing educational challenges • DE has proven potential to increase access, and decrease costs- IF applied effectively • Context, challenges and opportunities in serious flux! • All of us need to develop our personal network literacies. www.irrodl.org
  42. 42. Athabasca University Press Open Access - Issues in Distance Education series Aupress.ca
  43. 43. Summary • Distance Education CAN be affordable and is expanding access in Africa and globally • It is NOT a universal solution to all educational challenges • It can be done well – or done poorly • Provides opportunity and incentive for change and innovation in both public and private sectors • It is NOT dependent on any single technology • It can be a powerful tool for increasing the impact of the African diaspora.
  44. 44. Terry Anderson terrya@athabascau.ca Blog: terrya.edublogs.org Your comments & questions most welcomed! Slides available:

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