Increasing Access to Higher Education Through Open and Distance Learning: Empirical Findings From Mzuzu University, Malawi
Slowly but surely, open and distance learning (ODL) programmes are being regarded as one of the most practical ways that universities across the world are increasingly adopting in order to increase access to university education. Likewise, Mzuzu University (MZUNI) set up the Centre for Open and Distance Learning (CODL) to oversee the running of these programmes in 2011. In this study, we adopted the Transactional Distance Theory (Moore, 1997) to investigate the modes of instructional systems, benefits or opportunities, and the challenges associated with the delivery of ODL programmes at MZUNI. By self-administering a questionnaire to 350 ODL students and 9 Heads of Department in the Faculty of Education whose programmes are offered through ODL, we found that instructions are mostly delivered to students through print-based instructional materials. The major benefits noted include increased access to quality higher education, affordable tuition fees, and flexibility in payment of fees. However, we established some challenges which need to be addressed by the University which include, delayed feedback of assignments and release of end of semester examination results, absence of information for courses of study, poor communication between the Centre and departments, and poor remuneration for lecturers.
Copyright (c) 2016 Winner Dominic Chawinga, Paxton Andrew Zozie
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.