Designing to Promote Access, Quality, and Student Support in an Advanced Certificate Programme for Rural Teachers in South Africa


  • Jill W Fresen Oxford University, UK
  • Johan Hendrikz University of Pretoria



teaching education, materials development, electronic support, student engagement, exit level outcomes, learning outcomes, programme evaluation


This paper reports on the re-design of the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) programme, which is offered by the University of Pretoria through distance education (DE) to teachers in rural South Africa. In 2007, a team re-designed the programme with the goal of promoting access, quality, and student support. The team included an independent body, the South African Institute of Distance Education (SAIDE), and various education specialists. Training workshops for academics and a comprehensive internal and external review process contributed to the quality of the re-designed programme. Interactive web-based technologies were not included because of poor Internet connectivity; however, the authors note the use and potential of cell phone technology for DE programmes. Student support was enhanced by an additional short contact session, a capping assignment, a CD-ROM, and decentralised tutoring at contact venues. The programme was re-evaluated and approved in 2008, and the re-design methodology now guides similar projects.

Author Biographies

Jill W Fresen, Oxford University, UK

Dr Jill Fresen is a Senior Learning Technologist in the Learning Technologies Group at Oxford University. She has experience in the design and development of teaching and learning materials and training courses in various formats, as well as working with academics to integrate blended approaches to enhance teaching and learning. Her research interests include quality assurance of e-learning, client satisfaction, and more recently, the use of storytelling and podcasting to enhance attention and motivation.

Johan Hendrikz, University of Pretoria

Dr Johan Hendrikz is the Manager of the Unit for Distance Education at the University of Pretoria. He has experience in establishing, managing and administering distance education programmes for large numbers of student (particularly teachers) in rural areas. His research interest is the use of bulk SMS technology to enhance learning and student success for students in Africa who do not have internet access.



How to Cite

Fresen, J. W., & Hendrikz, J. (2009). Designing to Promote Access, Quality, and Student Support in an Advanced Certificate Programme for Rural Teachers in South Africa. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(4).