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Journal Article

Implementing Blended Learning at a Developing University: Obstacles in the way  pp101-110

Mswazi Tshabalala et al

© Feb 2014 Volume 12 Issue 1, ICEL2013, Editor: Dan Remenyi, pp1 - 125

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Abstract

Abstract: Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are striving to provide effective learning experiences to address the needs of the digitally‑oriented generation of learners. Blended learning has emerged as a solution to address these needs and has been a dopted by various HEIs. However, not all academic staff members adopt blended learning when it is introduced by their institutions. Although this teaching and learning approach offers various advantages to academic staff, negative perceptions held by acad emic staff may affect its adoption.The purpose of this case study was to investigate the perceptions academic staff have about blended learning and to identify challenges facing academic staff that affected the adoption of blended learning in a Faculty of Education at a developing university in South Africa. The study employed the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) developed by Davis (1993) and the Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) by Rogers (1983: 246‑250) in a qualitative exploratory research de sign. The investigation made use of focus group interviews with lecturers and individual interviews with heads of academic departments, as well as the dean of the Faculty. Data gathered pointed to various perceptions and practical problems hindering acade mic staff from adopting blended learning. Amongst these were perceptions pertaining to e‑learning or blended learning policy, faculty support by management, computer skills of students and lecturers, as well as inadequate access for students to computers. This research is unique in that it applies known knowledge in the new context of a small South African university, which is a developing community. Lessons learned from this study will make a contribution to knowledge in the field of higher education, an d will help developing universities to benefit from the research.

 

Keywords: Keywords: blended learning, adoption, academic staff, perceptions, challenges, developing university

 

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Journal Article

Hypermedia Reading Materials: Undergraduate Perceptions and Features Affecting their Reading Comprehension  pp116-125

Nurul Adila Hamdan, Maslawati Mohamad, Shahizan Shaharuddin

© May 2017 Volume 15 Issue 2, Editor: Rikke Ørngreen and Karin Levinsen, pp105 - 198

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Abstract

Due to the potential of the Internet and blended learning environment, students, especially L2 learners, are often required to read references available online. A study was conducted to identify the perceptions of L2 learners comprising TESL undergraduates towards TESL‑related hypermedia reading materials and the factors contributing to their reading comprehension. This case study involved eleven third‑year undergraduate TESL students enrolled in a course called ‘Teaching of Reading Skills in an ESL Context’. Data was collected using Think Aloud Protocol, semi‑structured interviews, and reflective notes. The findings of this study revealed various participants’ perceptions regarding hypermedia reading materials. Among the factors that improved their reading comprehension include the design of the hypermedia materials and content in terms of the manner in which information was displayed. The participants highlighted the difficulties associated with reading long hypertexts and expressed preference for texts which come in point‑form format. Other features cited as being helpful in their reading were the inclusion of pictures, tables, diagrams, audio materials, and videos along with the text. Some other features included hyperlinks and glossaries provided by the websites that the students found beneficial in helping them understand the text. Other less favorable aspects of reading hypermedia materials included advertisements on the websites, easy access to social media websites, and poor Internet connection and bandwidth speed. These were reported to affect the reading process in such a way that they distracted the participants’ concentration, and this ultimately affected reading comprehension to a certain degree. It is hoped that these findings could provide insights for course developers in developing or selecting websites to suit their teaching and learning purposes.

 

Keywords: TESL students’ perceptions, hypermedia reading materials, reading comprehension.

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 15 Issue 2 / May 2017  pp105‑198

Editor: Rikke Ørngreen, Karin Levinsen

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Keywords: active learning, higher education, student learning, student engagement, online course design and development, interdisciplinary collaboration, frustrations, TESL students’ perceptions, hypermedia reading materials, reading comprehension, virtual containers, STEAM, Open Educational Resources, content distribution platforms, e-learning platform, foreign languages, multilingualism, idiomatic competence, e-learning; global health education; connectivity; bandwidth management; capacity building; educational technologies, Clicker technology, Facebook, and Wiley Plus, Web-based homework, behavioral intention, cognitive load, germane load, e-learning, instructional design, MOOC, online community, Computer Mediated Communication (CMC), Communities of Practice (CoPs), nonverbal communication

 

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