The use of information and communication technology in supervising open and distance learning PhD students

  • Promise Zvavahera Reformed Church University, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
  • Fine Masimba Catholic University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe
Keywords: information and communication technology, open and distance learning, supervision

Abstract

Even though open and distance learning (ODL) using Information and Communication Technologies can be applied across disciplines and at various levels, this paper focuses on the supervision of PhD students studying through the Open and Distance Learning mode of education using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Taking into account the fact that higher education institutions are always striving to increase the quality of supervision and throughput of doctoral programmes, the study highlights how Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can mitigate these challenges. The study was carried out in 10 Zimbabwean universities to evaluate the levels of preparedness of universities, supervisors and PhD students in using information and communication technology during their studies. Purposive sampling was used focusing on PhD students studying through ODL, local universities offering PhD programmes experienced, PhD supervisors, the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education officials and officials from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development. Students, universities and supervisors were not fully prepared to do their work using ICTs due to various reasons. Some of the reasons given were that some universities did not have the required infrastructure and facilities in place. Some of the supervisors and students lacked basic computer skills and this affected the quality of supervision and slowness in giving feedback. The lack of internet availability and poor connectivity were also cited as challenges especially with the prevailing load shedding. The study recommends universities to invest in ICTs infrastructure since higher education transcends geographical boundaries.

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Published
2019-09-30
How to Cite
Zvavahera, P., & Masimba, F. (2019). The use of information and communication technology in supervising open and distance learning PhD students. Ukrainian Journal of Educational Studies and Information Technology, 7(3), 32-41. https://doi.org/10.32919/uesit.2019.03.04