International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research

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International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Research


Policy Guidelines and Challenges in Quality Assurance in Distance Learning in Kenyan Public Universities

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Author(s) Betty Mayeku, Odera Florence
On Pages 360-369
Volume No. 1
Issue No. 8
Issue Date December 01, 2011
Publishing Date December 01, 2011
Keywords Distance Learning, Policy Guidelines, Quality Assurance, Universities



Abstract

The concept of Distance Learning (DL) has been embraced by schools, colleges and universities around the world. Distance Learning is causing a revolution in higher education in Kenya. The country is opting for Distance Learning models in order to help meet growing demands for higher education places and meet the country’s national development goals within diminishing resources. However, there has been a problem in that many Kenyans still remain skeptical not only about the concept of distance learning but also about the potential quality of the programmes. The purpose of this study was to examine the existing standards and mechanisms put in place to ensure quality in DL in Kenyan public universities with a focus on the practices and processes of quality assurance in the core functions of all DL programmes. The objectives of the study were: to find out the policies and guidelines governing quality assurance in Distance Learning, to evaluate the extent to which the DL programmes fulfill the set quality assurance objectives and to identify the major issues confronting the successful adoption and sustained use of these mechanisms. The study focused on the fundamental features of the institutional operations which include: Institution mission, institution organizational structure, institution resources, curriculum and instruction, academic staff qualification and faculty support, student support and student learning outcome. The main findings indicated that there were no clear written policies or guidelines on DL programmes at the national level. At the institutional level, some of the challenges faced in ensuring quality in DL included: inadequate resources, poor infrastructure and support for distance learning, poor teaching/learning practices, scarcity of computing resources for technology enhanced distance education among others. The study therefore recommends that: the government formulates a policy on Open and Distance Education, the institutions to set and maintain standards for quality assurance in the various DL programmes and establish structures for management of various DL programmes showing distinctions from the different modes of provision. The study may be significant to policy makers, accreditation bodies and institutions involved in Distance learning programmes to evaluate and enhance their quality assurance mechanism so that they can improve the quality of their services to the students.

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