Interrogating The Teaching And Learning Modes In Open And Distance Learning (Odl) Within The Context Of Quality Education: A Case Study Of The Zimbabwe Open University; Department Of Education

Wellington SAMKANGE
Augustine Zano MURANDA

There have been concerns about the teaching and learning modes in both conventional and Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions globally. Such concerns emanate from issues of quality and standards in education. In view of such concerns, the study examined the teaching and learning modes in Open and Distance Learning (ODL). These were examined in relation to how they contribute to quality and standards within the the context of ODL. The study focused on the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), an ODL university in Zimbabwe. It used the qualitative methodology and the case study design. A purposively selected sample of twenty students on the Bachelor of Education in Educational Management (BEDM) programme, another twenty on the Masters of Education in Educational Management (MEDM) programme and and thirty students on the teacher development programmes were selected from a population of one hundred and sixty two students in the Department of Education in Harare region. In total, the sample was made up of seventy students and fifteen tutors who were observed teaching. Data was collected through the use of interviews, open-ended questionnaires and analysis of documents. Data was collected from current students in the Faculty of Arts and Education in the Departments of Educational Studies and Teacher Development. Data was also collected through the evaluation instruments and other related documents used at ZOU. Furthermore, students evaluated the different teaching and learning modes used in the university. These included reading material, modules, tutors and tutorials. The study concluded that whilst students expressed satisfaction in areas such as the work and efforts of their tutors and the relevance of the courses to their jobs and promotion prospects, they were concerns about the non-availability of learning materials in some cases, the coverage of some topics in some modules and the language of instruction used by the tutors. The cases observed indicated that the institution was lagging behind in modern technology. These are concerns that could compromise quality if not addressed.

KEYWORDS: Teaching and learning modes; Quality education; Open and distance learning; Quality assurance.