Improving Online Interaction Among Blended Distance Learners at Makerere University
This article reports on a study done to improve interaction among distance learners offering the blended Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) programme at Makerere University. The study attempts to answer the question: How can a Learning Management System be used to improve learner interaction on the blended B.Ed. programme at Makerere University? The study adopted the Affordance eLearning Design Framework. This study was done among 54 students studying a Policy Planning and Implementation course on the B.Ed. programme. The study employed qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis. These included semi-structured interviews and observation of the interaction logs within the groups and open forums. The results revealed that LMS affordances coupled with well-structured activities increased interaction among learners. Other factors that accelerated interaction and participation included grading of contributions and regular tutor presence. In conclusion, technology alone cannot bring about interaction among students; the way the activity is structured should be emphasized for interaction.
This work has been supported by the DELP project which is funded by NORAD. Special appreciation to the University of Agder and Makerere University, who are in research partnership, for their support.
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