Investigating the use of podcasts in an open, distance and e-learning environment
Keywords:Higher education, Open learning, E-learning, Distance learning, Quality, Podcasts, Support technology, Teaching and learning
In a world where the podcast stands out as one of the important support technologies for online learning, lecturers face great challenges in the delivery of podcasts in a qualitative and productive way. The introduction of podcasts into distance teaching and learning has often failed to meet the expected outcomes, and the educational landscape (Dede, 2008) contains evidence of students who have been unable to benefit from this innovation. Therefore, the aim of this paper was to explore the types of podcasts that lecturers at an open and distance an e-learning institution use for teaching and learning in the courses they teach. The focus was to explore how lecturers can use high-quality podcasting to meet students learning expectations in open, distance and e-learning institutions.
A total of 431 podcast scripts (generated during staff development) for different modules, departments and subjects at the University of South Africa (UNISA) were collected for data use. The number of podcasts per purpose or type were tallied and recorded. The purposes of podcasts that were missing from the podcast scripts were identified through literature study and then used for a comparative discussion in the results. Results provided readers with a snapshot of how a particular distance education and e-learning institution uses podcasts for teaching and learning. The paper offers guidance to a better utilisation of podcasts in open, distance and e-learning environments in higher education institutions.
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