An examination of Lecturers' perceptions of e-learning at the University of Malawi's Chancellor College
Mpekansambo, Nancy N.
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The purpose of this study was to examine lecturers’ perceptions of e-learning programme at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College. Perceptions were examined with regard to institutional support, technological infrastructure, individual skills, environment (political, social economic and cultural aspects) and stages of concern. The study used a cross-sectional survey research design. A survey questionnaire and an interview guide were the two instruments used to collect data. A total of 155 questionnaires were distributed out of which 107 were responded to and returned to the researcher representing a 69% response rate. The study found that 53(49.1%) of the lecturers felt that the institution took into account their needs, interests and aspirations in the work place; 28(26.9%) agreed that the institution assisted them develop e-learning modules; bandwidth was insufficient (73(68.2%); investment in ICT was inadequate (57(52.8%) and there were delays in replacement or repair of faulty computers (64(60.4%). The majority of the teaching staff (67(62.0%) had the basic ICT skills but lacked ICT skills to manage e-learning. Those willing to teach through the e-learning mode were 56(53.4%). However, funds for e-learning were unreliable (40(39.2%). The study found that collaboration concerns had the highest mean of 2.952 and a standard deviation of 1.0152. This was followed by personal concerns rated at a mean of 2.844 with a standard deviation of 1.0334. Refocusing concerns had a mean of 2.564 and a standard deviation of 1.0736. Management concerns were rated at 2.46 mean with a standard deviation of 1.101 while Consequence concerns were rated at 2.478 mean with a standard deviation of 1.0574. Awareness concerns recorded the least mean of 2.156 with a standard deviation of 0.9916. The prominent emerging themes consisted of issues related to leadership; issues of the mind-set; motivation; perceived wrong strategy of personnel involvement; the need for flexible entry and exit provisions and perceived benefits and constraints of e-learning. The study provides vital information to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, education stakeholders, management of institutions for higher education in Malawi, technology and content providers, accreditation bodies, policy makers, researchers, educators, learners and the general public. Limited financial resources, time and scarcity of literature on e-learning on Malawi, however, were the challenges the study faced. In terms of scope the study was limited to Chancellor College only.