E-learning platforms and humanities education: an African case study
PublisherEdinburgh University Press, www.eupjournals.com/ijhac
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The advent of e-learning has been a welcomed development in African universities, especially in countries where the demand for university education far outstrips capacity. This form of instruction not only has helped in reducing the problem of managing and testing large classes, but it also has helped lecturers in providing valuable assistance to students who would otherwise not have such access. The limitations of the e-learning platform coupled with a distorted student-teacher ratio has raised concerns about quality, especially for traditional humanities disciplines where the emphasis on argumentative rigor and critical thinking are at odds with the science leaning orientation of e-learning platforms. This concern is especially important because the technology is relatively new and there are problems of access not only in terms of infrastructure but also in terms of the relevant computer literacy skills required of users of the technology. This essay examines the problems associated with the use of e-learning in teaching and examining traditional humanities courses in general but especially the problems encountered in using e-learning in teaching and assessing critical thinking courses at the University of Botswana. I argue that although certain aspects of e-learning are structured, confining, and therefore unsuitable for traditional humanities disciplines, e-learning can still be an appropriate tool for the humanities if used appropriately and creatively.