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The use of the W eb in the education and training of information professionals in SADC – panacea or problem?. Johannes J Britz Theo JD Bothma Retha (MMM) Snyman Maritha E Snyman {britzh / tbothma / msnyman / mesnyman } Angola Botswana

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The use of the Web in the education and training of information professionals in SADC – panacea or problem?

Johannes J Britz

Theo JD Bothma

Retha (MMM) Snyman

Maritha E Snyman

{britzh / tbothma / msnyman / mesnyman }



Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)







South Africa






Southern African Development Community

  • Introduction
  • Case study at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Case study at the University of Pretoria
  • Recommendations for the SADC environment
  • Conclusion
some assumptions
Some assumptions
  • Web-based education the panacea for educational problems in developing countries
  • Massification and individualization simultaneously (new economics of information)
  • Facilitation of knowledge
  • Elimination of distance
the reality check
The reality check
  • Developed world, e.g. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


  • Developing world, e.g. University of Pretoria
  • Price
  • Technology
  • Support
  • Enrolment
  • Demographics
  • Students
  • Faculty
  • Communication and context
general background
General background
  • MLIS offered fully on the Web
  • Rated as one of the top 10 schools regarding DE in the USA
  • Strongest growing point for school (could only accept 50% of applications for 2003)
  • Have students all over the world (Germany, Hong Kong, Brazil)
  • More expensive than onsite
  • Flat rate – “in-state rate off campus” applies
  • Contribute to income of School
technology hardware and software
Technology (hardware and software)
  • Affordable
  • Own server – Helix Universal Server –able to stream Real Player files
  • Webct 3.8, Windows XP, Real player 1
  • Internet Connection (56k at least ), broadband high speed (cable or DSL).
  • Acrobat reader
  • Video Camera – Sony PD150 (for institution)
  • Camtasia software – use for creating demonstrations of software applications
  • Lecture outlines online
  • Prescribed reading material (journals) online
  • Learning management system
  • Bulletin board
  • E-mail
  • Chat
  • Video and audio streaming
  • 2 IT experts to assist the lecturer and the students
  • Lectures and students do not have to know all the IT details
  • Available every day (Monday to Friday)
  • In the same building on the same floor
  • Very strict
  • Enrol online via University System
  • Waiting list
  • No massification
  • 25 – 30 students per class
  • More than 30 (not more than 40) faculty get assistance (TA)
  • No combination of online and onsite in one class
  • Preference to students who are not living in Milwaukee county
  • Must be in the MLIS program
faculty members
Faculty members
  • Friendly requested to teach via Web (not compulsory but difficult to say no!)
  • Must make a paradigm shift in teaching
  • Workshops and other training opportunities available
  • Understand IT and application to teaching
  • Issued with necessary IT equipment to work from home
  • Restricted in expression
  • Creative in presentation/ get experts
Facilitate knowledge
  • Counted as a separate class
    • Normal load of three classes per semester – can be one onsite and two online
  • Duration online: 8 weeks
    • Onsite is 14 weeks
  • Possible to use a recorded video lecture for a next class
    • Have to update
  • Advantage: time, location
  • Understand and use IT
  • Paradigm shift in being educated
  • Examinations difficult (no exam – research papers and discussion groups)
  • Assist one another (IT problems, general questions etc.)
  • Group projects difficult
Learning management system
    • Faculty can trace a student’s participation and engagement in class
  • Privacy (reply function on WebCT)
  • Difficult to verify if they did all the reading and watched the video
some experiences of students
Some experiences of students
  • I like the lectures and the fact that I can start and stop them whenever I want. If I get too tired to pay attention or want to replay something, I can. This is not the case in a face-to-face course. I have not had trouble with audio and video. I have a fast Internet connection, however. I enjoy the chats, and even if the professor cannot see us, it is helpful to make connection with a person by seeing him/her.
I have been very lucky and have only had wonderful teachers, which I feel fortunate about. I think that if the teachers weren’t on the course all the time and responding to students as they do, it would be a horrible experience.
  • Overall, this has been a very positive experience for me. I would do it again.
The teachers have been very responsive. I even had a teacher call me in Brazil to touch base with me before I started my research project. As was mentioned on the bulletin board in your class, some teachers give a lot of feedback on papers, others do not. It is nice to get at least a sentence or two, especially if you didn’t get an A, so that you can make adjustments.
As far as the "discussions" go, I felt about as satisfied as I do in a face to face class, because it was fun to spend a little more time articulating exactly what I wanted to say in response to a question or idea. It was also fun getting and reading responses from others. By the same token, it was kind of like a slow motion discussion, so there wasn't the same conversational flow you get in a face to face class. Real time chats can help add to the conversation, but real time chats aren't quite the same as a face to face class either […]
Message no. […]Sent by […] on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 9:49pm

[…] I've been very disappointed with the"mechanics" of this, my first online class

[…] I'm just not very computer savvy, and I think onemust be to take a course like this. I've been one stepbehind

[…] I've also found this onlineformat far more time consuming than a regular "brick andmortar" class

[…] I can honestly saythat this will be my one and only online class.

[…] Unless Ihave absolutely no other choice available, I won't takeanother web course again.

[…] I didlike your online lectures.

[…] You are an excellent lecturer, oneof the best I've had at UW-M

communication context and interaction
Communication, context and interaction
  • Use video to record lecture
  • Ask students and experts to join in the recording
  • Have a live chat every week (interactive: students type questions and faculty replies on the camera with live stream)
  • Live chat is archived for those who can’t make it
critical success factors of milwaukee
Critical success factors of Milwaukee
  • Infostructure
  • Affordable
  • Student and faculty paradigm shift
  • Support
  • Student numbers
general background1
General background
  • Offers full undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in
    • Information Science
    • Library Science
    • Publishing
    • Multimedia
    • Information & Knowledge Management
  • Web-supported teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels
    • Not distance education
  • Standard price
  • Does not include computer or access to computer unless the module has a component that requires computer use
  • Computers are expensive – luxury item
technology hardware and software1
Technology (hardware and software)
  • WebCT
  • Limited lab access for students
  • Campus servers - central
  • Digital video and still cameras and software
  • Other software such as Acrobat Reader
  • Limited experimenting with audio recording
  • Lecture outlines online + class notes
  • Prescribed reading material (journals) online
  • Learning management system
    • Division into small groups
  • Bulletin board
  • E-mail
  • Experimenting with audio - limited
  • One administrative assistant within the Department + students
  • Telematic Learning and Education Innovation
    • Technical support
    • Design support
    • Assessment support
  • Fairly high technical know-how expected
  • Per module
    • 1st year: around 500
    • 3rd year: around 200
    • Honours: around 25
    • Coursework Masters: around 15
  • Standard enrolment criteria
  • At postgraduate level
    • Computer and Internet access required
faculty members1
Faculty members
  • Web-support is required
  • Early adopters vs laggards
  • Mind shift
  • Technology training
  • Education innovation part of performance management
    • Various programmes for training
  • Enthusiastic
  • Lack of access to computers and printing
  • Technological problems
  • Expect more
    • Interaction
    • Quick response
    • Content
  • Very sharp and direct in criticisms
  • Very positive about audio experiment
communication context and interaction1
Communication, context and interaction
  • Bulletin board
    • Threaded and archived
  • E-mail
  • Interaction not yet optimal
    • Mostly deals with administrative matters
    • Little academic interaction
  • Forced collaborative projects via small groups
  • Don’t participate if not assessed
critical success factors of pretoria
Critical success factors of Pretoria
  • Enthusiasm of (some / most) faculty
    • Paradigm shift through education innovation
  • Linked to performance management
    • It IS extra work that requires extra input
main problems
Main problems
  • Lack of infrastructure
    • Student access to computers
    • Bandwidth / slow Internet
    • Printing facilities
  • Limited support
    • Technical know-how of faculty AND students
  • Costs
important issues in web classes
Important issues in Web classes
  • Communication is permanent
  • Be careful about what you say or type
  • Intellectual property
  • ‘Face recognition’ (onsite) becomes ‘name recognition’ (online)
  • Language/hermeneutics
  • Humour - difficult
  • 24/7 – always follows you!
the milwaukee idea would not work in sadc
The Milwaukee idea would not work in SADC
  • Infostructure
  • Cost
  • Computer and information literacy of students and faculty
  • Support
  • Massification
africa ideas that may work
Africa –ideas that may work
  • Phased growth path
  • Cooperation between LIS schools
    • Face-to-face teaching
  • Web-supported teaching
    • Limited use of technology
    • Telecentres
  • Online teaching
    • Collaboration at post-graduate level
Collaborative teaching
    • International and local experts, e.g. Memphis and UP
    • Study material (lectures,prescribed material, etc.) available on the Web for free
  • Payment structure
    • Fee is based on local enrolment fees
    • E.g. the agreement between UP and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
web supported teaching
Web-supported teaching
  • Teaching the traditional way
  • Use Web to support teaching
  • Access to all study material via the Web
    • Study guides
    • Prescribed material
  • Enhance interactive communication between students
decentralization and massification
Decentralization and massification
  • Centralize the study material on the Web
  • Decentralize accessibility – via for example telecenters
  • Decentralize support –per telecenter
  • Decentralize teaching assistance – one or two adjunct instructors at centre
  • Centralize the expert
    • Faculty member who created the content
    • Can be reached via adjunct instructors
    • Involve authors / industry experts
  • Web-based teaching can work
    • If managed well
    • Purpose of use clear
  • NOT suitable for massification
  • Can eliminate distance, but to the detriment of faculty, students and education
  • NOT a panacea for teaching in the developing world
thank you questions comments
Thank you!

Questions, comments?