Harnessing Online Resources for Distance Learning at the University of Zambia

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Chitumbo, Eness M. Miyanda
Chewe, Pailet
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The International Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Research
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate how the integration of institutional electronic resources into distance learning can improve usage of e-resources at the University of Zambia. The study also ascertained the value and ease of use of remote access towards aiding distance students access institutional e-resources as well as the user-friendliness of the databases to enable users retrieve relevant information within reasonable time. Methods: The study adopted a case survey design and used both quantitative and qualitative methods of research. Structured questionnaires were used to collect responses from a purposively selected sample of 60, drawn from a total population of 12,500 distance learning students registered under the Institute of Distance Education. The statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) software was used to analyse quantitative data into frequencies and percentages and content analysis was used to analyse qualitative data sets. Findings: The study established that the majority of the respondents were aware of and used e-resources for academic purposes, hence rated the electronic databases highly. It was further established that they encountered a number of technologically related barriers. E.g. Insufficient computers, slow Internet connectivity, lack of ICT skills, etc. The results also indicated that remote access was a useful information retrieval tool. Most students were in support of integrating online resources into distance learning programs because of the potential benefits that comes with it. Research value: It is hoped that the findings of this study will help UNZA capture the challenges distance learning students face as they interact with the remote access tool, hence help the institution to appropriately respond to these challenges.
Electronic resources , Usage , Distance learning , University of Zambia
Chewe, Pailet and Chitumbo, Eness M. Miyanda. 2017. Harnessing Online Resources for Distance Learning at the University of Zambia. The International Journal of Multi-Disciplinary Research ISSN: 3471-7102