Empowering the Culture of Quality Research within Ethical Standards in Distance Education

Empowering the Culture of Quality Research within Ethical Standards in Distance Education

J.O. Osiki (National University of Lesotho, Lesotho)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-830-7.ch013
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Fundamental in today’s Distance Higher education (DHE) in the African sub-regions, is how to continue to harness the dividends inherent in the multi-dimensionality of empowerment, for inducing a virile tradition of research, through the shared-benefits of academic/intellectual symbiotism. In such atmosphere, the mentor is less egoistic and willing to provide leadership as a motivator for a value-driven research orientation of the committed protégés. Using the cyclical model, while the novelty of early academic irritants are to be acknowledged, learners’ emotionality is identified as raw material for boosting both qualitative and quantitative research skills, within clearly defined workplaces’ standards. The acquisition of relevant skills and its benefits is therefore sinequanon for nurturing and sustaining research culture especially in DHE.
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A vital part of academic activity and or credibility is the regular validation of the expected outcome of meaningful teacher-learner interaction in, especially Higher Education (HE). Amidst the expectations, is harnessing the best method for initiating the tradition (otherwise, culture) of research behaviour in especially the Open Distance Learning (ODL). Another of such outcome arguably reflects on the learners’ potentials in their abilities to choose and decide feasible research topic (s) which, they are expected to pursue to its logical end. Important in the dimension, is also the notion that the research outcome must for instance, have value, for the immediate community and or society’s (otherwise, national) avowed determination for survival, growth and continued relevance among, especially the committee of nations. For research to be of immense benefits, particularly to the global community, its outcome must possess an in-built mechanism for authenticating its dividends. Authenticating the impact of such research should therefore evolve from the background of its ability to be specific, measurable and with the potential for a long-lasting effect for the entire community socio-economic advancement. Developing research skills and its utility in learners, especially in distance higher education DHE, is a significant by-product of functional teacher-learner interaction, intentionally and holistically instigated through multi-purposed and positively oriented empowerment strategies for the stimulation and nurturing of functional research culture among academics.

Fundamental in the various empowerment skills (otherwise, re-tooling prowess) that HE and or DHE ensures, is the opportunity for the acquisition of multiple developmental academic skills, some of which include, learners’ ability to know and select appropriate and feasible research topics and designs with a concomitant statistical methods for data quantification. Preparing and empowering learners in research skills, especially from the backdrop of the Open DistanceProgramme (ODP), is not only important for human development and behaviour change, but, an urgent demand to induce the public confidence in the academic (with particular emphasis on research) and the professional behaviour of learners. Boosting the public confidence vis-à-vis the ODP, through adequate research ventures, testable and or verifiable research outcomes as well as research dividends, is not merely timely and necessary, but, it is an indubitable requirement for professional acceptability, credibility and the sense of belongingness. One important dimension for positive imaging of the ODP in Africa therefore, and in particular, the DHE cum its beneficiaries, is the initiation and a dogged pursuit of a sound academic tutelage for a culture of research empowerment. Such facility for empowerment and or re-tooling in research is supposedly nurtured at the baccalaureate programmes in ODP which graduate studies, unequivocally and expectedly should advance through appropriate machineries within ethical standards.

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