Lecturers' Perceptions of Learning Management Systems Within a Previously Disadvantaged University

Lecturers' Perceptions of Learning Management Systems Within a Previously Disadvantaged University

Suzanne Sackstein (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa), Emma Coleman (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) and Tsakani Violet Ndobe (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7473-6.ch001

Abstract

The integration of learning management systems into an educational context can prepare students to cope with the current information society, as well as enhance pedagogical practices and knowledge transmission. In order to realize these potential benefits, it is important to understand lecturers' reasons for use and non-use of LMS. This chapter argues that when introducing digital technologies into education in developing economies, contextual issues need to be taken into account, as users have to grapple with issues that may prevent use such as low technical literacy, poor technical support, and limited internet access. For education to be truly inclusive in developing economies, these contextual issues need to be addressed so that students from such contexts are able to reap the same benefits of technology as their contemporaries worldwide, such as improved education in terms of content, and improving the future potential of students in the workplace, with its ever-increasing reliance on technical skills and global connection to the digital economy.
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Background

Integration of technology into education is being used worldwide in order to facilitate learning outside the classroom through, for example, giving students access to PowerPoint slides, videos, lecture notes, and internet hyperlinks (Bradford, Porciello, Balkon & Backus, 2007) so that students can continue learning at their own pace, time, and in their own spaces. Learning Management Systems (LMS) can provide students with the ability of anytime-anywhere learning and, for lecturers, can facilitate the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational programmes (Mlitwa, 2006). Use of LMSs in educational institutions is believed to augment face-to-face teaching where it still occurs, as well as enables online and distance learning in other instances, thereby removing learning barriers (Mudaly, 2012). In addition, an LMS can track an individual student’s learning progress (Watson and Watson, 2007) and enable interaction between lecturers and students (Liu, 2013). While LMSs have been used in teaching and learning for the last two decades at least (Blackboard Learn, 1997), Billman (2014) claims that lecturers are not yet utilising the LMS to its full potential in order to realise its benefits as well as meet the changing educational needs of students.

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