Students' Evaluation of a MOODLE Resource in the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria

Students' Evaluation of a MOODLE Resource in the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria

Titi Fola-Adebayo (Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-773-2.ch043
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Abstract

This chapter presents an exploratory study on students’ evaluation of a MOODLE teaching and learning resource (the Wiki in this case) in the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. 85 students (11 female and 74 male) were guided in the use of a wiki website for language learning in a context of English for Academic Purposes (EAP). Data on their opinions on the resource was collected through questionnaires and feedback on the wiki. T-test was employed in data analysis and the results revealed that in spite of the challenges encountered in using the website, the students’ attitude towards using it was positive as they were enthused about using the novel approach for research and learning purposes. The results also indicated that there was no significant difference between the opinions of male and female respondents. Challenges associated with the use of the resource are highlighted and recommendations presented.
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Introduction

The new knowledge technologies have maximized teaching and learning opportunities and have been used to configure patterns of social interactions in the classroom. Bill Gates (cited in Ker, 2006) rightly concludes that the information superhighway will transform education in the first quarter of the twenty-first century. The global, expansive nature of online resources allows for simultaneous delivery of pedagogic content to learners in all parts of the world and enhances widespread use of web-based instruction and e-learning opportunities. The new media have been responsible for rapid technological advancement and development in this age and they have remained at the centre spread of global socio-economic change. More importantly, they have been used to maximize both teaching and learning opportunities in both first and second language situations and in the teaching of EAP which is the major concern in this work.

Empirical research in some parts of the world (Dougiamas & Taylor, 2003; Kol & Schcolnik, 2008; Lixun, 2004; Nash,2008) reveals that a technology-enhanced teaching/learning experience is a useful way of encouraging collaborative work, learner autonomy and helping students acquire both language and research skills. Studies of this nature are yet to gain currency in research and pedagogic practice in Africa except for report on its pedagogic application in the University of Botswana, Botswana (Alimi, 2008) and in the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria (http://www.futagns.pbwiki.com). Another instance of the pedagogic use of the technology is provided in the Virtual Institute for Higher Education Pedagogy (VIHEP) program put in place by the National Universities Commission, the regulatory body for university education in Nigeria. The program provides academics in Nigeria with internet-based training in modern methods of teaching in tertiary education and opportunities for academic and professional development.

Ways that Nigerian students successfully used global technologies in spite of the challenges they faced are illustrated in this paper; an overview of these challenges and recommendations are also presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended Learning: Refers to the combination of face-to-face instruction with e-learning/mobile learning; the online or mobile components often used in blended learning include blogs, wikis, podcasts downloadable to MP3 devices, cellphones and discussion forums.

Communicative Language Teaching: a language teaching approach that is learner centred, uses authentic and meaningful communication and believes that language is acquired through a process of creation construction.

English for Academic Purposes (EAP): English for Academic Purposes is a branch of English for Specific Purposes; the latter is a discipline that draws on language, education and students’ specialist areas of interest. EAP is used in educational settings and it is aimed at meeting the academic needs of learners of English for study purposes.

Globalization: Is weapon of subordination, dependency, and marginalization which serves to further accentuate the socio-economic and technological divide between bipolar economic regions of the world.

Wiki: is a type of server software that enables users to create or alter the content of a web page.

Moodle: this is a learning management system through which knowledge is constructed by interaction with others and with learning materials. It uses web pages and employs the use of live chats, forums, wiki, glossary and workshop.

Social Constructivist Pedagogy: focuses on the linguistic environment where technology is used in the classroom. It encourages critical and analytic thinking. It is student centred as learning is built on the experiences of students and the construction of learning processes.

Gender: Gender describes the characteristics of men and women which are socially determined, in contrast to those which are biologically determined. Sex is the biological differentiation between male and female while gender refers to the differentiation between masculinity and femininity; the latter is constructed through socialization, religion, education etc.

New Technologies: Refer to emerging computer-mediated communications and virtual reality technologies such as cable television, online newspapers, the Internet, World-wide web, CD-ROMS, etc..

Enquiry-based Learning (EBL): Inspires students to learn for themselves and it brings a research oriented approach to the topics of interest. It emphasizes group work and the use of the library, web and other information resources.

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