Supervisors' Perceptions of Blended Approach for Graduate Thesis Supervision: The Case of Kenyatta University

Supervisors' Perceptions of Blended Approach for Graduate Thesis Supervision: The Case of Kenyatta University

Marguerite Khakasa Miheso-O'Connor (Kenyatta University, Kenya), Adelheid Marie Bwire (Kenyatta University, Kenya) and Isaac Minae Mwangis (Kenyatta University, Kenya)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0242-6.ch013

Abstract

The uptake of blended supervision remains low in most developing nations. This chapter presents findings from a mini study on the perceptions of Kenyatta University graduate student supervisors and their uptake of blended supervision approach. The study adopted a mixed research design using eight supervisors purposively sampled. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data which were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The findings show that several challenges impede a positive orientation of supervisors towards a blended approach to graduate supervision. Findings indicated levels of reluctance in adapting the blended approach to supervision. The authors aver that lack of consistent efforts towards capacity building for supervisors' self-efficacy to enhanced use of the blended approach needs to be addressed. The results of this study will be used to inform supervisors' professional development initiatives in order to foster postgraduate student completion rates and for the university to develop a policy to mainstream blended supervision in its institutional structures.
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Background Of Study

Blending the use of technology with face-to-face graduate supervision has been growing slowly in recent years. Technologies are also regularly used to support both on and off-campus research students. According to Manathunga, 2007, there is an expanding literature on advising off-campus students. He further asserts that the key issues facing such remote students can be summarized as social isolation, difficulties in accessing the research culture (intellectual isolation), lack of access to resources, lack of face-to-face interaction with supervisors, and difficulties in maintaining a balance between work, study and family. These specific challenges can be addressed with the use of available technology blended with face-to-face interaction (Chapman2008). Therefore, as a subtle and demanding form of supervision, blended supervision can be beneficial.

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