The Use of Pedagogical Support Strategies in an Online Teacher Education Course

The Use of Pedagogical Support Strategies in an Online Teacher Education Course

Micheal M. van Wyk (University of South Africa, South Africa) and Patience Kelebogile Mudau (University of South Africa, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9316-4.ch009

Abstract

This chapter reported student teachers' experiences of using pedagogical support strategies in the Teaching Methodology of Economics course at an open distance learning university. An exploratory mixed methods design and purposive sampling of Bachelor of Education and Postgraduate Certificate in Education students were selected. An online survey and e-digital support tools were used. Results showed that students viewed academic student support as an important part for their success ranging from availability, promptness, approachability, sympathy, clear instructions for the module, and constructive feedback in the course. Several challenges ranging from lacking necessary digital literacy skills to frequent interruption of connectivity of e-digital support tools emerged. Only a small sample was selected for this study, but further research might compare other modules within the postgraduate and undergraduate qualifications respectively, which may yield different results.
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Introduction

South African universities, engaged in a process of transforming existed curricula was part of a new business model aimed to make their institutions sustainable and provide quality education. Debates fostering a critical thinking towards transforming future learning programmes that are appropriate and favorite students' needs. In this case, arguments concluded that more support structures for e-pedagogical strategies must be implemented toward lifelong learning for an open distance-learning context (Tomas, Lasen, Field, & Skamp, 2015). Student support is one of the most important indicators for student success towards graduation. Several research on student support was conducted in general but few on pedagogical strategies specifically in an ODL context (Graf, Kinshuk, & Liu, 2009). In addition, very few recent studies student support has been done in the field of ODL (Simpson, 2008) but previously on distance learning because of it became a popular mode of delivery (Tait, 2000; Upko, 2006; Blaess, & Grant, 2010). Until recently, there was only a few studies exploring the pedagogical strategies used to support students, especially within an ODL context (Upko, 2006; Simpson, 2008). If this is the case that only a few studies were conducted on student support, in particular using pedagogical strategies within an ODL environment, what specific research protocol (criteria) was designed to retrieved scholarly works on student support (Arksey & O’Malley, 2005). Furthermore, why was specific indices/databases selected for this purpose to conduct searches for appropriate scholarly publications (articles, thesis, dissertations and book chapters) employing pedagogical strategies to support students. In the context of this article, Bachelor of Education (Bed) and Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students registered for the Teaching Methodology of Economics regularly requested support for either assignments, projects, examinations, financial and wellness support. These pedagogical support is requested through emails, telephonic calls, social media platforms, eDiscussion forums, blogging and instant short messages (SMS).

The e-News for the University of South Africa UNISA staff letter (Farrell, 2018) reported that student support is an important function of the institution as a distance learning university. Furthermore, the article highlighted that practice-based support is supported by the social constructivist pedagogical paradigm. To execute this approach as a means to support student, a “situated dynamic connections between the student and the curriculum, the resources supporting the curriculum, the instructor/tutor, and administrative and professional support” (p.1) is vital for student success. According to Wangenge-Ouma (2012), research has shown how specific and carefully considered technological interventions can provide answers to these teaching and learning concerns among students and lecturers. Therefore, what motivated the researcher to investigate the use of pedagogical strategies in supporting Bachelor of Education and Postgraduate Certificate in Education students’ learning in the Teaching Methodology of Economics delivered via ODL? In view of the challenges faced by students in terms of support, this chapter stated the following questions: What learning goals support is provided to enhance students’ learning in the course? What types of e-digital support strategies as a means were employed to enhance students’ learning in the course? How best can lecturers’ used academic and non-academic support to enhance students’ learning in the course? What challenges or issues emerged regarding student support in an online course? To answer these questions, specific objectives were stated:

  • To investigate which learning goals can support students’ learning in the course.

  • To determine the used of e-digital support strategies as a means to enhance students’ learning in the course.

  • To explore how best lecturers’ used academic and non-academic support to enhance students’ learning in the course.

  • To explore students views regarding challenges face of support in an online course

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