Lecturers' perceptions on the academic performance of conventional and distance education students at UNISWA: a comparative study
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This study investigates the perceptions of lecturers within the Faculty of Humanities (FOH) at the University of Swaziland concerning the educational performance of students within the Institute of Distance Education (IDE) as compared with their counterparts on the same programme who were learning using conventional face-to-face (CF2F) mode. The humanities programme was chosen because the IDE and CF2F students studying this programme were doing the same courses, sat the same examinations, were taught by the same lecturers, and would graduate with the same qualifications. A questionnaire was administered to all the 24 lecturers in the FOH. Twenty two lecturers returned the completed questionnaire. Findings of the study were that the perceptions of the lecturers were that the IDE students' performance was below that of CF2F students. Reasons given for poorer performance were that IDE students (i) did not get enough face-to-face sessions; (ii) did not read their materials; and (iii) were too young to handle independent study as required in distance learning. Recommendations that were advanced by the lecturers to improve IDE at UNISWA were that IDE should have its own teaching staff, reduce IDE class sizes and more workshops should be held for writers and reviewers of distance learning materials in order to improve the course materials.