Challenges and support needs of the computer applications courses: A case study of two departments of the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) Midlands Region

Thondhlana Saiden

Abstract


The computer application course is offered in most of the programmes in the Zimbabwe Open University. This study was undertaken to establish the challenges and support needs with regards the teaching of these programmes in two departments in the Midlands Region of the ZOU. The study was necessitated by a high failure rate in the examinations and problems of operating computers at the work place after completing the courses. The sample of the study consisted 40 Bachelor of English and Communication students, 30 Bachelor of Educational Management students, 2 Master of Educational Management students and 3 tutors. The sample was conveniently chosen. A mixed methodology that is quantitative and qualitative methodology was employed. The major findings were that the courses were taught theoretically, no training on the use of computers was provided by the ICT technician and Librarians, Computers to use in training the students were inadequate and were not compatible with modern programmes and computer application examinations did not assess students on computer literacy. Some of the recommendations were that; hands-on experience was supposed to be provided, exams were to have a practical component and that the University was supposed to provide adequate and up to date computers.

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