E-Learning Readiness among Academic Staff in the Department of Information Science at the University of South Africa
AbstractAn electronic (e-learning) readiness assessment identifying pertinent issues to be considered before and during an e-learning intervention is critical to the implementation of such an initiative. There is evidence that the introduction of a new innovation or even the upgrading of an existing one, is likely to be resisted, as people are sometimes attached to established pedagogies and practices. Although it is well documented that e-learning can assist the university to advance academic tution goals, it is important to note that these goals may be influenced by the lecturers’ attitudes and behavioural intentions towards e-learning, hence, the need to check these perceptions and attitudes towards accepting technology as an teaching and learning innovation. In view of the envisaged deployment of e-learning at UNISA, the study adopted a qualitative approach to ascertain the opinions and experiences of academics in the the Department of Information Science regarding the preparedness towards e-learning. The study employed a variety of data-gathering methods, including observation, in-depth interviews, and document analysis. Overall, lecturers in the Department of Information Science seem to appreciate the value of e-learning athough there are apprehensions related to the lack of clear understanding of the e-learning process and its inferences for the university and its constituents. The study recommends that the Department of Information Science seeks more enlightenment on the understanding, prerogatives and implications of e-learning in order to craft a strategic trajectory that will underpin and butress a meaningful development of e-learning. Similarly, e-learning training interventions should be informed by a skills audit that will map out the capabilities and gift zones of lecturers.
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