Challenges faced by staff and students at tertiary level in flexible learning environment: An institutional study

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Sheriffdeen, Seyed
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Master of Computing
Unitec Institute of Technology
Muller, Logan
Shukla, Ranjana
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
flexible learning environments
blended learning
tertiary education
Sheriffdeen, S. A. (2007). Challenges faced by staff and students at tertiary level in flexible learning environment: An institutional study. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Computing, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
This research is concerned with identifying the challenges / problems of flexible learning environments in the tertiary education sector. Flexible learning environments usually allow students to choose from a mix of learning opportunities/resources, including “face-to-face” learning, distance learning and e-learning. The term “blended learning” is used when students are expected to participate in both “face-to-face” learning and e-learning. Research was conducted using mixed qualitative and quantitative method, and the data were collected through interviews and online survey. Ten staff members were interviewed and 145 students participated in the survey. Both sets of data have been summarized and analysed by the researcher to draw meaningful conclusions. This thesis identifies the challenges and problems faced by students and staff in flexible learning environment, especially the challenges of online learning which is considered as the latest version of the flexible learning environment. Key findings provided to answers the following questions: • What are the challenges faced by students, teachers and support staff which can reduce the effectiveness of the learning and teaching process? • What are the learning/technical difficulties encountered by the students from various ethnic communities of New Zealand? • How can flexible learning be made more effective if the identified challenges and difficulties are resolved?
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