PCF5:Tracer Study

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Title of session

Research into practice: what tracer studies tell us

Session details

  • Date: ...insert date here...
  • Time: 11:00 - 12:30
  • Room: Room 642

Session papers

  • Dr Jill Brown, The advantages of a good DE example, (415)
  • Rebecca Essel, Distance learners’ perception on the use of course materials and its effects: a case study of Centre for Continuing Education, University of Cape Coast, Ghana, (737)
  • Claire Millington, The use of tracer studies for enhancing relevance and marketability in online and distance education, (424)
  • Heroldt Vekaama Murangi, The role of open schooling in improving the quality of life of young Namibians, (537)

Key Issues that arose in the session

  • * Flexibility, convenience and on the job seen as main positive effects of DL
  • Need to focus on the outcome, impact of DL – tracer studies essential. This is for reasons of marketability of courses, access, and customer satisfaction.
  • Institutions often focus on inputs, but students focus on outputs
  • Providers need to focus on the needs of learners – marketability and competitiveness
  • Research can help dispel myths that ODL is inferior
  • Tracer studies also important for quality assurance and internal learning

Research Available:

  • New Zealand Correspondence
  • NamCOL/NIOS study
  • Role and function of NAMCOL
  • etc

Capacity Building experiences:

  • ODL receiving more appreciation
  • economic and access reasons
  • addresses unreachable, and also past resistence fighters etc
  • Integrates soft skills
  • leaders act as role models - they went through ODL

Gender issues:

  • Needs clear definition
  • On level of content and access
  • Need to move towards blended methodologies
  • Look at subtlty of what subjects different genders choose
  • Content - is gender addressed there?

Points for future action (Policy, recommendations, commitments etc.)

  • Role of COL in research into evaluation should be developed
  • Integrate ODL into other learning - focus on soft skills
  • Purpose of Evaluation - what is its purpose? Theme for next conference
  • Gender needs to refer to both access and content - evaluations of the subtleties need to be done. More resources into Gender issues
  • Large scale study to demonstrate effectiveness of ODL - advocacy, success stories, dissemination of good practice