Dr. Evelyn Markwei delivers Inter-College Lecture

Dr. Evelyn Markwei of the Department of Information Studies has delivered an Inter - College Lecture on the topic: ‘The Use of Course Websites to Enhance Face-To-Face Instruction: A Study of Students Perceptions’.

Dr. Markwei in a study, investigated the perception of students of an interactive website for a course Information Storage and Retrieval at the School of Information and Communication Studies, University of Ghana. The main objectives of the study were to examine students’ use of the website, their computer literacy skills, mode of accessing the website, problems encountered in using the website and their instructional preferences. The lecture was to share the findings of the study and to make proposals for the use of course websites for academic work.

Dr. Evelyn Markwei

In her lecture, Dr. Markwei gave an overview of web-based technologies and how they can enhance teaching and learning. She explained the main types of E-learning: synchronous (use of virtual classrooms) A-synchronous (course delivery via the internet with students working at their own pace) and others, such as blended learning (in-class and online activities).

She also spoke about the advantages of E-learning, which include access to education irrespective of geographical location, time and work schedule, and cost effectiveness.

The audience was educated about the use of course specific websites which enable the posting of course materials such as lesson notes, assignments, class announcements, and online activities such as discussions, chats, quizzes and group activities.

Dr. Markwei noted that the use of websites for academic work enhances traditional teaching methods, and encouraged instructors to adopt new teaching technologies to engage students outside the classroom. She further noted that studies reveal that the main factors that influence students use of course websites are quality of content and ease of use, informative feedback and course updates, as well as useful and relevant information about the course.The major reasons students gave for using the website were to obtain lecture notes and check schedules for assignments and tests, get information on class projects, and to check announcements and the course syllabus.

A cross section of the audience at the lecture

Dr. Markwei cited various problems that students encountered in using the website. These included infrastructural problems such as unstable internet and lack of internet access; irregular power supply, students getting distracted and spending time browsing non-course related topics and websites, and students not keeping up with updates of course materials before class. From her study, it was evident that students’ preference is for classroom teaching enhanced by a course website. Faculty must be encouraged to develop websites and other platforms for their courses, to enhance students’ learning, since course websites enhance students’ learning, provide ready access to course materials outside the classroom, and create a sense of community among students.

Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo, Dean, SICS, Dr. Markwei and Prof. Michael Tagoe, Acting Provost

In the lively discussion that followed the lecture, faculty were encouraged to use the Sakai Learning Management System and social media to enhance their teaching. There were also calls for the University to invest in larger internet bandwidth and generators to ensure regular and stable internet access for use by faculty and students.
The lecture was chaired by the Acting Provost of the College of Education, Professor Michael Tagoe.

Prof. Michael Tagoe, Acting Provost