Department Involvement in Instructional Materials Development for ODL Study at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU)
The teaching and designing of modules at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) is the principal responsibility of a single body of teaching staff, although some authors and content reviewers could be sourced from elsewhere if they are not available in ZOU. This survey, through a case study, examines the involvement of lecturers and staff in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies in instructional materials development for open and distance learning (ODL). The study inquired into the time lecturers spent on module development and writing, their levels of satisfaction with the materials they produced, their preferences with regard to teaching and instructional materials development strategies, and their views on how the process of instructional materials development at the university could be improved. The study found out that there is need for more time for materials development, better coordination and planning, greater consultation among colleagues, and adequate support services in instructional materials development for ODL to improve on the quality of modules. The department should be fully involved in instructional materials design and development to be effectively familiar with the ODL mode of learning and the students for whom the materials are intended. There is need for course writers (designers), prior to developing instructional materials, to spend time in the regional centres, which are located in the ten geo-political regions of Zimbabwe, so that they become familiar with the local learning context. One of the main recommendations is that there is need for course writers and content reviewers, as well as editors, to always undergo training in ODL and instructional materials development for ODL.
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