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Title: Implementation of blended learning: the experiences of students in the chemical engineering extended curriculum programme physics course
Authors: Basitere, Moses 
Ivala, Eunice 
Keywords: Blended learning;Digital divide;Fees must fall;Wiley Plus;WhatsApp
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited
Abstract: The emergence of the ‘Fees Must Fall’ protest in South African Higher Education institutions has necessitated the discussions on the improvement of the implementation of Blended Learning to supplement on campus face-to-face lecture delivery. While Blended Learning might be seen as a success in some developed countries, its implementation in a developing country such as South Africa where there is differential access to resources must be done with caution. If not done cautiously, the implementation of Blended Learning may further alienate students from social excluded (or under-resourced) communities. Since, 2014, the Chemical Engineering Department in Cape Peninsula University of Technology introduced web-based homework system, Wiley Plus, in its first year physics course to assist the lecturer to give timeous feedback on assessments as well as to provide students with online resources. Moreover, social media application Whatsapp group was formed in order to facilitate students’ collaborative learning and interaction outside the classroom. This paper discusses students’ experiences of the Wiley Plus system and WhatsApp group platform in the physics course. The data was generated through students focus group interview, WhatsApp, Survey, and students’ results in both Wiley Plus and paper-based assessments. The results show that students who reside in university residence, and have access to the university’s resources such as computer and Wi-Fi, have higher chance to improve their scores in the physics course compared to students who reside outside campus with no computers and access to data. Furthermore, the results suggest that this technology, if not employed carefully, has the potential to further alienate the group of students with limited access to resources. Some students from under-resourced background reported that the limited access to computer and Wi-Fi usually led them to cheat due to lack of time to interact with the online system. They collaborated with some of their peers who reside on campus to get high scores in Wiley Plus, but failed to get similar performance in written assessment because of the lack of confidence in their work. The findings presented in this paper have important lessons and implications for universities in a developing country; it draws attention to the potential challenges that may arise from the implementation of Blended Learning in the classroom.
Appears in Collections:Edu - Conference Proceedings

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