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Distance-and-Online Learning Support Service Benefits and Barriers in Undergraduate Mathematics Learning in Nigeria

Comfort Okwuegbune Reju, Loyiso Jita

Abstract


The paper explores the benefits and barriers of Support Services (SS) in learning undergraduate mathematics through the distance-and-online mode. The aim was to explore SS that employ accessible and advanced technologies to improve the students’ distance-and-online learning of mathematics at university-level. Samples of students from the University of Lagos’ Distance Learning Institute (DLI) and the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) were selected purposively for this mixed-methods research study designed to understand how distance-and-online students perceived undergraduate mathematics, with regard to SS in the two Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions in Nigeria. The analyses of the data included a one-sample binomial test and students’ narratives. The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning (CTML), which has become increasingly influential in distance-and-online education, was used as a lens to explain student benefits and barriers of SS in undergraduate mathematics learning. The findings, which were consistent between quantitative and qualitative analyses, revealed that print materials, the Learning Management System (LMS), online processing of admission, registration, results checking and availability of course materials online all have significant benefits for students who are learning mathematics. However, the findings show that apart from uploading the course materials and leaving occasional information on the LMS, many mathematical activities were not available on the platform. The students’ desire for audio and visual systems, as advocated in CTML, also did not find expression in the findings, as students strongly disagreed that the utilisation of these technologies in their institutions was prevalent, thus creating barriers to the learning of mathematics in the institutions. The paper recommends that the SS which encourage constructivist–based learning aimed at inspiring, supporting and satisfying students’ needs, should be the major focus for improvements in the mathematics programmes offered through this mode.


Keywords


Distance-and-online learning; Support Services; benefits and barriers; undergraduate mathematics; Distance Learning Institute (DLI); National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN)

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/0256-8853/1981

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