n South African Journal of Higher Education - Computer literacy and Internet usage within the Distance Education Association of Southern Africa (DEASA)




During a meeting held by the Distance Education Association of Southern Africa (DEASA) in Lesotho in August 1996, the use of the Internet, e-mail facilities and other computer software was the subject of serious discussion. The DEASA community agreed that computer literacy and Internet connectivity has recently become extremely important in higher education for the delivery of good quality and timely service to our learners. At a follow-up meeting held in Pretoria in March 1998, Technikon SA was requested to conduct a survey among DEASA members to determine the existing levels of computer and Internet literacy and to assess the training needs in the SADEC region, in which the DEASA community is located. Subsequently, two different empirical studies were conducted and further discussions were held. The first study, conducted amongst DEASA representatives of each institution, investigated the facilities available to each member institution, the number of staff and the availability of training facilities and human resources. The second study, which forms the subject of this article, was conducted amongst full-time staff members within the DEASA institutions to gain insight into their computer literacy, environmental reception to new technologies, computer training needs, the desire to learn and use new echnologies, and the use of the Internet. The report was based on the results of the analysis of questionnaires received from the ten institutions that responded.


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