n South African Journal of Higher Education - Improving postgraduate supervision in an open and distance learning environment : a case study at the college of education, University of South Africa : part 1




In an open and distance learning (ODL) environment, postgraduate students, in the main, study part time and are often far removed geographically from the university and their supervisors. There is thus very little face-to-face contact between the students and their supervisors and supervision takes place from a distance. Postgraduate students are unable to complete their qualifications in the minimum time required. The purpose of this article was to examine how supervision of postgraduate students can be improved in an ODL context so that students may complete their qualifications in the minimum time required. A qualitative approach was used to collect data from postgraduate ODL students. The results indicated that students are generally satisfied with the supervision that they receive; however, the following areas need to be considered in order to improve postgraduate supervision : proposal writing, research methodologies, data analysis, and the appropriate allocation of supervisors. The author makes the following recommendations : supervisors need to have more face-to-face contact with students; supervisors should be allocated to students on registration; and regional workshops conducted by the university should specifically address the issues of proposal writing, research methodologies and data analysis.


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