Vol. 3 (2) Dec. 2021
Article ID. JHSSR-1116-2021
An Analysis of Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning Practices in Higher Education in Zimbabwe
Courseware materials, Virtual environments, Online learning, Student support, Online best practices, Synchronous learning
This study explored pre-service student teachers’ perceptions of online learning practices in higher education in Zimbabwe. The study adopted a qualitative case design within the interpretive paradigm. A convenient sample of 15 participants from a class of 83 pre-service student teachers enrolled for Mathematics and Science education courses in a university was selected. Open-ended online questionnaires, face-to-face interviews and document analysis were used to gather data. Findings revealed that online programmes made it possible for lecturers to deliver online tuition, upload content and other courseware materials and interact with students. However, sentiments from the pre-service student teachers showed that the online delivery modes were less engaging with limited applicability in contexts-bound and authentic situations. Additional findings showed limited access to internet facilities and reduced support for pre-service student teachers’ orientation for online learning. The pre-service student teachers also reported experiencing some challenges in the use of formal online platforms such as Moodle, Zoom, Google Meet and Google Classroom. Among other solutions proffered, the pre-service student teachers suggested that local internet service providers needed to offer subsidised tariffs to all higher education institutions. It was conjectured that such solutions and others highlighted in this study would assist institutions of higher education in Zimbabwe a great deal to create online environments that were instructive, situating, constructive, evaluative, communicative and supportive.