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University Lecturers’ Perspectives of Moodle Usage in Teaching Postgraduate Modules: A Case Study of the School of Education

Innovation in our educational system is driving our education towards new directions and new heights. Students of the 21st century generation owing to current advances, learn best with technology. This may be one of the reasons our educational system is shifting towards the use of educational technologies. One of the universities in South Africa introduced a policy stipulating Moodle as a mandatory teaching and learning platform from undergraduate to postgraduate. It should be noted that while the system was available, for a very long-time not all lecturers were using it as a teaching resource. It was a challenge to the participants if they had to use only Moodle as a teaching media during the lockdown. Their reasons for not using the system were not known until this study explored their perspectives on the use of Moodle. Therefore, this study was undertaken to provide lecturers with a platform to voice their perspectives on the system. This may assist in curbing challenges and promoting successes experienced by lecturers and students when using the system. Few studies have been conducted with the purpose of understanding lecturers’ perspectives on educational technologies, before introducing learning management systems to be used for teaching and learning. Most studies are about the experiences of lecturers and students after the system has been introduced and used. Introducing a change for lecturers, and expecting them to adapt to it without understanding their perspectives on the new changes, may pose challenges to the implementation of such changes. With that in mind, this study explores lecturers’ perspectives on using Moodle in teaching postgraduate modules in the education department of a higher institution in South Africa. Lecturers, being the people directly involved with the use of Moodle, may have ideas on how Moodle can be used in a manner that can work for the system. This may help the university management to go back to basics and work with the lecturers to find ways in which Moodle can be implemented with success. Thus, to achieve this mission, this study presents an interpretive case study of six lecturers from different disciplines within the Department of Education in order to examine their perspectives on the use of Moodle in teaching postgraduate modules. This study combined the technology, pedagogic, and content knowledge (TPACK) with the technology acceptance model (TAM) to form a framework for this study. This was done in the belief that without TPACK and other external resources lecturers may find it difficult to accept and use Moodle. Purposive sampling has been used to select participants for this study. Documents, Moodle analysis, and semi-structured interviews or discussions were used to generate data for this study. The study used guided analysis method as a frame for data analysis, with TPACK and TAM employed as a frame of enquiry. The findings of this study revealed that lecturers were not well prepared to use Moodle before they were expected to start using the system with their students. Their lack of technological knowledge caused them a challenge if they had to use the system during the lockdown resulted from COVID-19. There was not enough professional development training which could have assisted lecturers with the necessary information to continue using the system. There is also an outcry on the lack of resources, especially for students to access Moodle. More so, lecturers were concerned that the system was introduced as a one-size-fits-all entity regardless of their knowledge of the system. With these findings supported by the literature reviewed, this study recommends that TPACK should become the number one priority for lecturers who wish to successfully use Moodle in their teaching.

Keywords: Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19); Educational Technology; Lockdown; Moodle; Perspectives; Technological Knowledge

Full Name
Dr Nhlongo Andrew Hebron