Title: The Teaching and Learning of University Statistics through ODL in Zimbabwe: Issues, Challenges and Prospects

Issue Number: Vol. 5, No. 2
Year of Publication: Jun - 2019
Page Numbers: 73-92
Authors: Silvanos Chirume
Journal Name: The International Journal of E-Learning and Educational Technologies in the Digital Media (IJEETDM)
- Hong Kong
DOI:  http://dx.doi.org/10.17781/P002600


Statistics is viewed as a useful subject but also as one that is hard and mostly dreaded by students. Thus, there is need for a critical review of teaching and learning of university statistics. This study therefore looks at characteristics of statistics, challenges, possible causes, ways to resolve the challenges and also the prospects of teaching and learning statistics, especially in the Open and Distance Learning (ODL) scenario. Data were gathered through questaviews from tutors and students who had come for weekend school sessions at Zimbabwe Open University. Descriptive qualitative (content) analysis was used to quantify and analyse the presence, meanings and relationships of informants’ written words and phrases and come up with themes (thematic analysis). Findings were that indeed statistics is viewed to be a useful and ‘cut-across’ subject at university and in the world of work. However, tutors and students pointed out challenges relating to programme organisation and planning by the institution, learning materials and ICT, tutor training, subject content and pedagogy, among others. Recommendations to deal with programme evaluation and implementation strategies, degree enrolment guidelines and procedures, to enhance student and tutor support, as well as a proposal for a conceptual model for statistics education curriculum for ODL are put forward.