Towards a blended learning approach: a cooperative model for continuing teacher education

29 November 2012

The successful delivery of academic and logistical support and overall quality assurance processes will determine the survival of open and distance learning (ODL) in the higher education (HE) sector. The literature emphasises that barriers to success for ODL students are primarily concerned with student support, be it academically, administratively or financially. The social divide between student-lecturer and student-administrator is crucial and the need for sufficient student support - based on social justice principles - is inevitable in a developing country such as South Africa. The focus of this article is a case study of a partnership value-chain between a tertiary academic institution - North-West University (NWU) - and a private education and training institution - the Open Learning Group (OLG). It draws on blended learning and social justice theory which constitutes efficient student support in a cooperative partnership mode. It reports on what the praxis reveals in establishing success criteria towards the development of a mega-university. This model decreases risks, saves costs, ensures academic and logistical quality, and builds operational strength through best practices from both partners. The basis of this partnership is a service-level agreement that includes sufficient auditing and tracking systems to determine the quality of performance, implementation and feedback.