Challenges Facing Supervisors and Students in the Process of Writing Theses/Dissertations under ODL: Experiences from The Open University of Tanzania
This paper discusses problems facing supervisors and students in writing dissertations/theses. The paper refers to the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) as the case study. Data were collected using formal meetings, questionnaire administration and documentary analysis. The data from the questionnaire were analysed by the help of the Scientific Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while the qualitative data were analysed through content and thematic analysis. The paper established that communication, supervisorstudent relationship, access to literature, plagiarism, and poor writing skills among some students are some of the key challenges facing students and supervisors in writing dissertations/theses at OUT. The paper recommends that communication between students and supervisors need to be strengthened through both parties abiding by professionalism. Strengthening the use of progress reports and arrangement of supervision seminars more frequently would minimize problems related to miscommunication. Students are encouraged to maximally utilize online sources of literature. The use of internet would also reduce unnecessary delays of supervisors’ feedback. The Open University of Tanzania needs to revise payments for supervisors so that supervisors are motivated to timely accomplish their tasks.
Key Words: The Open University of Tanzania, supervision of postgraduate students, communication, motivation, writing skills