Provision of Assignments and Face-to-Face Sessions at the Open University of Tanzania for the Past 20 Years
Student Support Services are very essential for students studying through
the Open and Distance Learning mode. The Open University of Tanzania (OUT) like other ODL institutions has been offering student support service to her learners. The objective of this paper is to examine the provision of take home assignments and Face-to-Face sessions (FTF) as exercised by OUT in the past 20 years. The paper discusses the way assignments and FTF sessions were organized and challenges which were encountered in such sessions. It has been observed that challenges which faced the provision of assignments forced OUT to eliminate assignments in students’ continuous assessment. It is further observed that inadequate finance, material and human resources contribute to poor provision and organization of FTF sessions. Currently FTF activities have been reinforced by a Portfolio system. It is recommended that OUT should consider the reintroduction of assignments (at least one assignment per course) since assignments enhance students’ academic writing and search skills. Further, FTF sessions should continue to be organized to solve students’ academic and administrative problems. FTF activities should be given priority and all the resources needed for the sessions be provided to facilitate Director of Regional Centre (DRC) to effectively organize and conduct FTF sessions. Further, filling in of the portfolio should continue; but be organized in such a way that students are supervised by course specific experts.
Key words: Open University of Tanzania, Student Support Services, assignments, face-to-face sessions, and Student’s portfolio.