The application of computer technology in South African distance education.
The advent of on-line Computer-Assisted Instruction and Computer Mediated Communication may improve instruction and communication in distance education in South African universities. On-line Computer-Assisted Instruction in distance education makes the reinforcement of knowledge both systematic and immediate. With instructional media such printed text, audio-cassettes, radio and television broadcasts the student at a distance is an isolated and passive recipient of knowledge. On-line Computer-Assisted Instruction supported by Computer Mediated Communication for interaction and feedback could close the gaps in time and distance between the teacher and the student in distance education. The current network capabilities of the computer makes it possible for such a student to interact with peers and lecturers before, during and after instructional episodes. Computer Mediated Communication can facilitate the use of electronic messaging such as Electronic Mail, Internet Relay Chat, List Servers, Multi-User Domains and Bulletin Board Services for interactions and feedback. This thesis investigates whether instruction and communication in South African universities with a distance education option can be improved using on-line Computer-Assisted Instruction and Computer Mediated Communication respectively. The thesis also makes proposals for their implementation in South Africa by analysing the applications of computer technology in degree awarding distance education institutions in some developed and developing countries that use on-line Computer-Assisted Instruction and Computer Mediated Communication.