Staff perceptions and use of blackboard at Durban University of Technology.
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Students of today up to the age of 25 are referred to as digital natives. They have grown up in a world of computers and the Internet. They live in a so called anytime/anyplace world, that is not constrained by time or place. Most educational institutions, on the other hand, operate on fixed campuses and within fixed calendars preferring more passive means of instruction like lectures and the use of textbooks. Digital natives, however, are more active learners preferring, interactive learning which includes the use of the Internet and associated applications. There is clearly a mismatch between what higher education institutions are offering and what digital natives are expecting. Evidently higher educational institutions need to change in order to keep abreast with the technologically savvy students they serve. Many higher educational institutions have realized the benefits of online learning and are therefore investing in online learning technologies to meet this change. This includes the Durban University of Technology which is investing huge sums of money in the learning management system (LMS) Blackboard, intended to facilitate teaching and learning at the University. This study investigates the perceptions of staff towards the use of Blackboard for teaching and learning to understand the reasons for the slow adoption of Blackboard by staff. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used in this study. The quantitative technique involved the statistical and numerical analysis of the responses to the closed-ended Likert type questions. The qualitative method involved using the data obtained from the interviews. The study has revealed that academic staff (users and non-users of Blackboard) and students are in agreement that Blackboard will enable them to improve their teaching and learning, however staff as well as students, have indicated that some of the facilitating conditions need to be addressed for them to fully adopt the use of Blackboard.