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dc.contributor.advisor Mamabolo, J. M.
dc.contributor.advisor Themane, M. J. Netanda, Rendani Sipho 2018-12-19T08:29:56Z 2018-12-19T08:29:56Z 2018
dc.description Thesis (Ph.D. (Educational Studies)) -- University of Limpopo, 2018 en_US
dc.description.abstract The primary aim of this study was to investigate the growing rate of dropout phenomenon within the ambiance of higher education and to develop a support model for lower-postgraduate students. Anchored within Maxwell’s (2012) model of qualitative design, this case-study research has employed the deficit theory and the theory of transactional distance to guide the investigation. While the theoretical evidence was garnered through the application of traditional (narrative) literature review design, the empirical evidence was achieved by targeting lecturers, administrative officers and dropout students. These participants were only those who have respectively taught an advanced communication research (COM4809) module which is offered in the department of communication science as part of the honours programme, who have been involved into the administration of the module in the same department and who have dropped out of COM4809 between 2011 and 2016. Purposive selection technique was used to sample distinct units of analysis at various levels. At the first level, the University of South Africa (Unisa) was used as a case ODL university. At the second level, COM4809 was used as an ideal module to demonstrate that dropout is prevalent at an honours postgraduate level within the ODL domain. At the third level, lecturers were also purposively included into the study since they were key informants. With regard to administrative officers, a census approach was adopted to include the only two administrative officers who have been involved in the administration of COM4809 between 2011 and 2016. Dropout students were selected using snowball and purposive sampling techniques. While the purposive selection of dropout students from the given dataset (statistical information) of 219 dropouts, which was requested from the information and communication department (ICT), was used, the snowball selection method came into play when lecturers identified twenty-one dropout students from their personal records and furnishing the researcher with detailed contact information about them. However, the researcher has managed to hold focus-group interviews with a group of six dropout students and telephonic interviews with ten dropout students, summing up to 16 participants. Focus-group interviews were also undertaken with a cohort of eight lecturers while another seven lecturers have participated in the in-depth interviews. Data were analysed through the use of qualitative content analysis method, and O’Connor and Gibson’s (n.d) design viii    to analyse qualitative data was used. To ensure the credibility and dependability of findings, a triangulated approach to data collection and analysis were used. The study unveiled four major themes on dropout factors, namely: dropout factors associated with students’ personal circumstances, with lecturers’ personal circumstances, with institutional (academic) circumstances and with those factors which are determined by circumstances of other units of analysis (other research contexts). The study has further revealed that while the majority of factors can be controlled, others cannot. Based on the findings and the literature, an integrated honours student-centred support model (IHSCM) was developed to serve as a framework within which to understand dropouts of lower-postgraduate students in an ODL institution. Findings have demonstrated the importance of providing support services in an ODL environment and advocate for a holistic approach towards addressing attrition. The proposed model is envisaged to better expound dropout attributes, which lead students to discontinuing their studies in the ODL environment, and to assist ODL institutions to effectively address the concern. ODL institutions, which want to apply the proposed IHSCM, should do that with caution in mind owing to the fact that the model is not yet tested. Hence, it is inferable to suggest that future research should focus on its impact in the reduction of dropouts of honours students in ODL contexts.   Key words: Student dropout (attrition), dropout student, open and distance learning (ODL) institution, Higher education institution, distance education, student support intervention (services, intervention, mitigation strategy) and student support model (framework). en_US
dc.format.extent xxx, 425 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.requires Adobe Acrobat Reader en_US
dc.subject Student dropout (attrition) en_US
dc.subject Open and distance learning (ODL) institution en_US
dc.subject Dropout students en_US
dc.subject Higher education institutions en_US
dc.subject.lcsh College dropouts -- South Africa en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Open learning en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Distance education -- South Africa en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Distance education students en_US
dc.title Student dropout in an open and distance learning institution : a quest for a responsive support model en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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