Die eFundi leerbestuurstelsel as verhoudingsbou-instrument : die geval van die Fakulteit Lettere en Wysbegeerte, Potchefstroomkampus van die NWU
A Learning Management System (LMS) such as the eFundi LMS used by North West University Potchefstroom Campus‟ goal is not merely to function as an information depositing platform, but is rather a system that provides a golden opportunity for lecturers and students to communicate with each other to establish strong online relationships in order to contribute to the learning process. Lecturers are primarily responsible for motivating students to use the learning management system and to use functionalities that support the achievement of the outcomes of the module. Two-way communication and strong relationships between the lecturer and students and among students can enhance learning; therefore it is necessary for lecturers to also use functionalities that facilitate two-way communication. Strong relationships are characterized by the degree of presence of the relationship outcomes, namely mutual control, confidence, commitment and relationship satisfaction. Online relationship building strategies can be applied to strengthen relations on the eFundi LMS, namely communication must be transparent, the eFundi LMS should be useful to students and it should be interactive in nature in order to facilitate two-way communication. The Faculty of Arts as was used as a case study in order to investigate the nature of the use of the eFundi LMS as a relationship-building tool in the Faculty. The success of the eFundi LMS as a relationship-building tool lies in the way it is used to facilitate two-way communication, pointing indirectly to the implementation of the available functionalities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven lecturers from each of the schools within the Faculty and group-administered questionnaires were spread among the lecturers' classes in order to determine their opinions regarding the use of the eFundi LMS as a relationship-building tool within the Faculty. This study found that participating lecturers from the Faculty of Arts don‟t use the eFundi LMS primarily to build relationships with their students, but rather as an information depositing platform as well as a way of testing students' knowledge. Lecturers mostly prefer communications such as e-mail to communicate with students and in the Faculty there is a strong culture of interpersonal communication between students and lecturers. Students mentioned that they find the eFundi LMS useful and that it helps them to develop new skills and knowledge required for the module. Currently most of the students only receive sources of information or documents from the lecturers and it is the primary reason what students use the eFundi LMS for. Students have indicated that they believe that strong relationships with their lecturers are needed for successful learning, and that two-way communication is needed. They indicated that they believe that the eFundi LMS can indeed facilitate two-way communication between them and their lecturers, as well as with fellow students. It was clear from the study that students' use of eFundi LMS's functionalities, especially those that facilitate interactivity, depend on the lecturers‟ use thereof. If lecturers do not use functionalities that can facilitate two-way communication, nor initiate or encourage communication with students and among students, students will also not communicate with lecturers and fellow students. This implies an impoverished learning experience for students. Several recommendations were made to make the eFundi LMS as relationship-building tool more effective.
- Humanities