Global Advanced Research Journal of Educational Research and Reviews (GARJERR) ISSN: 2315-5132

June 2013, 2(6): pp. 131-138

Copyright © 2013 Global Advanced Research Journals

 

Review

Assessing student support services quality in Open and Distance Learning (ODL): a leaner perspective at Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) - Manicaland Region

Stephen Mwenje and Kenneth Saruchera

Regional Quality Assurance Coordinator-Zimbabwe Open University.

Regional Director-Zimbabwe Open University.

*Corresponding author Email:Stephen.mwenje@gmail.com

Accepted 03 June, 2013

Abstract

Monitoring and assessing quality of student support services in Open and distance learning (ODL) is increasingly becoming critical for ODL systems seeking to reach out to more students and maintain high levels of student retention. While many (ODL) systems in the developed world have methods of assessing student service quality in their respective environments, the (ODL) context in the developing world is facing constraints in defining and determining quality of learner support services that satisfy their students. With the proliferation of many ‘for-profit’ (ODL) providers reaching out to potential students in the third world, students as customers now have options to choose which institutions to study with. It is therefore critical for third world (ODL) systems particularly in the Sub-Saharan Africa to effectively monitor and evaluate the quality of student services in the light of environmental complexity and high student expectations. This paper sought to find out how students’ satisfaction and expectations on service quality can be applied as constructs in assessing quality of student services at the Zimbabwe Open University -Manicaland Region. A customer focused situational analysis of service quality in tutorial, ICT, library and accounts and administrative service departments was done using a case study methodology that used focus group discussions, ‘customer feedback’ questionnaires and interviews as main data collection instruments. Data was collected from students who came for services at the regional centre during the semester. The study was able to determine students’ levels of satisfaction and expectations on the quality of service delivery. The study recommends use of customer focused strategies in assessing student service quality in (ODL). These strategies must be applied in natural settings that allow students to express their sincere satisfaction and expectations during the service delivery process. 

Keywords: Student support service; service quality.

 

 

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