Influence of Tutors’ Instructional Practices on Students’ Academic Achievement in Distance Education Programme in the University of Cape Coast, Ghana
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Distance education has become an important complement of providing access to quality tertiary education. It is used as a means to build capacity worldwide through the use of technologies, either print, electronic or combination of them. Despite its prominence, distance education delivery has problems that raise issues of quality. This study sought to: assess the extent to which tutors‟ direct teaching practices influence students‟ academic achievement; establish the extent to which tutors‟ class climate management influence students‟ academic achievement; assess tutors‟ motivational teaching practices‟ influence on students‟ academic achievement and assess the usefulness of the modules and its influence on students‟ academic achievement on the distance education programme of University of Cape Coast (UCC), Ghana. The study hinged on the constructivist theory and employed the embedded mixed-method design which is a strand of the quantitative and qualitative method that integrates into a single study. The study was conducted in 23 study centres of the College of Distance Education, UCC, Ghana. The target population for the study was 6,313 made up of 5,644 Diploma in Basic Education Students, 661 tutors, a Provost, 4 Heads of departments (HoDs) and 3 Regional coordinators. Proportionate stratified sampling and simple random sampling procedures were used to select Students and tutors. The Provost, 4 Heads of department, 3 Regional coordinators were selected by purposive sampling. A sample size of 373 students and 249 tutors were used for the study. A questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data from tutors and students while the interview schedule was used to gather qualitative data from the Provost, Heads of departments and Regional coordinators. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results from Standard Multiple Regression Analysis revealed that tutors‟ direct teaching practices (p=.000<0.05, R2 = 47.5%), class climate management (p=.000< 0.05, R2 = 47.3%) and tutors‟ motivational practices (p = .000<0.05, R2 =.50.0%) were found as significant predictors, of students‟ academic performance in the Distance Education Programme in University of Cape Coast. Perceived model usefulness was also found as a significant predictor of students‟ academic performance at (p =.000 < 0.05, R2 = 21.5%). The implication is that means all these factors can predict improvement in students‟ academic achievement. Therefore, the study concluded that tutors‟ instructional practices significantly influenced students‟ academic achievement at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. The study further revealed instructional challenges such as delays in module supply, poor students preparation before interaction; students‟ misbehaviour during instruction; lack of resources affecting tuition; and difficulty of making changes to facts and limited policy information. The study recommends that the Training and Development Section of the university should train tutors on instructional practices to sustain delivery skills to improve students‟ academic performance.