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Promising outcomes of an online course in research writing at a Rwandan university

Issue: 38(3) August 2012. Original articles Pages 60 – 64

Ravi Murugesan
AuthorAID Training Coordinator, International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), 60 St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1ST, UK; ravi@uwalumni.com

Abstract

Background: Researchers in developing countries often do not have access to training on research writing. The purpose of this study was to test whether researchers in Rwanda might complete and benefit from a pilot online course in research writing.
Methods: The pilot course was set up on Moodle, an opensource online learning environment, and facilitated by the author. The lessons and assignment were spread over six weeks, followed by a two-week extension period. Twentyeight faculty members of the National University of Rwanda enrolled themselves in the course.
Results: Twenty-five of the 28 learners completed the course.
After the course, these learners expressed high satisfaction, eg, 24 of them felt that they were ready to write a Research paper for publication.
Conclusion: The high completion rate (89%) is noteworthy for two reasons: e-learning courses tend to have lower completion rates than classroom courses, and 76% of the learners in the pilot course had not taken an e-learning course before. This result and the positive feedback indicate
that online courses can benefit researchers in developing countries who may not have access to classroom courses on research writing.

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