Blended Learning to Support a Diverse Graduate Cohort During Campus Disruptions: Barrier or Blessing?

Ingrid Le Roux
University of Pretoria, South Africa

Lynette Nagel
University of pretoria, South Africa


Higher education the world over requires support in order to ensure that it survives current turbulent times (Schreiber, Moja, & Luescher, 2016). Student protests and violence have caused closure of campus for students at the University of Pretoria for extended periods during 2016 in order to protect people and property. These circumstances necessitated instruction to a change from only on-campus to larger components of online instruction in order to safeguard completion of studies. While this study explores the experience of a cohort of graduate students, it was envisaged that the learning challenges could increase, as graduate students were often diverse in background, previous learning and experience in diverse employment sectors. They faced unique, yet significant challenges that needed to be addressed with appropriate support. A new approach to graduate studies was necessary with blended learning as a potential vehicle to achieve continuity. What was not known is how ready the graduate students in an entrepreneurship course were for their Masters’ studies, or how they experienced the involuntary blended learning approach that was implemented in 2016.

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