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Doctoral defence of Mzomwe Yahya Mazana, MSc, 27.3.2024: Mathematics teaching and learning activity model for blended instruction in Tanzanian higher education

The doctoral dissertation in the field of Computer Science will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology online.

What is the topic of your doctoral research? Why is it important to study the topic?

This study develops a blended learning (BL)-based mathematics instructional model for Tanzania. The proposed BL model investigates how adjusting contextual factors like ICT tools, collaborative learning with metacognitive activities, and local culture improves student motivation and performance. Mathematics instruction should help students understand the subject and prepare them for exams; therefore, improving their performance is crucial. 

However, evidence suggests that first-year undergraduates struggle with mathematics, despite years of basic and secondary education. Research indicates that lecturers' strategies influence student learning. In Tanzania, teacher-centered strategies during mathematics teaching and learning in higher education, using lectures and study notes, are the norm, however evidence suggests that these strategies are not optimal. 

The global economy mandates that educational courses shift from traditional teaching approaches to curriculum revisions that equip communities with information and skills to tackle challenges. Blended learning (BL) is a combination of in-person classroom education and e-learning that could make mathematics instruction more student-centered while also increasing academic achievement and motivation.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

The main results of the study reveal that the contextual factors BL model implementation has the potential to improve students’ motivation and academic achievement as well as their learning experience and attitude toward mathematics. The study also highlights that factors that contribute to students’ improved motivation toward mathematics learning are cultural, technological, and instructional in nature. This study demonstrated the necessity for contextually based integrated learning environments in Tanzanian mathematics education.

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

The current study’s findings are used to inform the actualisation of math education design principles and the creation of a set of guiding principles for practical classroom implementation. This collection of principles and guidelines will be useful in developing BL environments for higher education-level mathematics in Tanzania and perhaps in other countries that share a similar culture.

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

This study adopted a design-based approach (DBR) because it is optimal for empirical investigations that aim to yield contextualised theories of learning and teaching as well as practical solutions for tackling learning challenges. DBR uses research methods that combine qualitative and quantitative data, as well as design methods, to create, test, and change an intervention. 

Therefore, a mixture of methods, such as experiments, surveys, and interviews, were employed. Initially, in the analysis of the practical problems, we conducted interviews and surveys with teachers and students at all levels of education. Then experiments were conducted with bachelor's degree students at one higher education institution in Tanzania.

The doctoral dissertation of MSc Mzomwe Yahya Mazana, MSc, entitled Mathematics Teaching and Learning Activity Model for Blended Instruction in Tanzanian Higher Education will be examined at the Faculty of Science, Forestry and Technology, online. The opponent will be Professor David Holgate, University of Western Cape, South Africa, and the custos will be Professor Markku Tukiainen University of Eastern Finland. Language of the public defence is English.

For more information, please contact: 

Mzomwe Yahya Mazana,, tel. +255 655 577 173