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Article
SWOT Analysis of Blended Learning in Public
Universities of Uganda: A Case Study of
Muni University
Guma Ali 1, * , Bosco Apparatus Buruga 2
1
2
*
and Taban Habibu 1
Department of Computer and Information Science, Muni University, Arua 00256, Uganda;
[email protected]
Library and Information Services, Muni University, Arua 00256, Uganda; [email protected]
Correspondence: [email protected]; Tel.: +256-779-59-7131
Received: 15 July 2019; Accepted: 20 August 2019; Published: 3 October 2019
Abstract: With the fusion of information communication technology (ICT) in higher institutions
of learning, new teaching and learning practices have developed—often called blended
learning—allowing students and teachers to interact with information and each other more
independently. This study, therefore, analyses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
(SWOT) of blended learning in the Public Universities of Uganda, in a case study of Muni University.
Descriptive survey design was employed in the research. The target sample of the survey was
25 lecturers and 189 students selected using a stratified random sampling technique from the three
faculties. A questionnaire was employed in this study and the data collected were analyzed using
SPSS Version 25. The findings of the study identified accessibility, positive attitude, and knowledge
and skills as the major motivators for blended learning. The strengths of blended learning found
included serving many students in a short time, university readiness, connected both in and out of
class, basic IT skills and top management commitment. The weaknesses included low bandwidth
and unstable internet, lack of a plagiarism tool, insufficient numbers of computers and dependent
on internet connectivity. Opportunities cited were competency-based systems that made it easier to
manage individual progress in line with university expansion plans, an accessible way of learning
regardless of location and available external support. The threats included unreliable power supply,
unreliable internet connection, exchanges of username and passwords by students, internet shorthand
used in student assignments. Based on these results, the study provides a baseline to help government
and public universities that would like to implement or newly incorporate blended learning to identify
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the blended learning approach.
The survey urges that plagiarism plugins for Moodle and BigBlue Button should be added, steady
power supply should be provided, internet accessibility should be improved, blended learning
training and workshops need to be improved and finally, policies, rules and standards pertaining to
blended learning should be enacted.
Keywords: SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis; blended learning;
public universities
1. Introduction
With the fusion of information communication technology (ICT) in higher institutions of learning,
new teaching and learning practices have developed—often called blended learning—allowing students
and teachers to interact with information and each other more independently of both place and time by
the lowering of information friction. Blended learning is introduced in most educational institutions as
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a new educational approach to substitute e-learning [1]. It has become the most popular educational
model that universities apply to teaching and learning [2].
According to Allison and Rebecca [3], “blended learning is a method of learning that integrates
formal and informal learning, face-to-face and online experiences, directed paths and reliance on
self-management, and digital references and collegial connections, to achieve the goals of an individual
and the governing body” (p. 2). Ricky et al. [4] added that blended learning requires a good balance
of face-to-face contact and online time and a range of pedagogical practices such as flipping and
self-regulated learning for actual teaching and learning. Oweis [1] further observed that blended
learning combines both direct and indirect forms of online learning that normally contains the internet
and intranet, whereas indirect learning happens concurrently within traditional categories.
There are many benefits of using blended learning, for example, it offers flexibility and efficiency,
enhanced social interaction, communication and collaboration, lower student dropout, encourages
students to use their out of classroom time in meaningful activities, more productive classroom
interactions, provides individual learning opportunities for both students and lecturers, thus supporting
more self-regulated learning [4–10]. It is cost-effective [11,12], enhancing learning [13,14], increased
convenience and access to learning opportunities, more focus on learner-centered learning, emphasize
peer-to-peer learning and interaction with remote experts [15]. It also offers consistent and updated
messages to both scholars and lecturers, improves lecturers and students’ performance and controls
costs, converges learning and study, and is a solution to classroom insufficiency [16–18].
Proper planning in the implementation of blended learning will complement the existing
formal means of teaching, learning, assessment and educational administration and management in
higher education.
In Uganda, there are eleven (11) public universities, thirty-eight (38) private universities, four
(4) military universities and three (3) other degree-awarding institutions. Some public universities in
Uganda such as Makerere University, Kyambogo University, Makerere University Business School,
Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Muni University, Gulu University, Uganda Management
Institute adopted blended learning, but some challenges led to low adoption rates, abandonment
and even the failure of some blended learning projects. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities,
and threats) analysis of blended learning has not been ascertained in these public universities of
Uganda. Thus, this work aims to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of
blended learning in Muni University, one of the public universities where students and lecturers are
direct actors in implementing blended learning in their daily educational practices. The findings of
the study will help the government and public universities identify and build upon their strengths,
discover new opportunities and work upon eliminating threats to blended learning. To accomplish
this aim, the study tried to answer the following questions:
RQ1. What are the factors influencing students and lecturers’ intention to use blended learning?
RQ2. What are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of blended learning in
Muni University as one of the public universities of Uganda?
In the next section, the relevant literature on factors influencing students and lecturers’ intention to
use blended learning and SWOT analysis of blended learning are covered. The third section discusses
the materials and methods used in the study. In Section 4, we provide the overview of the analysis
of the results. In Section 5, we give a detailed discussion of the results. These are followed by the
limitations, conclusion and then recommendations.
2. Related Work
2.1. Blended Learning in Uganda
In Uganda, blended learning has been adopted in some public universities like Makerere
University, Kyambogo University, Makerere University Business School, Mbarara University of Science
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and Technology, Muni University, Gulu University and the Uganda Management Institute but many
challenges led to low adoption rates and the failure of the projects.
Muni University (MU) as a case for this study is a public university that was set up in Arua District,
West Nile in the Northern Region of Uganda in 2013 by an Act of Parliament [19]. It is a degree-granting
institution, licensed by the Uganda National Council for Higher Education (UNCHE) with the
primary aims of supplying quality education, generating knowledge and promoting innovations and
community empowerment for transformation [19]. Presently, the university has three Faculties, that is,
Faculty of Technoscience (with departments of Computer and Information Science (CIS), Nursing and
Midwifery, and Agriculture), Faculty of Science (with Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Biology,
and Mathematics), and Faculty of Education (with Department of Education).
MU, since its inception, has seen a significantly high number of students and fewer staff members
with heavy workloads. It is university policy that before a new student or the existing one is registered
in a semester, they must have either a laptop or a tablet. It is against this ground that the need to
develop blended learning became relevant. The accessibility of ICT made it possible for the university
to teach all programs using a blended learning approach.
With the support of the government of Uganda and the African Development Bank Higher
Education, Science and Technology (ADB V—HEST), the university trained teaching staff on how to
develop teaching and learning content and use the Moodle platform.
Limited research has been carried out to analyze the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats (SWOT) of blended learning in public universities as reflected in a low number of published
articles [20]. Many of the available articles are publications on SWOT analyses of e-learning. This work
therefore, reviews the available literature related to blended learning, guided by the following
sub-headings—factors influencing students and lecturers’ intention to use blended learning, and SWOT
analysis of blended learning.
2.2. Factors Influencing Students and Lecturers’ Intention to Use Blended Learning
Some factors have been identified from the literature reviewed to have influenced students and
lecturers’ intention to use blended learning. They include the following:
2.2.1. Resources
Basheka, Lubega, and Baguma [21], Ying and Yang [22], suggest that for a successful
implementation of blended learning, institutions are required to provide key resources like technological
infrastructure (hardware and software) and human resources (academic staff with the necessary
qualifications, accomplishments, and experience; as well as continuous training). Relatedly, Chen and
Yao [23], Mozelius and Hettiarachchi [24] emphasized the need for technology that should blend with
traditional learning which acts as a critical factor in the implementation [25,26]. In addition to that,
expert support for students and instructors plays a critical role [27].
2.2.2. Instructional Course Design
An instructional course design should consequently be developed to support knowledge
transmission and skills acquisition [28]. The appropriate course design has to include relevant
multimodal technology didactics that support collaboration and active learning for successful course
outcomes. A study by Garner and Rouser [29] recommended a balance between traditional face-to-face
activities that offer a richness of human interaction and applied science-enhanced online activities.
The course structure is a critical factor related to learners’ understanding of collaborative learning
and satisfaction [30]. Consequently, the course design influences student satisfaction and perceived
learning [31].
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2.2.3. Motivation
Motivation plays a substantial part in the success of any learning system applied. This should be
taken by both the faculty members and learners [22]. This idea was supported by Reference [32] where
they indicated that “motivation is a vital element in the success of blended learning.” They thought
that posting students’ grades daily and setting them in teams helps to motivate them. This is coherent
with the findings of References [8,33,34] who added that these strategies lead towards maintaining
student motivation for learning and absorbing them in blended learning classes.
2.2.4. Teacher Competence
Snježana [35] and Kim and Bonk [26] point out that teachers’ competencies in computer literacy,
working with e-learning systems, utilizing the instructional design model, online moderating, online
mentoring and quality literacy motivates them to use blended learning as easily as their learners.
Gautreau [36] observed that a computer literate person is more likely to try out new software and
his level of experience in working with learning management systems (LMS) will be a prevailing
motivator. The competences of the lecturers are a significant factor influencing students and lecturers
to use blended learning [25].
2.2.5. Attitude and Values
Renzi [37] also found that a teacher’s attitude and values are an important motivating factor in
the application of e-learning competence and it is well recognized that teachers get motivated to apply
e-learning technology at different tiers based on e-learning values. Successful adoption of e-learning
technology by students and teachers depend on their attitude towards technology [38]. Attitude and
values such as trialability, ease of use, result demonstrability, observability, compatibility, usefulness,
relative advantage and flexibility motivate learners to use blended learning [36].
2.2.6. Institutional Factors
Snježana [36] pointed out that institutional factors as critical extrinsic motivational factors
influencing academic teacher’s acceptance of e-learning technology. Institutional factors such as
capacity and reliability of the ICT infrastructure, perceived adequacy of funding (e.g., technical,
pedagogical, personnel), availability of information, changes in structure, policies and organizational
culture, level of organizational learning, teachers’ academic freedom, time, organizational culture of
teaching work overload, question of property, required resources, professional growth and management
reward and encouragement system and recognition of accomplishment motivates learners to use
blended learning [35].
2.2.7. Communication
According to King and Arnold [32], good communication is a vital component for the successful
implementation of blended learning. The way lecturers set up courses in blended learning helps
students to build communities both online and in class. Garrison and Vaughan [39] further observed
that these communities are important in blended courses because students rarely meet face-to-face
every week as they behave in traditional courses. King and Arnold [32] further identified two types of
communication that worked for the courses in blended learning, that is, communication between the
lecturer and the students and discussion boards for the students. Since students meet in class half of
the time, a good system for communicating must be set up in the LMS [32].
2.2.8. Didactics
Didactics refer to all kinds of teaching, studying and learning processes [40]. Mozelius and
Hettiarachchi [24] point out that one of the most often mentioned reasons for implementing blended
learning is the possibility of more effective pedagogical practices. They recommended that the
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online component of blended learning should rather focus on didactics in a mix of ideas from
social-constructivist and cognitive-behaviorist pedagogical models. Furthermore, students need to feel
confident that teachers’ feedback to concerns, assessment outcomes and guidance should be timely
and responsive [32].
2.2.9. Course Outcomes
To achieve maximum outcomes of blended learning, the approach should generally concentrate
on learning results [41,42] and blended learning design should start by identifying key learning
outcomes [39,42]. Parker, Maor and Herrington [43], Garner and Rouse [29] suggested that active
engagement, collaboration, and social presence between learners and lecturers be encouraged for
successful learning outcomes to be attained. In addition to that, instructor expertise, students’
perceived task value and achievement goals are the most significant elements to achieve learner
satisfaction [44]. Furthermore, the student view on collaborative learning in a blended environment
has strong relationships with student satisfaction [30].
2.2.10. Policy
Successful adoption of blended learning requires a policy. This will help the institution to gain
from blended learning investment and in guiding the essential changes in an institution as well as
individual staff practices [21]. In addition to that, the policy will help in the enforcement of all lecturers
to consider rationing portion of their teaching and learning both face-to-face and online.
For the easy implementation of blended learning, other key factors to consider include the
cost-effectiveness to higher education and companies that design blended learning platforms [26,45],
accessibility and flexibility of blended learning platforms, technical ability and training [4,22].
2.3. The SWOT Analysis of Blended Learning
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. “SWOT Analysis is a simple
but powerful tool for sizing up an organization’s resource capability and deficiencies, its market
opportunities, and the external threats to its future” [46] (p. 97). According to Dyson [47], once internal
factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) are recognized,
strategies can be developed to improve on the strengths, eradicate the weaknesses, take advantage of
the opportunities and control the threats. SWOT is an important tool for examining the perceptions of
students and lecturers towards blended learning. The results of SWOT analysis will help the university
to attain its objectives and identify the hindrances that must be minimized to achieve the desired
outcomes of blended learning.
2.3.1. Strengths
Offers Flexibility and Efficiency
The offline and online options available for the LMS allows learners to access learning resources
with limited internet connectivity. Azizan [6] opined that such systems promote flexibility and efficiency
in determining where the learners access various learning resources from the internet and intranet.
Such learning content according to [6] includes videos, e-library (e-books, e-journals and databases)
and lecture notes. These flexibilities of the system open doors for instructors to increase their capacity
of learning and learners to minimize costs. Winterstein et al. [7], Ho et.al. [8], Vaughan [48] also
observed that blended learning increases the flexibility of learning time and place. It permits flexibility
and self-regulation learning among learners and instructors [4,9].
Enhanced Social Interaction, Communication, and Collaboration
Blended learning can connect people, activities and events through the use of technology and the
collaboration between learners and instructors, and learners with fellow learners may form virtual
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communities and conducive learning atmosphere where they can exchange and value knowledge,
thoughts, experience and other learning products [6]. In reinforcement of this argument, Reference [4]
asserted that blended learning leads to the establishment of a community of practice. Likewise, Bernard
et al. [10] added that blended learning facilitates student interaction (i.e., with other students, content,
and teachers). Rossett and Frazee [5] also stated that blended learning can create dialogue outside
of the classroom among students and teachers with the help of tools such as discussions, chats and
forums. This made the classroom interactions more productive through pre-work.
Cost-Effectiveness
Since blended learning combines both online and offline teaching and learning, it has the potential
to balance out and lessen the price and time of program growth and deployment [11]. This is in
line with the work of Reference [6] who observed that blended learning combines different delivery
modes that balance out and improve the development and implementation costs and time. Although
Reference [11] observed that an online, web-based training content may be excessively expensive to
produce but combining with face-to-face sessions may make learning effective for remote learners
and lecturers.
Enhancing Learning
According to Snipes [13], blended learning is important in improving the retention of concepts
learned and performance of learning tasks. Winterstein et al. [7] noted that e-learning as an element of
blended learning can complement traditional lectures, by improving the learning experience of both
teachers and students. It assists learners to fit different learning styles and foster self-management of
studies [4,8,48]. Research has found out that blended learning, when implemented well, can contribute
to higher grades among learners as compared to traditional classroom setting [14]. With online quizzes,
students can distinguish those fields that require to be reviewed and can conveniently access their
scores in the online Gradebook [15].
Ho et.al. [8] mentioned that courses conducted via blended learning seem to have lower dropout,
reduce the duration of the actual classroom time hence reducing exhaustion, encourage students to
utilize their classroom time in significant activities, classroom interactions are more productive [5,48]
and provide individual learning opportunities for both learners and instructors, thus supporting more
self-regulated learning [7].
2.3.2. Weaknesses
Resource Intensive
Cucciare, Weingardt and Villafranca [12] observed that blended learning systems require more
resources like trainers, hardware, software, money and time for developing the system and learning
content as compared to traditional forms of teaching. Rossett and Frazee [5] further added that both
software and hardware are expensive. This is in line with the findings of [49–51] who identified the
challenges of having appropriate infrastructure like websites and lack of technical dedicated experts
required to implement the blended learning system. Lastly, high maintenance cost is yet another
concern [1].
Dealing with Technical Issues
Sabri et al. [18] observed some challenges to deal with computer-related and technical issues
when using blended learning. Some of these issues include difficulties in uploading course materials
and slow internet accessibility. Learners complained about the rampant interruption sessions during
online assessments and online discussion due to these technical inconveniences [18]. This confirms
what is reported in the studies of References [5,49–52] about the poor internet speed and connectivity
and inadequate support services offered to blended learners.
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Digital Divide
The blended learning approach is technology dependent and thus many developing countries
are still struggling to close the digital divide. As expressed by Reference [45], implementing blended
learning is not easy for many nations around the world because of different social-economic situations.
In the view of Reference [5], conducting online assessments is reliant on expensive technology that
may be available or not to all campus students. Another deterrent to such a technology-dependent
learning approach is the inconsistent power supply [49–52].
The Loss in a Classroom Community
Graham [45] says that students in higher education should be given the prerogative to choose
between face-to-face settings, online or blended learning in their class. The reasons why learners might
select instructional mode is because they trust that traditional classroom setting is better at creating
social interaction, support mutual teamwork, building social-emotional relations and improve learning
process with their peers [53]. He further supplemented that in blended learning, learners may not
merely see the isolation of lively social interaction with peers but also be incapable of connecting with
their teachers.
Support and Training for Instructors and Learners
Abdul, Othman and Warris [16] observed that instructors require training so that they can
constantly alter their course content to satisfy the rapid changes in engineering and society needs.
The instructors call for IT experts to offer expert support in troubleshooting any computer related
troubles. Graham [45] noted that blended learning makes an extra workload for the teachers to discover
how to use blended learning technologies. Kajumbula and Tibaingana [49], Aguti [50], Bbuye [51]
observed that learners should be provided with computer-related and technological skills to succeed in
a blended learning setting because some students from different social, economic backgrounds might
be facing difficulties in accessing or adapting into the online learning component in blended learning
due to lack of IT skills and knowledge [52,53].
Other challenges that affect the effective delivery of blended learning include finding the right
blend, poor system management, fear or lack of confidence in using the LMS and technology, difficulty
in finding the appropriate model, measuring the impact of blended learning environment, quality
assurance, stress due to limited time on certain assignments and finally, plagiarism and credibility also
pose a major problem [1,5,49–52].
2.3.3. Opportunities
Extending the Reach and Mobility
With the rapid advancement of mobile and wireless technologies, teaching and learning can take
place anywhere and anytime. Consequently, blended learning technologies have made learning easy
and accessible and have also promoted rich and interactive learning experiences [6]. Singh [11] also
found out that applying a single method of teaching and learning limits the range and number of people
who can access the information. If such types of information can be posted on a blended learning
system, learners can easily access them at any time and location. Rossett and Frazee [5] observed that
uniform learning content can be given to on-campus students and international students who can
likewise use the system to easily post assignments online. Cucciare, Weingardt, and Villafranca [12]
noted that since blended learning contains different learning strategies, it bears the capability to gain
large numbers of individuals quickly via the internet with information that can be of benefit to learners.
The authors further added that when complementary training materials are offered, they can reach
many learners.
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Technology
According to Motschnig-Pitrik and Standl [54], Liebowitz and Frank [55], the expansion of
technology causes blended learning to produce a perfect learning environment for the development of
educational services. They claimed that there is a radical transformation of all prospects of education
as a consequence of technology dynamics.
Some of the opportunities of blended learning include the desire by universities to extend their
student population, external funding in training staff on professional competencies of using e-learning
and providing ICT infrastructure [25], increasing the market need for e-learning services [56].
2.3.4. Threats
Low Bandwidth and Unstable Internet
The effective deployment and implementation of blended learning requires robust network
connectivity for accessing learning content and connecting to online classes. Unfortunately, many
scholarly studies have found out that many developing countries have unreliable internet connectivity
and low internet bandwidth [1,18,25,52,57].
Unreliable Power Supply
Various research findings have identified inconsistent power supply as a major threat to technology/
ICT led learning [25,49–53]. According to Ndume, Tilya, and Twaakyondo [58] who conducted a study
in Tanzania, one of the developing nations in Africa, reported unstable power as a single of the greatest
obstacles to e-learning and contributing to the digital divide in Tanzania and Uganda.
Lack of Clear Policies and Legislation Regarding Blended Learning
Implementation of blended learning requires policies to be instituted to make it legal and
enforceable [59]. In this regard, Reference [21] recommended institutions aspiring to implement
blended learning to produce the proper policies to sustain the learning approach. The policy, according
to the authors, will lay out clear goals, execution plans and identify risk mitigation programs.
Unfortunately, Reference [59] pointed out the lack of policies and legislation supporting e-learning
and digital learning in many developing countries. Demiray [59] added that there is a need for a clear
stipulation in government policies and legislation regarding e-learning programs, lack of quality and
standard e-learning plans.
Rossett and Frazee [5] summarized other threats to blended learning as internet shorthand used
in student assignments, dependency on computers for spellings which probably deteriorate students’
knowledge of the English language, chat sessions while conducting online classes or assessments
proved to be a distraction, exchange of student ID and passwords to complete assignments for others
and increasing global and national competition to recruit students to study in fully blended learning
formats, particularly at the undergraduate level.
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Study Design
The study aimed at analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of blended
learning in MU as one of the public universities in Uganda. A survey study was conducted where
scenario-based questions were drafted and presented in questionnaires. A questionnaire was designed
and pre-tested with a few respondents to test the robustness. The outcomes of the pre-test were applied
to modify some questions. An evidence-based questionnaire was used in this field to obtain quantitative
information to serve the research questions—(a) what are the factors influencing students and lecturers’
intention to use blended learning? (b) what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
(SWOT) of blended learning at MU as one of the public universities in Uganda? A descriptive design
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was applied in the research because it examines the beliefs, positions, behaviors and habits of members
of a target audience. The study was accepted by the review committee of ethics.
3.2. Sample Technique
The participants of the research study were the students and lecturers of MU as one of the public
universities in Uganda implementing blended learning. Stratified random sampling was employed to
make a more precise, accurate and better estimate of the population. The sample size for the survey
was determined using the Krejcie and Morgan table and formula [60].
3.3. Data Collection and Analysis
A structured questionnaire was organized into four (4) parts—the social demographic characteristic
of respondents, such as the respondent’s gender, faculty, department and blended learning experience.
These characteristics served as moderating variables. The second part covered the skills in using blended
learning; the third part was a five-point Likert scale about factors influencing students and lecturers’
intention to use blended learning and finally, the fourth part covered, the strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of blended learning. Both open and closed-ended questions
were utilized for the survey. The data were analyzed using SPSS version 25. For a five-point Likert
scale data, results for the mean (M) above 3 were deemed significant.
4. Results
The empirical findings of this study are structured into four sections to provide answers to the
research questions as analyzed below:
4.1. Social Demography Characteristic
In a population of five-hundred fifty (N = 550) that is, 500 students and 50 lecturers, stratified
random sampling was employed and a sample of 261, that is, 217 students and 44 lecturers were
selected from each stratum using the Krejcie and Morgan table and formula. Questionnaires were
designed and administered to each group. A total of 214 (82.0%) fully completed questionnaires
were returned, of which 189 (87.1%) were filled by students and 25 (56.8%) by lecturers respectively.
This gave a response rate of 82.0%.
Seventy-two point five percent of the respondents were male and 27.5% were female in case of the
students; 80.0% and 20.0% were male and female in case of the lecturers as shown in Figure 1a; 74.1%
of the students belong to the faculty of technoscience and 25.9% to faculty of science, while 68.0%
and 32.0% of lecturers belong to faculty of technoscience and faculty of science as shown in Figure 1b.
Forty-six percent of students belong to the department of computer and information science, 25.9% in
education and 28.0% in nursing and midwifery, while 40.0%, 36.0%, 24.0% of the lecturers belong to the
departments of computer and information science, education and nursing and midwifery respectively
as shown in Figure 1c. The participants’ blended learning experiences were analyzed. The aim was
to ascertain whether the blended learning experience influences students and lecturers’ intention to
use the technology. Pertaining to the students blended learning experience, 33.3% reported that they
have used a blended learning system for a period of less than 1 year, 40.2% between 1–2 years, 26.5%
between 2–3 years and no student had used the blended learning for more than 3 years. In case of
lecturers, 52.0% used less than 1 year, 12.0% between 1–2 years, 12.0% between 2–3 years and 24.0%
for more than 3 years as indicated in Figure 1d. The findings from the analysis are summarized in
Figure 1 below:
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than 3 years. In case of lecturers, 52.0% used less than 1 year, 12.0% between 1–2 years, 12.0% between
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2 and 24.0% for more than 3 years as indicated in Figure 1d. The findings from the analysis
419
2–3
years
are summarized in Figure 1 below:
Figure
1. Respondents’
Respondents’
social
demography
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d; (b)
Facilities; (c)
Figure 1.
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Fifty-twoFifty-two
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84.0% canskills,
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can92.0%
enroll
can upload course materials, 88.0% can set and mark online assignments, tests and quizzes, 88.0% can
students, 92.0% can upload course materials, 88.0% can set and mark online assignments, tests and
participate in an online discussion with students and 72.0% can send a course feedback message to
quizzes, 88.0% can participate in an online discussion with students and 72.0% can send a course
students. Thus, the university needs to train both students and lecturers on blended learning so that
feedback message to students. Thus, the university needs to train both students and lecturers on
they can fully take part in the scheme.
blended learning so that they can fully take part in the scheme.
S/N
S/N
Table 1. Respondents’ blended learning skills.
Table 1. Respondents’ blended learning skills.
Students
Skills of Blended Learning
Students
Skills of Blended Learning
Yes
No
Yes
No
11
Need
training
skills
Need
training
skills
48.1%
48.1% 51.9%
51.9%
22
Can
Cando
doenrollment/self-enrollment
enrollment/self-enrollment
86.2%
86.2% 13.8%
13.8%
33
44
55
66
Can access
upload
course
materials
Can
accessand
and
upload
course
materials 80.4%
80.4% 19.6%
19.6%
Can
submit/set
assignment,
tests,
and
quizzes
81.5%
18.5%
Can submit/set assignment, tests, and quizzes
81.5%
18.5%
Can
participate
in
online
discussions
67.7%
32.3%
Can participate in online discussions
67.7%
32.3%
Can
senda acourse
course
feedback
message 66.1%
66.1% 33.9%
33.9%
Can send
feedback
message
J 2019, 2, Firstpage-Lastpage; doi:
Lecturers
Lecturers
Yes
No
Yes
No
52.0%
48.0%
52.0% 48.0%
84.0%
16.0%
84.0% 16.0%
92.0%
8.0%
92.0% 8.0%
88.0%
12.0%
88.0%
12.0%
88.0%
12.0%
88.0%
12.0%
72.0%
28.0%
72.0%
28.0%
www.mdpi.com/journal/j
J 2019, 2
420
4.3. Factors Influencing Students and Lecturers’ Intention to Use Blended Learning
The study sought to establish the perceptions of respondents regarding factors influencing students
and lecturers’ intention to use blended learning. The percentages, mean, and standard deviations were
computed to provide insight in this respect. The findings are as shown in Table 2 below.
Table 2. Factors influencing students and lecturers’ intention to use blended learning.
No
Factors
VL
L
A
H
VH
Mean
Std Dev
1
Accessibility within and outside the university
12.7
6.3
20.1
21.7
39.2
3.68
1.378
2
Positive attitude towards using blended learning
5.3
9.0
26.5
31.2
28.0
3.68
1.133
3
Knowledge and skills
2.1
9.5
31.7
32.8
23.8
3.67
1.011
4
Favorable learning environment
1.6
12.2
31.7
34.9
19.6
3.59
0.989
5
Perceived usefulness
5.8
12.7
24.3
39.2
18.0
3.51
1.014
6
Perceived quality content
2.6
11.1
34.9
35.4
15.9
3.51
0.976
7
Awareness and adaptation
6.3
7.9
37.0
26.5
22.2
3.50
1.114
8
Good user interface
9.5
15.9
27.5
23.8
23.3
3.35
1.262
9
Perceived ease of usage
7.9
15.9
32.3
25.4
18.5
3.31
1.176
10
Perceived resources
7.9
15.9
29.6
31.2
15.3
3.30
1.148
11
Self-management of learning
5.3
18.5
34.9
25.4
15.9
3.28
1.102
12
Previous experience
14.8
14.8
29.1
24.3
16.9
3.14
1.285
Where VL—Very Low, L—Low, A—Average, H—High, and VH—Very High.
The majority of the respondents agreed that the factors in Table 2 influence their intention to use
blended learning. These factors include the accessibility of blended learning within and outside the
university (M = 3.68, Std Dev = 1.133), positive attitude towards using blended learning (M = 3.68,
Std Dev = 1.133), knowledge and skills (M = 3.67, Std Dev = 1.011), favorable learning environment
(M = 3.59, Std Dev = 0.989), perceived usefulness (M = 3.51, Std Dev = 1.014), perceived quality content
(M = 3.51, Std Dev = 0.976), awareness and adaptation (M = 3.50, Std Dev = 1.114), good user interface
(M = 3.35, Std Dev = 1.262), perceived ease of use (M = 3.31, Std Dev = 1.176), perceived resources
(M = 3.30, Std Dev = 1.148), self-management of learning (M = 3.28, Std Dev = 1.102), and previous
experience (M = 3.14, Std Dev = 1.285).
4.4. SWOT Analysis of Blended Learning at Muni University
This study mainly focuses on the SWOT analysis of blended learning at MU as one of the
public universities in Uganda implementing blended learning. The perceptions of the respondents
regarding the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to blended learning at MU were
examined. Percentages, mean and standard deviation values were calculated to assist the researchers
in concluding in this respect. The findings from the analysis are as indicated in Tables.
4.4.1. Strengths of Blended Learning
As indicated in Table 3, respondents agreed that, serving many students in a short time (M = 4.36,
Std Dev = 0.757), university readiness to support and invest in blended learning project (M = 3.92,
Std Dev = 1.093), connected both in and out of class (M = 3.87, Std Dev = 1.127), basic IT skills
(M = 3.86, Std Dev = 0.943), top management commitment to implementing blended learning (M = 3.77,
Std Dev = 1.211), instant results and feedback (M = 3.65, Std Dev = 1.139), meaningful use of study
material (M = 3.65, Std Dev = 0.965) and independent learning (M = 3.59, Std Dev = 1.100) are the
strengths of blended learning.
J 2019, 2
421
Table 3. Strengths of blended learning.
No
Strengths
SD
D
N
A
SA
Mean
Std Dev
1
Serving many students in a short time
0.0
4.0
4.0
44.0
48.0
4.36
0.757
2
University readiness to support and invest
in blended learning project
4.2
4.8
24.3
28.6
38.1
3.92
1.093
3
Connected both in and out of class
5.8
6.9
14.8
39.2
33.3
3.87
1.127
4
Basic IT skills
1.6
7.4
20.6
44.4
25.9
3.86
0.943
5
Top management commitment to
implementing blended learning
7.4
9.5
14.3
36.5
32.3
3.77
1.211
6
Instant results and feedback
5.8
11.6
20.6
36.5
25.4
3.65
1.139
7
Meaningful use of study material
3.7
7.4
25.9
46.6
16.4
3.65
0.965
8
Independent learning
4.8
12.2
23.8
37.6
21.7
3.59
1.100
SD-Strongly Disagree, D—Disagree, U—Uncertain, A—Agree, and SA—Strongly Agree.
4.4.2. Weaknesses of Blended Learning
With Table 4, respondents agreed that low bandwidth and unstable internet (M = 4.33,
Std Dev = 1.180), lack of plagiarism tools to monitor the quality of student assignments (M = 4.27,
Std Dev = 1.147), insufficient numbers of computers (M = 4.08, Std Dev = 1.164), dependent on
internet connectivity (M = 3.89, Std Dev = 1.400), lack of commitment among staff and students to use
blended learning (M = 3.76, Std Dev = 1.301), limited competencies of staff on using blended learning
(M = 3.61, Std Dev = 1.277), stressful when time-limited assignments are given (M = 3.49, Std Dev
= 1.236), resistance of some students and lecturers to adopt change and new technology (M = 3.48,
Std Dev = 1.270), lack of awareness to implement blended learning (M = 3.47, Std Dev = 1.210), absence
of an up-to-date blended learning platform (M = 3.40, Std Dev = 1.340) and absence of university
policy on blended learning (M = 3.24, Std Dev = 1.199) are the weaknesses of blended learning.
Table 4. Weaknesses of blended learning.
No
Weaknesses
SD
D
N
A
SA
Mean
Std Dev
1
Low bandwidth and unstable internet
5.8
5.8
5.8
14.8
67.7
4.33
1.180
2
Lack of plagiarism tools to monitor the quality of
student assignments
6.3
3.2
7.9
22.2
60.3
4.27
1.147
3
Insufficient numbers of computers
5.8
5.8
11.1
28.6
48.7
4.08
1.164
4
Dependent on internet connectivity
11.6
7.9
10.1
20.6
49.7
3.89
1.400
5
Lack of commitment among staff and students to
use blended learning
7.4
13.8
13.2
26.5
39.2
3.76
1.301
6
Limited competencies of staff on using
blended learning
8.5
12.7
19.0
28.6
31.2
3.61
1.277
7
Stressful when time-limited assignments are given
9.0
14.3
18.0
36.5
22.2
3.49
1.236
8
The resistance of some students and lecturers’ to
adopt change and new technology
10.6
11.1
22.8
30.7
24.9
3.48
1.270
9
Lack of awareness to implement blended learning
6.9
15.9
24.3
29.1
23.8
3.47
1.210
10
Absence of an up-to-date blended
learning platform
10.1
19.6
18.0
24.9
27.5
3.40
1.340
11
Absence of university policy on blended learning
9.5
18.5
25.9
30.7
15.3
3.24
1.199
SD—Strongly Disagree, D—Disagree, U—Uncertain, A—Agree, and SA—Strongly Agree.
J 2019, 2
422
4.4.3. Opportunities for Blended Learning
Furthermore, in Table 5, the respondents agreed that competency-based systems that make it easier
to manage individual progress (M = 4.02, Std Dev = 0.994), in line with university expansion plans and
the growing trend towards blended learning adoption (M = 3.94, Std Dev = 0.971), the accessible way
of learning regardless of location (M = 3.92, Std Dev = 1.093), available external support of blended
learning specialists (M = 3.91, Std Dev = 1.056), and management support (M = 3.89, Std Dev = 1.026)
are the opportunities for blended learning.
Table 5. Opportunities for blended learning.
No
Opportunities
SD
D
N
A
SA
Mean
Std Dev
1
Competency-based systems that make it
easier to manage individual progress
3.2
6.9
8.5
47.6
33.9
4.02
0.994
2
In line with university expansion plans and
the growing trend towards blended
learning adoption
3.2
3.2
21.7
40.7
31.2
3.94
0.971
3
The accessible way of learning regardless
of location
5.3
4.8
18.0
37.0
34.9
3.92
1.093
4
Available external support of blended
learning specialists
3.7
7.4
15.9
40.2
32.8
3.91
1.056
Management support
4.2
6.3
13.8
47.1
28.6
3.89
1.026
5
SD—Strongly Disagree, D—Disagree, U—Uncertain, A—Agree, and SA—Strongly Agree.
4.4.4. Threats to Blended Learning
Finally, in Table 6, the researchers sought to establish respondents’ views on the threats to blended
learning. They identified the following as threats to blended learning—unreliable power supply
(M = 4.47, Std Dev = 1.003), unreliable internet connection (M = 4.36, Std Dev = 1.025), exchange
of username and passwords by students to complete assignments for others (M = 3.99, Std Dev =
1.151), internet shorthand used in student assignments (M = 3.85, Std Dev = 1.185), chat sessions and
other distractions (M = 3.79, Std Dev = 1.205), and dependency on computers for spellings probably
deteriorate student and lecturers’ knowledge of English language (M = 3.78, Std Dev = 1.209).
Table 6. Threats to blended learning.
No
Threats
SD
D
N
A
SA
Mean
Std Dev
1
Unreliable power supply
3.7
2.1
9.0
13.8
71.4
4.47
1.003
2
Unreliable internet connection
3.2
4.2
9.0
20.6
63.0
4.36
1.025
3
Exchange of username and passwords by
students to complete assignments for others.
4.8
7.4
15.3
28.6
43.9
3.99
1.151
4
Internet shorthand used in student
assignments
5.8
8.5
18.0
30.2
37.6
3.85
1.185
5
Chat sessions and other distractions
4.8
12.7
18.0
27.5
37.0
3.79
1.205
6
Dependence on computers for spellings
probably deteriorate their knowledge of the
English language.
6.3
10.1
18.0
30.7
34.9
3.78
1.209
SD—Strongly Disagree, D—Disagree, U—Uncertain, A—Agree, and SA—Strongly Agree.
The summary of the SWOT analysis is presented in Figure 2:
Dependence on computers for spellings
probably deteriorate their knowledge of
the English language.
6
6.3
10.1
18.0
30.7
34.9
3.78
1.209
SD—Strongly Disagree, D—Disagree, U—Uncertain, A—Agree, and SA—Strongly Agree.
J 2019, 2
423
The summary of the SWOT analysis is presented in Figure 2:
Figure 2.
2. Summary
findings
in the
strengths,
weaknesses,
opportunities
and threats
(SWOT)(SWOT)
Figure
Summaryofofthe
the
findings
in the
strengths,
weaknesses,
opportunities
and threats
analysis of blended learning at Muni University.
analysis of blended learning at Muni University.
Discussion
5.5.Discussion
The perception
perception ofof students
lecturers
remains
very very
important
in theinadoption
and
The
studentsand
and
lecturers
remains
important
the adoption
and
implementation
of
a
blended
learning
system.
Therefore,
the
main
aim
of
this
work
was
to
analyze
implementation of a blended learning system. Therefore, the main aim of this work was to analyze
the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of blended learning in MU one of the
the
strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of blended learning in MU one of the
public universities in Uganda. The focal point of the survey was to ascertain how MU students and
public universities in Uganda. The focal point of the survey was to ascertain how MU students
lecturers use blended learning platform and if the recommendation can improve the technology.
and lecturers use blended learning platform and if the recommendation can improve the technology.
Before analyzing the SWOT, there is a need to ascertain the factors that motivate participants to use
Before
analyzing
blended
learning. the SWOT, there is a need to ascertain the factors that motivate participants to use
blended
Thelearning.
finding from research Question 1, Table 2, shows that accessibility of blended learning
The
finding
from
research Question
1, Table
2, shows
that students
accessibility
of blended
learning
within and outside
the university
makes it the
best choice
for both
and lecturers
to use.
This within
and
outside
the
university
makes
it
the
best
choice
for
both
students
and
lecturers
to
use.
This
outcome is consistent with the study conducted by References [4,22] who noted that easy accessibilityoutcome
blended learning
andbylearning
easy;[4,22]
a positive
attitude
towards
using blended
isofconsistent
with themakes
study teaching
conducted
References
who noted
that
easy accessibility
of blended
learning makes
make students
system. attitude
This is in
line with
theblended
submissions
of make
learning
teaching and
and lecturers
learning use
easy;the
a positive
towards
using
learning
References
[35,37,38]
who
also
found
that
teachers’
attitudes
and
values
are
a
significant
motivating
students and lecturers use the system. This is in line with the submissions of References [35,37,38]
factor
in found
producing
and implementing
e-learning
knowledge
and skills
who
also
that teachers’
attitudes and
valuescompetence;
are a significant
motivating
factorininblended
producing and
learning are one of the elements that motivate students and lecturers. This finding is in conformity
implementing e-learning competence; knowledge and skills in blended learning are one of the elements
with what References [25,26,35,36] found as they noted that teachers’ competencies in computer
that motivate students and lecturers. This finding is in conformity with what References [25,26,35,36]
literacy, working with e-learning systems, applying the instructional design example, online
found
as they noted that teachers’ competencies in computer literacy, working with e-learning systems,
moderating, online mentoring and quality literacy motivates them to use blended learning; The
applying the instructional design example, online moderating, online mentoring and quality literacy
J 2019, 2, Firstpage-Lastpage; doi:
www.mdpi.com/journal/j
motivates
them to use blended learning; The respondents also noted that perceived
resources motivate
them to use the scheme. This finding is reported in other earlier studies conducted by References [21–27],
who believed that for a successful implementation of blended learning, requires putting in place key
resources such as the required technology infrastructure (hardware and software) and human resources
(academic staff) who possess the necessary qualifications, skills and experience, as well as continuous
training. Other factors include learning environment, perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, good
user interface, awareness and adaptation, self-management of learning and perceived quality content.
The study identified the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of blended learning
at MU.
Respondents
identified
the
following
as
strengths
of
blended
learning:
factors
include
learning
environment,
perceived
ease of
use,
perceived
usefulness,
good
user
reported
in other
earlier
studies
conducted
bythe
References
[21–27],
who
believed
that
for
aactions
successful
outside
ofof
the
classroom
among
students
and
teachers
with
the
help
of tools
such
as discussions,
the
work
References
[6,10]
who
state
that
blended
learning
can
connect
people,
and
interface,
awareness
and
adaptation,
self-management
of
learning
and
perceived
quality
content.
implementation
of
blended
learning,
requires
putting
in
place
key
resources
such
as
the
required
chats,
and
forums.
This
made
the
classroom
interactions
more
productive
through
pre-work;
outcomes
through
technology
and
the
interaction
between
learners
and
instructor,
as
well
as

Blended learning can serve many students in a short time, thus saving students time and
The
study
identified
the
strengths,
weaknesses,
opportunities
and
threats
of
blended
learning
at
technology
infrastructure
(hardware
and
software)
and
human
resources
(academic
staff)
who

There
is
flexibility
in
the
scheduling
of
classes.
This
result
is
logical
with
the
work
conducted
by
learners with
fellow and
scholars,
mayinteraction
build online
communities
exercises
where
they
enhancing
teaching
learning
between
readersand
andlearning
students.
This is in
line with
MU.
possess
the
necessary
qualifications,
skills
and
experience,
as
well
as
continuous
training.
Other
Reference
[6]References
where
it was
likewise
noted
blended
learning
combines
offline
and It
online
can
exchange
and value
knowledge,
thoughts,
experience
and can
other
learning
products.
isand
as
J 2019,the
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424
of
[6,10]
who state
thatthat
blended
learning
connect
people,
actions
Respondents
identified
the
following
as
the
strengths
of
blended
learning:
factors
include
learning
environment,
perceived
ease
of
use,
perceived
usefulness,
good
user
learning;
well
affirmed
by
Reference
[5]
where
it
was
noted
that
blended
learning
can
create
dialogue
through technology and the interaction between learners and instructor, as well424
as
J 2019,outcomes
2
interface,
and
adaptation,
self-management
learning
and
perceived
quality
content.
respondents
also
noted
that
perceived
resources
motivate
them
to
use
the
scheme.
This
finding
is
Withawareness
online
the
internet
provides
flexibility
and
efficiency
in
instruction
learning
outside
of
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classroom
among
students
and
teachers
with
the
help
of
tools
such
asand
discussions,
learners
with
fellow
scholars,
may
build
online
and
learning
exercises
where
they

Blended
learning
can
serve
many
students
incommunities
a of
short
time,
thus
saving
students
time
and
The
study
identified
the
strengths,
weaknesses,
opportunities
and
threats
of
blended
learning
at
reported
inand
other
earlier
studies
conducted
by References
[21–27],
who
believed
that
for
ainsuccessful
activities
which
canvalue
be conducted
viathoughts,
videos
orexperience
teleconference.
It is
aslearning
well
confirmed
byItother
chats,
forums.
This
made
the interaction
classroom
interactions
more
productive
through
can
exchange
and
knowledge,
and
other
products.
is as
enhancing
teaching
and
learning
between
readers
and
students.
This
ispre-work;
line
with
MU.
Respondents
identified
the
following
as
the
strengths
of
blended
learning:
implementation
of
blended
learning,
requires
putting
in
place
key
resources
such
as
the
required
researchers
such
as
[4,7–9,48]
where
it
was
identified
that
blended
learning
increases
the

There
is flexibility
in the[6,10]
scheduling
of classes.
This result
is logical
with
the can
work
conducted
by
well
affirmed
by Reference
[5]who
where
it that
wasblended
noted
that
blended
create
dialogue
the
work
of References
state
learning
canlearning
connect
people,
actions
and
Respondents
identified
the
following
as
the
strengths
of
blended
learning:
technology
infrastructure
(hardware
and
software)
and
human
resources
(academic
staff)
who
flexibility
of
and
place
and
permits
flexibility
and
self-regulation
learning
among
Reference
[6]learning
wheretechnology
ittime
was
likewise
noted
that
blended
learning
combines
offline
and
online
outside
of
the
classroom
among
students
and
teachers
with
the
help
of
tools
such
as
discussions,
outcomes
through
and
the
interaction
between
learners
and
instructor,
as
well
as
Blended learning can serve many students in a short time, thus saving students time and
possess
the
necessary
qualifications,
skills
and
experience,
as
well
as
continuous
training.
Other
learners
and
teachers;
learning;
chats,
and
forums.
This
made
the classroom
interactions
more
productive
through
learners
with
fellow
scholars,
may
build
online
learning
exercises
where
they

Blended
learning
can
serve
many
students
incommunities
a short
time,and
thus
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J 2019, 2
426
6. Limitations of the Study
The study was limited to only MU as one of the public universities in Uganda that implement
blended learning. It only involved a total of 25 lecturers and 189 students. The survey data are mainly
used for descriptive analysis regarding the current factors influencing students and lecturers intention
to use blended learning and the SWOT analysis of blended learning. The study did not investigate the
views of other stakeholders, such as university IT officers, university leaders and administrative staff.
The participation in the filling in of the questionnaire was mainly voluntary, which might influence the
representativeness of the sample participants. For example, it might be that the lecturers who were
more interested in learning about blended learning filled the questionnaire, while those who were not
interested did not. Therefore, the findings from this study may not fully represent the opinions of all
students and lecturers of MU and other public universities in Uganda.
7. Conclusions
Blended learning has been enforced in many public universities of Uganda including Muni
University but no research has been carried out to analyze its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats. This paper provides a baseline study to help government and public universities that would like
to implement or newly incorporate blended learning to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats associated with the blended learning approach. This work, therefore, recommends that
for a successful implementation of blended learning, the university should be able to add Turnitin
plagiarism plugins for Moodle and the BigBlue Button on the Moodle for video conferencing. Steady
power supply should be provided and the university should also improve on their internet connectivity
and accessibility so that both students and lecturers can easily access the system. The university should
provide blended learning training for both students and lecturers. Finally, both the government and
university should come up with policies, rules and standards for blended learning.
Author Contributions: Data curation, G.A.; Formal analysis, B.A.B.; Investigation, G.A.; Methodology, T.H.;
Supervision, B.A.A.; T.H. and G.A.; Writing—review & editing, G.A.; B.A.B. and T.H.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Acknowledgments: The authors wish to thank all the respondents who sacrificed their time to take part in the
study. We also wish to thank Muni University for providing a conducive working environment for the answerers.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
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