ETEC 520Planning and Managing Learning Technologies in Higher Education
Final Grade: A+
Class Average: 85%
Although most of the discussion forums in the MET courses were text-based, many of my contributions were made in video or audio format, as presented below in the audio player. Please note that these comments are mainly unscripted because they are intended only to reflect on memorable aspects of the courses that had the longest lasting impact and influence on my educational philosophy and professional development.
This course deals with the management of technology-based courses and projects, strategies for change needed at an institutional level to support technology-based teaching, and system-wide planning requirements at a provincial, state or national levels to support and regulate distributed learning. The course uses the Internet and print resources to enable participants to analyze and critique different management and planning strategies at various levels of technology-based operation.
- Students will be able to develop strategies for planning and managing technology-based courses or programs so that they are properly funded, effective in meeting their learning goals, exploit fully the educational potential of the new technologies, are developed on time and within budget, and are properly up-dated and improved. The strategies for course planning and management must also be appropriate for the organizational context in which they will be used;
- Students will be able to develop strategies for planning and managing new technologies for teaching and learning at an institutional level so that they are funded, organized, and supported in ways that meet the educational, organizational and financial context in which they will be used;
- Students will be able develop strategies for planning and managing new technologies for teaching and learning at a state or educational system level, so that they are funded, organized and supported in ways that meet the overall goals of the system as a whole;
- Students will understand the theoretical and organizational differences between knowledge-based and industrial-based organizations and how that might impact on planning and managing new technologies for teaching and learning;
- Students will be able to use the Internet to access and analyze research and reports on the planning and management of distributed learning, and find appropriate on-line databases in this area.
Unit 1: Introduction to the Course (Week 1)
This unit will introduce students to the main themes of the course, and the meaning of distributed learning and why it is becoming increasingly important in higher education and the importance of adopting an analytical and critical approach to planning and managing new technologies in a rapidly changing technological environment. In addition students will be introduced to the course team and the international guest tutors, the learning activities, and the assessment process.
Unit 2: Planning and Managing Courses and Programs (Weeks 2-4)
- Discuss some of the ways that technology is changing teaching in higher education, and the forces that are leading to these changes.
- Discuss some of the elements necessary for the development and delivery of high quality technology-based distributed learning.
- Discuss and analyze different processes or mechanisms for planning and managing technology-based distributed learning so as to achieve cost-effective use of resources.
- Discuss key players and roles in planning and managing technology-based distributed learning.
Unit 3:Planning and Managing Technology-based Distributed Learning at the Institutional Level (Weeks 5-8)
This unit introduces different methods for planning and managing new technologies at an institutional level. It discusses:
- The nature of information-based organizations, and how they differ from industrial and craft-based organizations,
- How this is likely to affect the organization of higher education institutions as they move to a technology-based teaching and learning environment.
- The benefits and limitations of strategic planning at an institutional level, and how to develop a vision for an institution.
- Various strategies for funding technology-based teaching and learning.
- The balance between investment in technology infrastructure, infrastructure support services, and academic applications of technology for teaching.
- How to implement strategies to support student access and use of technologies for learning.
- How to implement strategies to support faculty and instructors’ use of technologies for teaching.
- How to decide on appropriate organizational structures to support technology-based learning for one’s own institution.
- The importance of institutional cultures in facilitating or resisting change, and developing strategies for successfully implementing institutional change that will support the appropriate use of technology for teaching.
Unit 4: Planning and Managing Technology-based Learning at the System or State Level (Weeks 9-12)
This unit introduces different approaches to planning and managing new technologies at an educational, state or national system level. It discusses:
- The external pressures or drivers of change in higher education generally, and how these are influencing the introduction and use of technology for teaching in particular.
- A number of different planning mechanisms for managing investment and policy regarding the use of technology for distributed learning, the importance of new institutions developed around the use of new technologies, and their potential threat to conventional higher education institutions
- The relationship of fiscal policy and technology investment to different educational and philosophical purposes of higher education.
Unit 5: Does Planning Work (Week 13)
In this unit, the following issues will be discussed:
- Academic freedom and control vs. central planning
- The power of divisional universities
- The anarchic nature of new technology
- Faculty workload
- The faustian contract
The three assignments aim to test your ability to plan and manage new technologies for distributed learning, and your ability to apply what you have learned in this course to a distributed learning context of your choice. You will also be expected to identify potential weaknesses or limitations of what you are proposing. Each assignment is worth 1/3 of your total mark.
Assignment 1: Professor For A Day
This assignment is in three parts (read through all the instructions for this assignment before starting!):
- Choose a particular academic or training department or area; briefly (i.e., in no more than 500 words) describe the context (factual: kind of institution, name of department, type of students – undergraduate, etc, number of staff). Provide just enough information so your tutor can understand the institutional context – don’t in this part go into all the problems the department faces, etc. (10% of marks)
- Do an environmental scan, i.e., describe all the external and internal factors that are likely to impact on the potential use of distributed learning in the department over the next five years. (30% of marks)
- Describe, in concrete terms, what it will be like to be a student in the department five years from now using distributed learning technologies. (30% of marks)
- Discuss the implications of this scenario for the department: e.g., what changes will be necessary? How will this impact on the role and work of a professor, etc? (30% of marks)
In preparing this assignment, apply it as closely as possible to the context in which you are working. You are of course free to create your own imaginary context. Particularly with regard to the student learning scenario, we are looking for creative, imaginative and strategic uses of distributed learning technologies. This assignment should be about 2,000 – 3,000 words in length. Anything over 4,000 words will NOT be marked.
- How clear is the description of the institutional context in which the assignment is set?
- How well does the assignment draw on material in Unit 2?
- How sensitive is the assignment to possible problems and difficulties of any recommended approaches?
- How imaginative, creative and strategic is the scenario?
- To what extent does the assignment address issues of quality in developing distributed learning materials?
- To what extent does the assignment include new ideas not covered elsewhere in this course?
- How realistic and credible are the scan, the scenario and the analysis of issues?
Assignment 2: Vice-President For A Day
You are the Vice-President, Academic. After months of work from numerous committees, the university/college has set a new vision for the institution: ‘A university without boundaries’. The President has requested you to provide her with your recommendations as to how best to implement this vision.
Drawing on your own context (you may substitute ‘college’ or ‘school’ for ‘university’), prepare a report for the President, at least as far is it covers distributed learning. (You are of course free to create your own imaginary context). It will be helpful for your tutors if you could spend a few paragraphs describing the context that applies to this assignment.
Do not try to cover all possible strategies. Choose five or six key strategies and describe them in some detail.
This assignment should be about 2,000 to 3,000 words in length. Anything over 4,000 words will not be marked.
- How clear is the summary description of the institutional context?
- How well does the assignment draw on material in Unit 3?
- Where alternative approaches are possible, how well is the choice of the approach justified? How sensitive is the assignment to possible problems and difficulties of any recommended approaches?
- What steps have been taken to ensure buy-in from faculty and students?
- How concrete and firm are the recommendations?
- To what extent does the assignment include new ideas not covered elsewhere in this course?
- How realistic and credible are the proposals?
Assignment 3: Premier For A Day
This question is in two parts. You will be assessed on the assignment as a whole. You may answer just one or both parts of the question. You should include in this assignment some assessment of the value of planning and management in general, based on Unit 5 readings and discussion. You should include a brief description of the higher education system that you are referring to.
- What role, if any, should your government play in planning and managing technology-based distributed learning within your higher educational system?
- What role, if any, should the private sector play in facilitating the use of technology in distributed learning in higher education?
Give some concrete examples to justify your arguments. This assignment should be about 2,000 to 3,000 words in length. Anything over 4,000 words will not be marked.
- How clearly described is the higher education system that is being discussed?
- How well does the assignment draw on material in units 4 and 5?
- How well does the assignment investigate both the pros and cons of government and private sector involvement in planning and management?
- How well are the arguments related to different political ideologies?
- How appropriate are the examples chosen and how well do they illustrate or support the principles or arguments put forward in the assignment?
- To what extent does the assignment include new ideas or examples not covered elsewhere in this course?
- To what extent does the assignment differentiate between the difficulties of planning and management in general, and the limits of government or private sector involvement in particular?
Mark Bullen, Ph.D.
Mark Bullen works for the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) where he manages eLearning activities focused on policy development and capacity building in Commonwealth countries around the world. The Commonwealth of Learning is an intergovernmental organization, with headquarters in Vancouver, that assists developing Commonwealth countries to improve their educational systems by using open and flexible distance learning approaches.
Before joining COL in October of 2012 he spent seven years at the BC Institute of Technology (BCIT) as Dean and Associate Dean of the Learning & Teaching Centre.
From 1982 to 2005 he worked at the University of British Columbia as a media producer, instructional designer and project manager before serving as Associate and Acting Director of the Distance Education & Technology department and Director of the Centre for Managing & Planning E-Learning (MAPLE), a research centre that investigated institutional planning and management issues, policy, and social and educational impacts of e-learning.
Mark has extensive international consulting experience related to online course development and the planning and management of e-learning and has worked in Australia, Mexico, Malaysia, Taiwan, Bhutan, Croatia and Canada, Mongolia, Indonesia and Bhutan.
Four Major Writing Assignmentsall about e-learning in higher education
Assignment 1 was a solo effort in which I compared to very different e-learning strategies. Assignments 2, 3, and 4 were the result of an excellent partnership with Caroline Kim Moore in Ottawa.
Real Life Examples of Linking Theory to Practice:
The following blurbs will connect you to current examples of linking theory to practice.