After completing this unit, we want you to come away with the following key points:
1. Stages of E-Learning Integration
E-learning typically progresses through a series of stages that begins with the enthusiastic early adopters who experiment with e-learning without any formal institutional support and culminates with the “sustainability” stage at which e-learning has been fully integrated into the institutional planning and budgeting processes. In between institutions move from “encouragement” to “chaos” and then to the penultimate “planning” stage when senior management begins to integrate e-learning into the planning process.
Governance is about how decisions are made about current and future plans for e-learning and technology more broadly and who makes those decisions. It involves evaluating, directing and monitoring the use of e-learning. There several different ways of providing appropriate governance over e-learning. The most common is to establish some type committee to provide oversight and allow stakeholders to have input.
3. Organizational Structure
Where e-learning fits in the institution’s organizational structure and the reporting structure of the organization is critical to the success of e-learning. Is it located on the academic/educational side of the organization or on the technical or administrative side? The answers to these questions will tell us how seriously the institution takes e-learning.
4. Organizational Model
There are a variety of different approaches to supporting e-learning, ranging from fully integrated central support departments that provide IT, instructional design, faculty development and technical media support to a fully decentralized approach in which each Faculty or School has its own support units. The most appropriate model depends on the institution and the size of the faculties and the level of support within the institution and faculties. Bates & Sangrà argue that the specific organizational model is less important than having a “clear picture of responsibilities and authority for decision-making about technology. In other words, institutions should have a clear governance structure for technology” (p. 121).
5. Funding Models
How e-learning support is funded in the institution is as important, if not more, than how the support is organized. There are four basic funding models:
- Base funded
- Revenue generating
- Grant funded
- Combined funding