6.6 – Conclusion

In most Western universities and colleges, professors and instructors have a great deal of autonomy, which gives them freedom to chose both content and method of teaching. If teachers wish to work alone in their use of technology for teaching, this will take up a great deal more of their time. Also, working alone runs a very high risk of developing relatively poor quality courses. The alternative, working in a team in a project management model, may reduce the overall independence of instructors, but it provides technical support and a structure that enables them to control their time. Even more importantly, working with a team of professionals in a project management model is likely to increase the quality of the teaching and learning.

Nevertheless, project management is not always the best or most cost-effective model. Where technology is being used as a classroom aid, a project management model may not be necessary, but even in this context, instructors are likely to need and welcome technical help and support. Also, there are dangers that a managerial approach to teaching, through ‘top-down’ strategic planning and project management, will not only be resisted by instructors, but may be too rigid or structured for a fast-changing environment.

So, whether working as Lone Rangers or in a project team, instructors are going to need more institutional support if e-learning is to be successfully integrated into teaching. Teaching with new technologies is likely to be successful only if there is institutional support and mechanisms and infrastructure put in place that support the use of technology across an institution.

To conclude this course, we highly recommend one last reading. This is another article by Sarah Guri-Rosenblit who identifies and explains what she considers to be eight inherent paradoxes that higher education institutions face as they try to implement e-learning.

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