Arena of Change

It’s been an interesting process taking an ecological perspective to the implications and changes the introduction of a digital technology would have in my educational context. The first thing it has forced me to do is narrow my research focus more so that I could better identify the impact across the educational ecosystems that comprise Niki Davis’s Arena of Change. So, from a rather broad topic on “the effectiveness of online resources as a means of meeting students’ academic literacy needs”, I’ve focused in on the change factors with the ‘Introduction of online synchronous tutorials and workshops.’

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I’ve created a mindmap to show how this technology introduction would impact upon the different ecosystems that make up the interacting educational system in my tertiary context. The class that I’m referring to is an online blended or distance class identified as needing equitable access to the academic support classes we teach face-to-face at CPIT. The provision of blended and distance learning programmes is increasing. Added to that is the cross-institutional collaboration that is beginning to occur (eg. Metro group, TANZ), intent on collaborative sharing of teaching and learning materials.
while online workshops do currently occur on an ad hoc basis, I’m interested in the implications of a systematic introduction to supporting online learners.

At the personal level running online workshops will require upskilling with the technology and a better understanding of how to use that technology effectively to support learner engagement. Because academic skills should not be taught in isolation, collaboration with colleagues to develop resources that are content-related and culturally appropriate should occur at departmental level. The relationships with our liaison librarians and course tutors must change and develop. within the departmental budget, there are also resource and licensing costs to consider. Budget support must come from the institution as well. The overall success of such technological implementation is heavily influenced by our ICT Governance group which decides on technology enhanced learning priorities and the level of infrastructure and IT support available.

Moving outside the institution, there are likely to be political influences from stakeholders such as Ngai Tahu and professional influences from partnerships such as the Canterbury Tertiary Alliance, with which we have collaboration agreements. Because CPIT runs courses in conjunction with other ITPs such as NMIT and Otago Polytechnic, those collaborations also have an impact. As already mentioned, at the national level we have agreements with different ITPs to collaborate on teaching and learning which will influence the development of online resources and support. Finally, at the global level the technology introduction is influenced by the host sites (eg. Adobe, Moodle, Equella) and their compatability, as well as international examples of best practice around online teaching and learning.

The mindmap above highlights the different ecosystems. While I think the introduction of online workshops and tutorials will occur to meet a need at departmental level, ongoing adoption and change will be influenced most at institutional level in response to the increasing collaboration and development of online resources with partner ITPs.


2 thoughts on “Arena of Change

  1. Hi Kevin,

    I found the same thing when I started thinking about the ecosystem – my topic was much too broad! I have narrowed it now, with Moodle as the tool I will focus on.

    I am interested in your topic as well, simply because of my own experience at UC over the last few years. I would have described myself as a purely face-to-face learner, so I found it difficult adjusting to the online learning environment. However, now that I have experienced my own learning (and successes and failures) in these virtual classrooms, my trust in the process has grown.

    I feel like a well-organised blended learning environment could ease students like me into a virtual classroom experience and give them more confidence in taking on more online courses.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Sarah McNabb

    • Hi Sarah
      Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is the pedagogical challenges that an online environment brings that interest me, especially as we move from providing static resources to more interactive academic support. I must have a look at your blog as Moodle 2 is just about to go online at CPIT and will provide another ‘change’ for us as we look to develop our site.


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