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Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation
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Icde 2009 Call Centre Vs Tutor Model Presentation

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Industrialized characteristics remain at the core of what Taylor (2001) described as the most recent incarnation of distance education, a fifth generation he dubbed “Intelligent Flexible Learning.” …

Industrialized characteristics remain at the core of what Taylor (2001) described as the most recent incarnation of distance education, a fifth generation he dubbed “Intelligent Flexible Learning.” Besides the relatively commonplace features found in most online learning systems, fifth generation distance education also incorporates business technologies that streamline production of instructional material and provision of student service functions. These technologies permit multiple types of media outputs from a single source document, and provide student access through online portals to services such as automated business processes and academic advice. Most importantly, individually-tailored services can be provided to an increasing number of learners with the same economic resources by using knowledge management software to reduce the need for direct, human interaction in the teaching and learning process. These software capabilities can be further leveraged by reassigning duties traditionally performed by academics, such as student advising and providing general administrative information, to Contact Centre personnel.
Taylor’s fifth generation learning model may replicate in the virtual learning environment two key attributes that accounted for the initial successes of distance education—flexibility for students and value creation for the institution, primarily in the form of reduced costs and enhanced services compared to traditional, campus-based universities.
Anderson (2003) posited the following equivalency theorem:
Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student-teacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience. High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience, though these experiences may not be as cost or time effective as less interactive learning sequences. (p. 5)
To the extent that Anderson’s equivalency theorem holds, a less recognized corollary of Taylor’s analysis is that universities incorporating high-quality digitized instructional media into well-structured learning experiences also can disaggregate student cohorts in favour of individualized learning and still provide focused group interaction for specific purposes within a self-paced learning experience. In this way, economies of scale can be realized, costs can be reduced, the overall quality of the learning experience can be maintained, and more learner autonomy can be facilitated. Most importantly, technologically-enabled, industrialized, yet responsive organizational structures can be established to meet the future demand for university education. It is this possibility that one form of learning can be substituted effectively for another, and the resultant need to consider cost/benefit trade-offs more closely, that should encourage educators to more carefully consider how online learning is organized. The rest of this paper describes two models of individualized, distance-based study in place at a Canadian distance and online-based university, and a framework for evaluating relative learning efficacy, effectiveness, and economic cost-benefits.
LEARNING SUPPORT AT ATHABASCA UNIVERSITY
Athabasca University (AU) is located in Alberta, Canada. Since its formation in 1975 as Alberta’s fourth publicly-funded university, its mission has been to reduce barriers that traditionally restrict access to university-level education for adults in Alberta, in Canada, and throughout the world. To accomplish this, the institution has adopted open access policies in its undergraduate courses—for instance, offering courses almost exclusively by distance or online education, admitting any adult regardless of prior education, arranging comprehensive transfer credit arrangements with other educational institut

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  • 1. Evaluating the Relative Efficiencies and Effectiveness of the Contact Centre and Tutor Models of Learner Support at Athabasca University David Annand Director, School of Business
  • 2. AU’s Distinguishing Mission • Removing barriers to access and success in university-level studies • prior learning • time and place
  • 3. Key Facts • Adult, part-time learners generally with families and full-time jobs • Average age 28, declining • Over 66% women • Over 45,000 annual registrations – growing about 10% per year over past decade – low growth in past year
  • 4. Online Individualized Study • Begin a course at any time of the year • Take up to six months to complete a course • All textbooks, online learning activities, library access included • One on one academic and general assistance by phone and email
  • 5. School of Business • Over 11,000 students and 17,000 course registrations in 2008/09 (30% of AU) • 12% compounded growth last five years (though only 4% last year) • Over 75 business courses available • 25 full time faculty; 70 p/t tutors; 30 admin staff
  • 6. Tutor Model Support Network Program Faculty Advisors (F/T managers) Tutors Students (P/T academics) Admin. Technical Course Support Assistants
  • 7. Call Centre Support Network Faculty Program (F/T managers) Advisors Tutors Students Call (P/T Centre academics) Technical Admin. Support Course Assistants
  • 8. Call Centre Support Network • Non-academics, but with extensive knowledge of Athabasca University and School of Business policies and procedures • 60 hours per week access by phone or email • All interactions tracked by customer relationship management software • Resolve administrative issues; forward academic, technical, program advice issues to relevant staff
  • 9. Over 50% of Tickets Resolved by Call Centre GWI Tickets Closed November 2007 231, 4% 100, 2% 148, 2% 577, 9% Call Centre Academic Expert Advisor 3406, Technical 1763, 53% 31% Course Assistant Course Coordinator
  • 10. Research Questions • Does student satisfaction differ? • Do costs differ?
  • 11. Student Telephone Survey • Measure relative satisfaction among four service indicator: academic, administrative, technical, and program advising • Explore whether any age or gender effects • Pool of students who have completed at least four AU undergraduate courses during the two years ended December 31, 2008 (at least one in each mode) • 435 requests, 69% response rate = 300 surveys • Statistically significant results: +/- 3% @ 95%
  • 12. Student Survey Results • Important student needs under either model – Immediate learning support (78%) – Direct contact (76%) – Usefulness of first month contact (77%) – Usefulness of welcome email (84%) • Differences – Amount of student contact within first month (CC: 77%; TM: 43%) – Preference for models (CC: 58%; TM: 54%) – Preference of TM for higher-level, quantitatively complex courses (Finance, Math)
  • 13. Student Survey Results (cont.) • Gender and age representative of AU student population (M: 39%; F: 61%; 28 years) • Email perceived as most effective vs. telephone • Tutors need to be more accessible under both models – Cell phone pilot
  • 14. Relative Costs • Reluctance by administration; costs only recently made available for analysis • 2003 analysis: app. $90 per registration less for Call Centre model – Tutors paid for activity (CC), not availability (TM)
  • 15. Other Aspects • Student service tracking and resolution facilitated by Call Centre/CMR model • Better utilization of academic experts’ time • If service perceptions roughly same or better, and lower costs, why wouldn’t this be adopted across all IS courses? – Union resistance – Pedagogical resistance by influential executives – Lotus Notes/GWI as technological backbone • Budget crisis may convince critics
  • 16. Questions David Annand, Director School of Business 001 780 307 2937 davida@athabascau.ca More Information http://business.athabascau.ca/

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