Organizational Support in E-learning at the University of Ballarat TAFE Division, which started with their ‘ renewal Of teaching’ endeavor.
This was driven by the university’s strategy to respond to the changing world of vocational training in the increasingly digital Economy. “Over the last twenty years, technology has reorganized how we live, how we communicate and how we learn” (Siemens, 2004)
The University of Ballarat provides both higher education and vocational training. Located in Victoria, there are two campuses in Ballarat and three in the Wimmera region. It is Australia’s only regional dual sectoral university.
The campuses are located at Mt Helen, the historic SMB and Camp Street Campuses in Ballarat and at Implementing e-learning within building and construction.
The university has a student population of over 22,000. It provides educational and training programs, from apprenticeships, certificates and diplomas to undergraduate
degrees and post-graduate qualifications, including graduate certificates and diplomas.
The new $12 million building complex which the trade sections are shortly to move into will be a state-of-the-art building equipped with up-to-date equipment and Technology. The new building will have interactive whiteboards in each classroom.
The Message from Head of school, Manufacturing service, University of Ballarat Mr. Carla Reading -- ‘ As a modern community training provider we had to find ways to take training to the people – take it into industry, into homes and other places. To take it to them on laptops and, in the future, perhaps offer training via iPods.’ (Carla Reading)
Pathway to E-Learning
• Resource management
• Professional development
• Choosing and using technology
• Providing support
• Providing infrastructure
“ there is no right answer for how to deliver eLearning effectively. Tapping into the actual needs of the organisation or learner is the key to success.” Benninck (2004)
The university understands that staff has busy schedules and need preparation and transition time to develop new learning resources and radically change their teaching practice. Hence, staffs are given time relief from their teaching loads.
‘ Our approach has been to let people play about for 12 months, to first become relaxed with no pressure placed on them to use elearning tools. Then, from this, let champions emerge.’ (Terry Lloyd, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Vocational and Further Education)
The information and resource management policy stems
from the need to get best value from develop resources and avoid wastage. In the past, when staff left the institute, they often took their resources with them or left them in filing cabinet drawers.
The building and construction department now has an
established policy that requires all teaching resources to
be stored on the intranet and made available to all
‘ Trade teachers have had to take a huge leap in their thinking, and it’s been quite a cultural shift, “Tradies” have had long held views that face-to-face delivery is the essential and only way of teaching.’ (Sue Goodbourn)
‘ What we want to do is develop communities of practice around these technologies, and in doing so, acknowledge the varying stages people are at with their grasp of e-learning practice.’ (Sue Goodbourn)
“ people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor” (Smith 2009);
Choosing and using technology
The philosophy at UB TAFE is to accept no single dominating technology. They have adopted a multi-system approach. Technologies are chosen for the learning and teaching need and appropriateness for the task and situation.
‘ The focus is on what we are doing rather than what we are doing it with.’ (Peter Parry, Head of Programs, electrical trades teacher)
‘ The fundamental basis has been: Is this good for the student? Is it going to make learning more accessible? Will it improve the learning? It’s not about the technology, even though the pioneering work was technically driven because we were exploring possibilities.’ (Sue Goodbourn)
Teacher support is an essential part of UB’s implementation strategy. The trade division of the university invites teachers into the centre to try various technologies, ask what they want to do, and then support them to do it. Or they might work with people on a teaching problem and offer advice on solutions.
The centre does not do the actual resource development but offers training and support to teachers and web assistance. In the early days of the centre, funds were allowed for production assistance to get the e-learning off the ground.
Teachers have been preparing for e-learning, knowing that this will soon change.
The new building that will house all of the trade areas will have state-of-the-art technology.
Teaching rooms with computers will be located near the practical areas so teachers can supervise both simultaneously.
There will also be spaces for students to work independently.
The university is increasing its current optic fibre connectivity to include the western campuses.
“ Science of cooking an interactive web site”
(Why & what is the benefits of organizational
support in this case study)
Trade teachers in all areas have progressed significantly to new forms of teaching.
Policies and processes have ensured best value for funds invested.
E-learning has enabled greater institutional responsiveness to industry and to client groups.
Staffs are moving forward in their objective to provide flexible and innovative teaching programs.
Courses can be taught both on campus and remotely, using the best strategies and the best technologies for the purpose.
Investment in networks and central delivery platforms, and investment in classroom technology have added significantly to the quality and flexibility of teaching.
Staff enjoy adopting a ‘do it yourself approach’. Instead of buying developed videos, they now make their own and they no longer think that videos need to be developed to a professional finish.
The resources produced have more relevance than the commercially produced material used in the past.
Using electronic means to communicate with learners and employers, this has improved attendance and thereby the opportunities for students to succeed.
George Siemens (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Elearnspace. Source: http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm. Viewed June, 2011.
Benninck, R. (2004). Implementing elearning from the corporate perspective. The Knowledge Tree. Source: http://knowledgetree.flexiblelearning.net.au/edition05/download/Bennink.pdf. Viewed June, 2011.
Alan R. Roper (2007) “How Students Develop Online Learning Skills”, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 30(1) http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/HowStudentsDevelopOnlineLearni/157435 Viewed April, 2011.
Kruse, K (2010). Information is not Instruction. The wise remarks of David Merrill. Source: http://changetheworld007.blogspot.com/2010/09/i-nformation-is-not-instruction-wise.html. Viewed June, 2011.