Software For Distance Learning


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Software For Distance Learning

  1. 1. Software for Distance Learning: Be Wise Before You Decide Dr. Meri MacLeod Western Theological Seminary May 2008
  2. 2. User or Buyer Myths <ul><li>One system is best for everyone </li></ul><ul><li>NO users are available to talk to </li></ul><ul><li>NO costs are involved </li></ul><ul><li>Saying “yes” is the ONLY right decision NOW </li></ul><ul><li>Delay means you loss </li></ul><ul><li>New produce has NO track record or test records – beta testing </li></ul>
  3. 3. Be Informed and Proactive <ul><li>Delay in purchase/use allows time for the product to develop </li></ul><ul><li>Get track record – frequency of upgrades, increase in fees, growth of your type of user, test results </li></ul><ul><li>Study similar products – lean all you can (free trial version) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Be Informed and Proactive <ul><li>Contact users and learn – current, experienced and former users, network to learn what the vendor doesn’t want you to know, user groups </li></ul><ul><li>Determine which limitations you can work with and what benefits you MUST have </li></ul><ul><li>Partnerships offer both benefits and limitations, look carefully and think longer than “right now” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Be Informed and Proactive <ul><li>Major systems for library and distance learning will require: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Maintenance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>IT support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resource documents </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergency intervention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Up grades </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Be Informed and Proactive <ul><li>Determine how each required element will be addressed by the system you choose </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Directly by the software company? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Indirectly by the user (employee, volunteers)? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>By a third party support company – Moodle support </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Which ones will you pay for – either upfront or on an as needed basis? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Be Informed and Proactive <ul><li>Know who your primary users will be and include them in the decision </li></ul><ul><li>What will happen if the produce or the company disappears? Back up plan for ongoing success. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn in specific details what your school or department will need to do to prepare for installation. </li></ul>
  8. 8. When you decide <ul><li>Get the details of installation, maintenance, IT support, up grades, documentation provided and user training all in writing. </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of renewal dates </li></ul><ul><li>Keep careful records of the time invested and money spent by your school. Renegotiate if promises are not kept. </li></ul><ul><li>Be prepared for surprises, plan for the unexpected </li></ul>
  9. 9. REMEMBER <ul><li>Be an impulse decision maker! </li></ul><ul><li>In the end, every software decision will come with surprises and the unexpected. You make the best decision you can with the information you have available at the time of the decision. </li></ul><ul><li>Every experience will make you a wiser leader for tomorrow! </li></ul>
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