University of Exeter - School of Education B.Phil / M.Ed Modular Degree Programme
Managing and Organising IT effectively for learning G163 - Spring 1999 Professor Niki Davis
A case study of tutoring an on-line course
Submitted by: Alastair Reynolds and Megan Dick Previous modules undertaken : G162, G161, P51

Introduction to the Case Study
The content of this page was discussed and agreed by both authors and the page was written by Megan Dick.

Description of case study

This assignment analyses the management of learning during a course taught on-line called "Teaching Effectively with ICT". It is an eight week course taught at a British university as a Masters in Education module for practising teachers or trainers.

The on-line element of the course was conducted through a virtual classroom on the World Wide Web called the 'Virtual Study Centre' or VSC. The VSC is a graphical representation of a school building. It contains a classroom for discussion, a café, group organisers, a library, a notice board and an office. Students can access the tasks they are assigned through a virtual filing cabinet. They can find links to research material in the library and further information they might need in the office.

The main learning environment is an on-line discussion area in the classroom. Students are asked to post their work on tasks assigned to them to the discussion, where they can also comment on other students' posts. The café is a real time chat environment that is used for casual conversation. Students are grouped by common interests and each group has an organiser where they could add comments for other students in their group. They can also note web addresses they have found that might be of interest to other students.

The authors wrote the second of three activities that form the basis of this course. This activity concerned strategies for teaching with ICT and detailed two case studies which had used ICT in teaching. (Appendix A) The authors led the two weeks of the course that the activity covered, under the direction of the professor in overall charge of the course.

Methods of data collection

It was decided that Roger Allen's (1998) functions of a manager would be used as a basis for the analysis of this case study, since the six functions form a useful first stage for classifying management issues which arise.

Data collected by several different methods was used to study the management issues which arose while leading the second activity on the course.

The analysis was to be carried out using all the data collected. Issues which had arisen would be classified according to Allen's six management functions and each author would take three functions to analyse. The data collected would be put in the context of the literature, and conclusions would be drawn about factors which led to effective management in this on-line course.

Access and ethical considerations

Access issues

Permission to conduct the research during this course was sought from students on the course and from the professor in charge. The nature and purpose of the research were explained to all participants, and they were given the opportunity not to participate if they so wished.

Ethical issues

All the parties involved in the research were made aware that the research was taking place. Participants were assured that anonymity would be maintained. In the case of students filling out questionnaires before and after the activity, it was explained that names would only be used to match up 'before' and 'after' questionnaires.

At this point it is likely that you will want to move on to Part I or Part II of the analysis of the case study.
You may also return to the Contents page.

Assignment Quick Links
Title Page | Introduction | Contents | Literature Review (Part I) | Literature Review (Part II)
Introduction to case study | Analysis (Part I) | Analysis (Part II) | Conclusions | References | Appendices