The authors met to discuss the contents of this page and the page was written by Alastair Reynolds.
The authors felt that it would be useful to summarise the many management issues which arose during their tutoring of this on-line course. Kirkman (1999) uses a technique called 'issue trees' to illustrate ICT management issues facing ICT coordinators in secondary schools. The authors decided that this would be a useful way of collating the majority of the data collected, and as such constructed the tree below. The first level of the tree is formed from Allen's (1998) roles of a manager.
It is clear from the two individual conclusions that the success of an on-line course is entirely dependent on the effectiveness of the communication that takes place. This in turn is dependent on how well the course is organised, how clear students and tutors are on what they should be doing, how well motivated each person is to participate, how much people want to develop as individuals, and how committed each individual (students and tutors) is to the whole group's learning needs. It is also clear that on-line learning will not be right for every student and teacher.
As tutors, we were both initially disappointed at how the activity had progressed. We felt that we had put a lot of time into designing the activity and that people had not put enough effort into completing it. During our analysis we discovered that there were many more factors at play. We both feel that we now have a clearer understanding of some of the factors which can make managing learning on an on-line course more or less effective.
The use of Allen's (1998) six functions of a manager has helped us to examine our own management practice and assess our strengths and weaknesses. We found that this reflective process is very similar to that which takes place during day-to-day teaching, except that it seems to operate over a longer timescale. This is one of many important differences between teaching in a traditional classroom and teaching on-line.
A final conclusion we came to was that there was a need to convey to new students the 'ethos' of on-line learning, so that they could get the most out of it. We would like to think that this assignment could prove useful in giving people who are new to on-line learning an idea of what it involves and what can make it more successful.
Click here to go to the assignment references page or here to view the appendices.