Investigating impacts of elearning projects: Do they improve collaborative teaching developments?

Year: 2007

Author: Scott, Karen, Mahony, Mary Jane, Peat, Mary

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The widespread introduction of elearning strategies has forced universities to adopt new and more collaborative approaches to educational development. eLearning in particular requires specialist skills and is currently driving this trend. At a large Australian research-intensive university with the mission to institutionalise elearning, there has been major investment in the establishment of a novel central team model (Ellis et al. 2007). This paper reports a study of the experiences of academic staff from Sciences, Technology and Health who were involved with the central team in developing elearning projects. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants, followed by thematic analysis. Preliminary findings provide insight into the impact on individuals and organisational units. The findings in particular address collaborative teaching developments and participants' reflections on working as part of a team. Critical factors for the success of projects were identified, including vision and leadership, curriculum need, the functioning team and commitment. Issues identified include resourcing, infrastructure gaps, management patterns, and recognition and rewards. Finally, we report the resulting implications for improving the efficacy of elearning development teams.