Design Blended Learning

Question 3: Does the ICT-technical environment work fully suitable?

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  1. The success of IT implementation in education also depends on the quality of the IT technical environment (e.g. hardware, software and IT-supporting staff). The educational institutions must ensure that all students and teachers have access to a computer and internet in the institute, at home or both. Also, it should be possible for both groups to work with necessary IT learning materials, such as VLE, PowerPoint, complex images, video lectures, games, simulations, etc. The internal or wireless networks and the internet connection should work properly, which is the responsibility of the IT group. The IT staff should be qualified to implement and maintain the hardware and software. Implementing IT will be strongly disturbed when teachers and students experience failures of one or more elements of the IT system.
  2. The IT staff are of crucial importance for success in implementing IT. The IT group should be able to prepare and maintain the IT technical environment necessary for the various phases of the implementation process (see Question 1).
  3. The necessary capacity and speed of the IT technical environment depend on the type of software, the digital learning materials and the number of users. If the number of students and teachers using ITedu tools increases, the IT technical environment will need more capacity and speed. Management has to decide whether the capacity and speed of the IT technical environment will be improved. The IT group should be able to organise or make the necessary improvements. Another development that must be considered is that the institute may decide that besides using IT in education, the administration and the research groups will also use IT. This scenario will have consequences for the IT technical environment.
  4. The university may start implementing IT without an IT technical environment, with insufficient capacity to enable students and teachers to use video programs, games, YouTube, simulations, pictures, etc. In this case, a possible solution is to download the software and files on a local server, and the students and teachers should be given entrance to the local server to access the software and files.
  5. A significant problem is the power supply. If there is a short power break, the students and teachers must continue using their laptops with full batteries via a wireless connection. If frequent power brakes are longer, installing a generator with enough capacity to maintain the power will be necessary. The problem related to power breaks is that students and teachers may lose work. Consequently, users may have to redo part of their work after the power is restored. This problem can be solved using an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). This hardware device provides a backup power source in case of a power outage ( blackout ), brownout, or surge in power.
  6. Many universities have a particular IT classroom where students can work individually or in small groups. The teacher and the students can use a PowerPoint presentation in this room. The IT group handles installing and maintaining the space and equipment.

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