Design Blended Learning

Question 2: Is the management following and supporting the implementation process?

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  1. The management staff formulates their expectations and studies the consequences of implementing IT for the organisation of the university, the faculties and the supporting departments. Results like student engagement, the ability to attract more students and study success are expected to increase. Increased satisfaction regarding the professional field is expected with better preparation of the students. The importance of using IT should be prominent in the policy documents of the university and the documents for accreditation. This process means that teachers and IT staff know they are working on an essential task for the university. The diverse activities and financial consequences should be carefully planned during implementation.
  2. It is often challenging to convince teachers to use IT in their courses. Therefore, they have to be ensured that using IT positively affects their teaching processes and courses. Also, it should be clear to them that the university and the management support the idea of introducing IT and support them wherever necessary during the implementation process.
  3. Often, management decides to start a task force or a project group that will follow the developments in the various pilots. Such a task force maintains contact with the management about the progress of the pilot projects and hardware and software development. The members of this task force are a manager, two or three teachers, two IT staff and an educational expert. Sometimes, the educational institute may decide that besides the IT staff, there is a need for an educational expert with experience in blended learning.The task force maintains close contact with the teachers and the IT staff. The management (rector and vice-rector) assigns the beginning of various pilot experiments and other activities during the implementation process.
  4. Using IT means permanent innovation. Hardware and software develop rapidly and IT will intensify during implementation. The teachers and IT staff should follow new developments and look for possibilities to implement them wherever and whenever possible and relevant. Opportunities for innovation should be discussed in the task force several times during the year. Teachers should be stimulated to be clear about their needs, questions and problems using IT in education. IT staff should also be transparent about what is possible and the costs of finding an answer to the needs, questions and problems. Software should be adapted to the needs of teachers and the possibilities of the definitions. If the task force agrees about the usefulness of a particular innovation, they propose it to management.
  5. The teachers and the IT staff involved in this educational change process are given explicit support from the management. The possibilities of the management to support the implementation process comprise providing extra time or money to those involved. Additionally, giving credit to the work of the teachers and the IT staff active in the pilot projects (in meetings and on the website) is also advisable. The active teachers in the pilot experiments can be seen as ambassadors of IT in education. Therefore, management must support these ambassadors.
  6. IT can also be used in the administration and research activities of the university to its use in education. The hardware and software necessary for education, administration and research should be integrated effectively.

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