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Learner: CONSTANTINOS KALAPODAS THIS FORM MUST BE COMPLETELY FILLED IN Please Follow These Procedures: If requested by your mentor, use an assignment cover sheet as the first page of the word processor file. The assignment header should include the Learner’s last name, first initial, course code, dash, and assignment number (DoeJXXX0000-1) justified to the left and the page number justified to the right. Keep a Photocopy or Electronic Copy of Your Assignments: You may need to re-submit assignments if your mentor has indicated that you may or must do so. Academic Integrity: All work submitted in each course must be the Learner’s own. This includes all assignments, exams, term papers, and other projects required by the faculty mentor. The known submission of another person’s work represented as that of the Learner’s without properly citing the source of the work will be considered plagiarism and will result in an unsatisfactory grade for the work submitted or for the entire course, and may result in academic dismissal. ELT7001

Glen Gatin

Principles and Practices in E-Learning

Organizational Assessment Assignment 11

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2 Organizational Assessment

In order to be able to better assess if the organization is to change and move into the e-learning community or not, the first thing that needs to be done is try and describe the organization as it is today. We are going to make an attempt to see if the school I am working at is ready for the e-learning challenge. Institution Background I teach in a secondary education public lyceum in Nicosia, Cyprus that has around 700 students and almost 80 to 90 teachers. It also has around 10 people that form the administrative staff. The school system in Cyprus can be described as centered controlled. All the instructions and information every school year come from the Ministry of Education and Culture in the form of documented reports that the headmaster of the school has to give to teachers and see that they follow through with those instructions. The school curriculum is also decided by the Ministry and in most cases is strictly followed by all teachers. Anything that has to do with school equipment has to be approved and go through the Ministry in order for it to come to the school unless it is something that is everyday use and the local school district authority can decide and provide it. All the teachers are attending a mandatory training seminar held by the Ministry Inspectors twice a year to get directions on several matters concerning their course work or anything else that the Ministry wants to adopt. Decisions on equipment, computers for example, are taken by the Ministry and affect all schools in Cyprus so sometimes equipment will arrive late or be a bit outdated. The truth is that there have



been great steps towards improving the school equipment in the past few years and the progress is already evident. The Learners It is very important when trying to assess the e-learning readiness of an organization to see the people that will be most affected from it, the learners. Try and understand their background, where do they stand right now and if e-learning is good for them. Since the school is located in the capital of the island, most of the studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s background can be described as above average with technology. The way that teenagers live today, the extensive use of mobile internet devices, iPods, laptop computers etc, does create a good foundation in which we can built upon when introducing any form of e-learning. Most of the students in the school do have aDSL internet access at home and are equipped with a personal computer as well. As Kupczynski, Mundy and Jones (2011) note, it is very important to make students feel comfortable in their new e-learning environment because if they feel ok then they will be able to perform well in their classes and have an overall satisfying experience rewarded with high grades as well. Teaching Method Since we do know by know about the four types of e-learning, as mentioned by Broadbent (2002) we also need to clarify which type is best suited for our situation as well. Distances in Cyprus are very small and students usually attend schools according to their homes, so there is no distance issue to consider. We have to consider the fact that we did not have a great deal of e-learning experience so far in the curriculum although a huge effort is made by the Ministry to shift to this direction in the coming



years. A leader-led model will be best suited for our institution since it will help the transition of the students to their new methods better with combinations from the informal model as well as some performance tools help. A blended model would be more appropriate. It will give the students the freedom and power to learn by learning and also allow the instructors and teachers to guide them through this new process for them as efficient as possible. E-Learning Software As far as the curriculum is concerned, when trying to create the appropriate material to be taught online, the organization has to think outside the box. Since in our educational system, the Ministry will eventually decide of the material to be taught, and of course how it is going to be delivered they have to take into account the fact that schools in different areas of the island might be different. An effort has been made to create certain material to be used online, and it is with great satisfaction that I have noticed that the whole software will allow for teachers to make their own modifications and changes if they wish to tailor the material to their audience. Stockley (2006) mentions that the material has to be made for each institution in particular and not taken as a whole package, because many problems might appear that will interfere with the whole learning process. Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the fact that students are getting very familiar with todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s web 2.0 technologies. What we can do, is use this to our advantage by letting them use this technology in the software to be used so that they can easily and more effectively participate in the learning process. The question of the digital divide might be raised here as well, and it is a very good example to talk about the case that McCollum (2011) mention, of the teacher



that took the limited technology available to him, and adapted it to fit his teaching environment. Education and especially e-learning is a constantly evolving area that does not allow for people to stop thinking of what is coming next and how they can incorporate it to the already existing methods of teaching. E-learning evolution is a tool that if used correctly will benefit and increase the studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s experience and will lead to better results of everyone involved. If we go against it, and try and resist evolution, it will only come and haunt us later on with unwanted effects in the whole e-learning process. Teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s competence Of course, no conversation can be made and not include the teachers, instructors that are going to be in the middle of all this change. In my school and in Cyprus in general, teachers are beginning to get more familiar with technology, and more particular online education in the last couple of years. Some of the European projects that are running in schools encourage teachers to get involved into online education as well as many online in-service training seminars that help in the education of teachers lead to the e-learning direction as well. The Pedagogical Institute that is responsible for the continuing education of teachers has introduced many e-learning programs that will help teachers understand the new software and materials that are being prepared. It is very important to point out, that without the input of all teachers involved, their continuous feedback and interaction the materials prepared will not be ready to be used for our school. Yun and Fruge (2011) state that one of the factors that affect success of online learning is the interaction and feedback between everyone involved. It is very important that we keep everyone involved and make sure that



teachers understand that although some of the material was not created by them, they are the ones that will be teaching it, and they have the freedom to alter it and accommodate it accordingly in their classroom environment. A lot of customization needs to be done and in order for us to keep a positive spirit for e-learning and all these new methods of teaching in the school community we have to make sure that the teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s transition to all this becomes as smooth as possible. We can utilize teachers that are more familiar with technology and will be able to get into the e-learning idea quicker to help their colleagues. The in-service training hours that do exist in the school can be used to introduce all the new material to the teachers and have them use it in hands-on workshops, so that they understand that this is something that can be done if we all put some effort to it. Overall Costs Due to the fact that the Cyprus educational system does not allow for the local schools to keep their own budgets and work independently in this direction, the cost decision is something that needs to be decided by the Ministry. As Schechter (2009) mentions in his article, e-learning has to be seen as a business activity. It is an effort that will definitely cost more than what we have seen spent today in our schools so far but it will definitely work in the traditional schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s benefit. All the equipment that the school will need, as well as the materials that are going to be used for the online support of regular classes will stay in the school. The materials that instructors will create for the school can also be kept in each schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s database and be used repeatedly by everyone interested. All the materials that students develop can be added to a database of information used by other students and teachers in other schools as



well to improve. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not forget that education, and especially e-learning education, is also based on the social constructivism theory that requires interaction of all parties involved and constant feedback in order to improve the learning experience in all aspects. Final Conclusions Based on the above discussion, and from my experience as a teacher in the school, but also as a learner in several e-learning activities throughout my career, I believe that this is a great opportunity for our school to become a pioneer. We should not be afraid to embrace change and step forward in the new era of teaching and learning. The institution has all the necessary tools to walk the difficult path of elearning. The learners have the foundation necessary, the teachers are moving in the right direction and are very acceptive to change if we can present it to them in the proper way, and the equipment in the school is there and can be reinforced by the Ministry if we can prove that what we will attempt is going to work. The ministry is thinking e-learning but is yet to see results in the small efforts made in several schools because they were not made with proper organization and purpose. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s make our school the example that others will follow. This will benefit our institutions, our students, the teachers and the whole community.


8 References

Broadbent, B. (2002) ABCs of e-learning: Reaping the benefits and avoiding the pitfalls. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer. ISBN: 0787959103 Kupczynski, L., Mundy, M.A., & Jones, D. (2011) A study of factors affecting online student success at the graduate level. Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, 5(1), pp. 1-10.

McCollum, S. (2011, March). "getting past the 'digital divide.'.". Teaching tolerance, (39)46. Retrieved from Sargeant, J., Curran, V., & Allen, M. (2006) Facilitating Interpersonal Interaction and Learning Online: Linking Theory and Practice. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions. 26(2), 128-136. Schechter, B., H. (2009, July). The Cost of E-Learning. ELearn Magazine 86(1). Retrieved from Stockley, D. (2006, February). Building a successful e-learning strategy. EI Magazine 7(2), 34-36. Yun, H. & Fruge, B. (2011) Key Factors that Affect Success of Online Learning. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 876-878). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Organizational Assessment