In this case study, Ross Caslon has a challenging task - come up with plan to implement a web-based, course-management tool at a large university. Unfortunately, there's no strong sponsorship, no clear leadership, no strong desire by faculty to use the tool, no willingness from the technical staff to support it, and to top it all off the tool has many irritating technical deficiencies and problems.
The case study strikes me as an example of setting yourself up for failure by expecting too much to happen too soon. Ross did a test by having 7 faculty members use the tool after a one-day training session. Even that test showed some promising results, but not as promising as Ross had hoped.
Ross needs to be realistic about what he can achieve with the resources he has in hand and he needs to build on the successes in his test case. He can't realistically use direct instruction to change the behavior of faculty and support staff. He can identify a few specific successful uses of the course-management tool and keep working to refine those uses. He can identify uses that were not successful and evaluate them to determine if specific support and instruction would have made them successful or if other factors - like software problems - were the cause.
This case study reminds me of the role I play (as webmaster) in my organization as a change agent. I don't have the resources - technical, financial, political - to impose large-scale changes. But I can propose and deliver projects that improve the organization's performance. I can promote ideas and respond as quickly as possible when those ideas take root in the minds of others and they decide to act.
In the big picture, Ross is on the "winning" side by being an advocate of web-based learning management. He just needs to pick his goals carefully.Posted by burt0177 at February 6, 2005 8:24 PM