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Building Partnerships in Teaching Excellence

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1 Building Partnerships in Teaching Excellence
Factors Affecting Adoption of the e-Learning Paradigm: Perceptions of Higher Education Instructors in Palestine. Khitam Shraim Birzeit University , Palestine Presentation at PFDP Academic Colloquium2010 Building Partnerships in Teaching Excellence July 31st -August 1st, Ramallah, Palestine

2 Presentation outline Introduction E-learning in BZU Methodology
Research Findings Implication to Policy and Practice

3 E-learning Paradigm – Why?
Internationally, building knowledge-based society by providing flexible personalized life-long learning & supporting a collaborative learning process. For the Palestinian, a necessity rather than a luxury to mitigate the negative effects of the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the access to quality education for all learners.

4 e-learning in Birzeit University
Ritaj portal was developed in March 2002. Since 2005, many e-learning donor-funded projects started such as MVU, BIZREH, MedForist … Different units involved : ULI , Ibn Rushd Unit & Najjad Zeenni IT Center of Excellence. 24 web-supplemented courses were developed as a blended approach: F2F & online , adopted MOODLE . However, the use of e-learning by HE instructors are still underutilized >>> slow adoption

5 Rogers’ adoption curve
The historical pattern of the diffusion of a new innovation technology through cultures. chasm Early Adopters - Visionaries Early Majority - Pragmatics Late Majority - Conservatives Innovators Laggards - Die-hards Source: However, it is more likely to cross the ‘chasm’ between early adopters & the early majority (Moore, 1999).

6 Objective of the Study To investigate the factors that affect the attitude of higher education instructors towards the adoption of e-learning.

7 Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
Social / Individual TAM Technological Organizational/ contextual

8 Research methodology Semi-structured interviews.
Both opened and closed questions. The main questions were: What are factors that motivate or hinder teaching staff to adopt e-learning approach? What changes are required to foster a collaborative e-learning environment?

9 Findings: Social Factors
Motivation: Perceived usefulness: The flexibility of time, place and pace of study. Learning-centered educational processes. Pedagogical design & interactive instructions. Professional development: keep up with the new learning paradigm to meet the 21st century learners‘ needs.

10 Findings: Social Factors
Barriers: Resistance to change: not all staff have been able to embrace the e-learning initiative immediately. Learners’ readiness: not all learners are able to learn independently and take the responsibility for their own learning. Social interaction: online communication "is not simply a process of shifting from speaking and listening to reading and writing" .

11 Findings: Social Factors
Required Changes : Raising awareness through peer influence & mandatory role of BZU. Capacity building & incentive system. Meaningful online communication & interaction through Social Software such as Videoconferencing… Releasing workload: time needed for preparing material in digital format, supporting and motivating learners, tracking learning activities & providing feedback.

12 Findings: Technological Factors
The main technological factors that have influenced ( motivate or hinder ) the use of e-learning are: Infrastructure. Technical support . HCI of the LMS tools.

13 Findings: Technological Factors
Infrastructure: Improving and maintaining infrastructure. Access to reliable and affordable bandwidth and robust network . Digital divide.

14 Findings: Technological Factors
Technical support: Quality of e-Learning contents depends on the expert group: online course development activity is a team effort which brings together a wide range of expertise. Problem-solving for technical difficulties: IT technical assistance should be timely and ongoing.

15 Findings: Technological Factors
HCI of the e-learning tools: Moodle environment. Built-in assessment tools. Registrations. Customization of LMSs.

16 Findings: Organizational Factors
Political will: negative attitude by top managers, lack of understanding of the e-learning concept & the confusion between e-learning and distance education. Institutional support : The commitment of decision makers should be fostered by practical support in order to provide a solid, enforceable, and accountable framework for the sustainable implementation of the e-learning approach.

17 Findings: Organizational Factors
Required Changes Raising awareness among decision makers to accept these initiatives. Establish a Strategy and Action Plans to accelerate the deployment of e-Learning. Staff needs to be 'e-enabled' to take advantage of the use of technology by creating an interactive environment including a clear policy for raising awareness, training program, improving infrastructure. Incentive system including releasing workload, training , attending conference, providing credit needed for promotions, providing awards for professors who develop outstanding contents or for faculty with excellent records in managing e-Learning. Systematic evaluation of the impacts of e-learning.

18 Implication for policy and practice
Palestinian instructors have a positive attitude towards adopting the e-learning. However they are not ready yet. They will need enough time to adopt the e-learning paradigm. Accessibility and connectivity and other technical issues are temporarily phases, emphasis should be on e-learning as a ‘process’ rather than as a ‘tool’. Sustainable e-learning approach should be part of a systematic integration of technology into the learning processes of the university rather than donor-funded e-learning projects. A holistic approach under the umbrella of PEI that recognizes lifelong learning as embracing e-learning in schools, colleges and universities. Capital investment is anticipated to be high at the initial stage, BZU is highly recommended to make more collaboration with PPP and international communities.

19 Implication for policy and practice
The main challenge to the successful implementation of e-learning lies in the organizational aspect rather than socio-technological factors. “it does not matter if the academic staff has the interest, it does not matter if the technology is in place – if there is no political will, nothing will change”

20 Thank You !

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