Managing interactions in the e-learning environment: technological support for academic staff
AbstractOver the last two decades the use of e-learning technology increased to such an extent that the role of the traditional academic has been forced to change. Focusing on academics’ views, this study examines their interactions in the e-learning environment and whether online learning applications have increased academic workload (Eynon, 2005; Olaniran, 2006). This study also identifies how their role has changed and the underlying factors which may cause negativity in their working environment. This understanding then generated the theory behind a prototype application, produced to be an addition to the current tools that academics use, with the intention to reduce academic efforts in creating content for teaching. Based on literature review, twelve interviews with academics and analysis of participant transaction logs suggests that online learning applications have increased workload. For some academics the use of e-learning technology in UK higher education can be a full time occupation. It is evident from the data that the drawbacks to current e-learning technology outweigh the number of benefits. A key concern is the high number of hours which are being spent on e-learning systems by academics. This research states unequivocally that the level of complexity for some academics is daunting, as well as frustrating. This study argues that managing expectations of academic staff is vital to the success of e-learning systems. A web-based prototype application was developed to extend the current functionality of e-learning systems, with a key objective to decrease the time spent by academics on elearning activities; functionality which has not yet been incorporated by other e-learning platforms such as Blackboard or Moodle. The prototype was tested by three academics who agreed that their overall experience was positive, effective and beneficial. Most importantly, they believed that the application would reduce the number of hours they spent on e-learning activities.
ISLAM, N. (2015). Managing interactions in the e-learning environment: technological support for academic staff. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.