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PROJECT TOPIC: INVESTIGATION OF ONLINE TEACHING ON QUALITY OF KNOWLEDGE DISPENSATION: A CASE STUDY OF ACADEMIC STAFFS IN NIGERIA TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

Knowledge has become a critical factor in “determining security, prosperity, and quality of life, the global nature of our society, [and] the ease with which information technology….enables the rapid exchange of information, and networking…..” (Duderstadt, p. 220, 2000). Universities, as engines of knowledge, have an obvious and crucial role to play here relating to staff, students and their wider environment. In the UK, higher education is now charged by government with attracting greater numbers of students. However, at the same time as this expansion is taking place, the running costs of higher education have grown alongside a relative decline in monies being received from government sources and increased demands made for greater accountability for the sums that have been allocated (Dearlove, 2002). In this context, UK universities are being encouraged to be more entrepreneurial and innovative in their activities and less reliant on public funding; they are being urged to adopt the very technology that has brought about the explosion of the knowledge economy to deliver and support learning flexibly and cost-effectively.

Those universities wishing to successfully engage in this process will have to adopt and implement tactics that have the capacity to overcome existing social and cultural constraints (Kirkpatrick, 2001; Taylor, 2003). Significant investment in the delivery and support of courses by new learning technologies is not going to lead to major savings unless strategic transformation occurs within institutions at the same time (joint SFEFC/SHEFC E-Learning Group, 2003). However, the movement to virtual delivery systems challenges a deeply institutionalised feature of higher education (viz. the "private" domain of the lecture room) and the professional skills that have been developed and practiced there (Jaffee, 1998). Pedagogical practices at the traditional intersection of time and space will no longer hold (Jarvis, 2001). Learning will be increasingly initiated and be within the hands of the student rather than the teacher – who will become more of a facilitator and much less of a “sculptor” (Ljoså, 1998). A clear vision should be in place at the most senior level(s) so that staff can gain understanding of why change is important and necessary (Edmonds, 1999; Betts, 1998; Oliver & Dempster, 2002). Bates (1999), Dearlove (2002), Fullan (1991), Gilbert (2001b), McPherson (2003), Panan & McGovern (2003), Spencer-Mathews (2001) and Welsh & Metcalf (2003) all in fact conclude that the successful implementation of any plans will ultimately rest on academics agreeing that the proposals are reasonable. The institution has to turn itself, through its underlying philosophy and operational practices, into very much a learning organization and get commitment at all levels (McPherson, 2003).


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