About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 9038-9044
Publication year: 2018
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2117

Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain

A WORM-HOLE STRATEGY: DEVELOPMENT OF A RAPID DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR DIGITAL STUDY MATERIAL AT THE NORTH WEST UNIVERSITY, SOUTH AFRICA

R. Claassen, J. Venter, G. Du Plessis

North-West University (SOUTH AFRICA)
The North West University (NWU) is the second largest university in South Africa, with a full-time equivalent (FTE) students count of approximately 60.000, across three sites of delivery, with settings that vary from deep rural to urban-metropolitan. The NWU follows a multi-modal delivery approach, with technology enhanced learning environments, integrated blended learning, supported by resource rich learning designs.
The increase in student-owned devices and diversity in technologies brought about by a ‘bring-your-own-device’ context, and the variety of browsers and browser versions in use cannot ensure the correct handling of HTML5. Although WiFi footprints have improved on the campuses, access remains restricted on, and beyond campus settings.

The use of rapid instructional design and development software has introduced a proliferation on digital study material, with the challenges associated with logical management and storage thereof.

The varying settings at the three sites have led to increase demands in access to digital materials, both online and offline. Online access is complicated by the non-compliance of the current LMS to global standards. This deprives students from the advantages of interactive learning designs, and dynamics of interactive digital material. Capabilities to generate learning analytics are still underdeveloped. These challenges have all led to the adoption of laborious work-arounds, which require multiple logins on multiple delivery platforms.

To overcome the challenges, a worm-hole strategy was followed. This entailed the identification of a single point of strategic innovation in the life-cycle for digital study material. This point was identified in the distribution phase and required a rapid download/access interface that would effectively improve student access to digital study material, regardless of setting. The objective of this innovation was therefor to develop a user-friendly Rapid Distribution System (RDS).

The initiative was triggered in 2014 and completed over several phases. These included the sourcing of a credible third-party service provider, the development of an application to mine the repository, a programmed solution that would automate the reconfiguration of digital artefacts for multiple devices (device- and operating system–agnostic access and downloading.) Finally, integration of the solution was completed. This included internal integration the existing open source LMS), and retention of the interactive designs embedded in the content, the development of apps available for Android and iOS devices to download artefacts for offline use (i.e. external integration).

Additional accompaniments of the innovation include a 0% down-time, access via any browser, parallel storage and version control of both source files and published versions, location back-ups, bleeding edge malware and virus protection, and finally, the generation of learning analytics through the tracking of multiple variables, including device preferences, student details, locality, access preferences, and patterns on content usage (times, frequency and timelines).

Future developments will include the use of digital study material for assessments, and associated learning analytics.
@InProceedings{CLAASSEN2018AWO,
author = {Claassen, R. and Venter, J. and Du Plessis, G.},
title = {A WORM-HOLE STRATEGY: DEVELOPMENT OF A RAPID DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR DIGITAL STUDY MATERIAL AT THE NORTH WEST UNIVERSITY, SOUTH AFRICA},
series = {10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN18 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-02709-5},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2018.2117},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2018.2117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {2-4 July, 2018},
year = {2018},
pages = {9038-9044}}
TY - CONF
AU - R. Claassen AU - J. Venter AU - G. Du Plessis
TI - A WORM-HOLE STRATEGY: DEVELOPMENT OF A RAPID DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR DIGITAL STUDY MATERIAL AT THE NORTH WEST UNIVERSITY, SOUTH AFRICA
SN - 978-84-09-02709-5/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2018.2117
PY - 2018
Y1 - 2-4 July, 2018
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN18 Proceedings
SP - 9038
EP - 9044
ER -
R. Claassen, J. Venter, G. Du Plessis (2018) A WORM-HOLE STRATEGY: DEVELOPMENT OF A RAPID DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM FOR DIGITAL STUDY MATERIAL AT THE NORTH WEST UNIVERSITY, SOUTH AFRICA, EDULEARN18 Proceedings, pp. 9038-9044.
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