ARE ICTS MODIFYING THE ORGANISATION OF TEACHING AND LEARNING IN HIGHER EDUCATION?
Publications on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have multiplied which announce a revolution in modes of work and forms of organisations (Muhlmann, 2001). These publications which consider ICTs as a vector of organisational change appear to be a resurgence of crude technological determinism.
For example, in 2005 the HELIOS (“Horizontal E-learning Integrated Observation System”, 2005) research project resulted in a thematic report on the role of ICTs, and e-learning in particular, in supporting organisational change. The two-fold focus of the research project was:
• the organisational changes that e-learning fosters
• the organisational changes that are seen as necessary to release the potential of ICTs.
The resurgence of technological determinism in research related to ICTs raises renewed interest in the relation between technology and organisation.
Determining the effects of ICTs on the organisation of teaching and learning in higher education.
Are ICTs modifying the organisation of teaching and learning in higher education?
The Free University of Brussels (ULB) has used a Course Management System (CMS) since 1998. This CMS consists of five course tools that faculty can select in order to build their course. These are: organisational tools (e.g. calendar), communication tools (e.g. mail, chat…), student learning activities (e.g. assessments, assignments…), content tools (e. g. web links, media library…) and student tools (e.g. grades). Faculty can select tools they need which are automatically added to their courses. However, the selection of a tool does not mean that it is used by faculty or students.
Two samples were used. The first one consists of 43 courses created during the academic year 2004-2005. The second one consists of 128 courses created during the academic year 2007-2008.
Relative variations (increases or decrease) in tools used between 2004-2005 and 2007-2008 were compared.
- Academic year 2007-2008
Per tool, non-selection frequency on average is 71% and selection frequency is 28% which encompass used and non used tools.
Per tool, only 3 % are used on average.
- Academic year 2004-2005
Per tool, non-selection frequency on average is 85% and selection frequency is 15% which encompass used and non used tools.
Per tool, 8 % are used on average.
In terms of relative variations, there is a decrease in tools used between 2004-2005 and 2007-2008.
The impact of CMS’s tools in the organisation of learning and teaching at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) is not significant.
Horizontal E-learning Integrated Observation System, HELIOS. Is e-learning Contributing to Organisational Change? 5th Helios thematic report. 2005.
MUHLMANN, David. “Des nouvelles technologies à l’image de vieilles organisations”. Sociologie du Travail, 43(2001), 327-347