This is the third article in a series on the development of a computer plan for distance learning. The second article is devoted to the “what” plan. Identify problems and execute a plan. This article will look at the printing of a mechanism for determining expected outcomes and an evaluation procedure in the REMOTE education IT plan.
I will refer to Gervan Firon’s approach to strategic and operational planning in his presentation paper for the National Open University of Nigeria on Strategic and Operational Planning (April 2005). The method involves the use of some of the key issues raised in the latest article, “Online Learning – Developing an Information Technology Plan for Distance Learning” (2). The idea here is to compare the expected results and results of achieving the goals of the plan with the evaluation procedure. It is about promoting the evolving and dynamic nature of information technology and adapting accordingly so that the plan does not become obsolete in a few months.
At this stage, the results, outcomes and objectives of the plan would be defined, which now provides broad leeway for the evaluation mechanism. To explain this further, I was involved in a project in which we need to convert some educational content into audio files and Windows Media formats. It was a cost-effective format agreed upon in terms of IT, but we made some changes when the focus was on mp3, which is better in terms of compatibility and memory capacity. I remember converting the whole lesson from Windows Media to MP3 with 2.7GB, no more than 200MB!
Below are other specific considerations and relationships established within and between objects defined in the computer distance learning equation that should be included in the assessment and measurement of the goals pursued by the plan.
What is the communication plan to communicate the IT distance learning plan, the expected results and measure the success of applicants, students, academic and non-academic staff and stakeholders?
How do these results and evaluation mechanisms relate to academic, administrative, student and student support services?
How do these results and the evaluation mechanism relate to the three areas of education, research and services?
Identify five key IT plan results, four of which are shared across all programs, courses and/or business units, one of which is specific to the program, course, and/or business unit.
How will the results of the success assessment be communicated annually to certain organizations, stakeholders and through the management structure of the university where the distance education institution is located?
What is the purpose of the main IT plan messages to applicants, students, academic and non-academic staff and stakeholders?
How is the local, regional, international and government community involved in communication and evaluation of the success of the school and/or administrative unit?
All of the above questions need to be answered. Therefore, the IT plan should include this in the main flow of the process. This ensures that the IT plan will always focus on distance learning rather than the implementation of the information technology itself. To implement this, there must be a table for each area showing results, deadlines, responsibilities, etc. On the communication side, there must be a communication mechanism in the implementation of the plan to improve the flow of feedback, information and communication to ensure effective plan continuity.