learning landscapes in southern africa


Establishing an eLearning Division at a Higher Education Institution: lessons from the University of the Western Cape (UWC)

Juliet Stoltenkamp, Carolynne Kies and James Njenga, Information and Communication Services,University of the Western Cape
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Paper (29 pages)

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The need to re-align teaching and learning in the wake of technology advancement saw the establishment of an E-Learning Division (ED) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). The division has grown tremendously since it was established in May 2005. In this paper, we present the institutionalisation of E-Learning and the establishment and insights of the support division. We acknowledge that the process of recruiting and building the necessary human capacity within the division is broad and is nowhere near completion. We present how to meet the demands of our clientele in terms of training and support and we discuss the challenges faced in integrating the activities of the ED with other departments within UWC. In line with this training and support, we describe the need of changing the mindsets of UWC's community towards the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICTs) in teaching and learning through empowering them for online course facilitation as well as enhancing their computer literacy skills. We present a campaign for the formation of a structure that is self-sustaining against the resistance from the intended clientele, as well as problems of coordinating ED's activities with other divisions and entities within UWC. We argue that a supportive leadership and effective and insightful organisational policies and strategies are key components to the success of the establishment of e-learning. Further, we show that the success is also pegged to the continuous review and updating of the organisational policies in the light of new requirements. E-Learning Divisions success and achievements are based on the continuous review and feedback from our clientele as we strive to improve and enhance according to their needs.