Monday, 24 September 2007

Centralisation vs Individuals

Wouldn't this be a good topic to have a debate on,

Do you believe in centralisation for support teams within Higher Education, if so what is the reasoning behind your belief ...

Coming from a centralised team within a University here are my thoughts,

An ex colleague of mine took up post as a learning technologist within a department and has solely worked on their material. This not only has raised the departments use of technology, but has played a part in significantly improving the quality of the training materials. This impacts not only the student but the perception of the department and the University as a whole.

The time that an individual can spend with the team is much greater than that of a production department. The intimate relationship that the learning technologist has with the academic is much greater than that of a department and as such can promote and advise to a more receptive audience.

With department production comes a level of generalisation, that can affect the quality of the training materials especially when dealing with large numbers of academics.

1 comment:

René Meijer said...

Hi JaK,

While I agree with your comments, I do not think they represent the entire picture.

A local developer can be a great asset to a department that can afford it. But what if your department's need does not warrant a full time developer?

Another issue is that of institution wide solutions. Managing the University VLE, Developing staff development resources etc. only has to be done once. If every department had their own developer, wouldn't they waste a lot of time redoing these things?

Without central teams a University will rarely make structural, institute wide improvements. It might allow for very specialized high end individual solutions, but in the long end it will not lead to a structural improvement I believe. That is not to say local developers can't be useful, for a specialized area with a significant volume of bespoke demands that is certainly a viable solution. But only complementary to central staff, not in stead of.