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A Framework for Judging Costs and Benefits in Modular Institutions


John Traxler
School of Computing and IT
University of Wolverhampton
Wulfruna St

tel: 01902 321467


Theme: Evaluation Theory and Frameworks


Educational software is either bought in or home-grown. Other learning technologies, however simple, are also bought in or home-grown. Whatever their source or nature these technologies all have costs, mainly time and effort, associated with acquiring them, developing them and learning how to use them.

In a modular institution, these technologies are deployed by a lecturer within the boundaries of a module as the components of a total teaching system and the costs usually fall on the lecturer acting as module leader.

As a consequence of this modular context, any isolated consideration of educational software's costs, values and benefits is inappropriate to the working module leader, responsible for choosing and developing a synergistic set of complementary learning technologies for the module. Reasoned choice about technologies is only really feasible if it is possible to specify module educational objectives in detail independently of the technologies that will be used to deliver them

Similarly, any isolated consideration of the benefits of educational software will often ignore the institutional and professional context in which a module leader deploys the software and every other learning technology. Attempts to maximise the effectiveness of educational software may fail if the software is considered outside of the specific module in which it operates.

This presentation will use ideas from information systems engineering and software engineering and will outline the factors that should constitute a framework for reaching decisions about developing and deploying learning technologies within a module.

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Last modified: 1 December 1999 (formatting).
Original text 21 May 1998.