:Teaching the Online Course Knowledge Work Tools
Evolution of Intra-organizational Collaboration

פרויקט במסגרת קול קורא 2 לקידום יישומי טכנולוגיות למידה


Gali Naveh, Dorit Tubin, Nava Pliskin

Ben-Gurion University


The vision guiding the second (2005) call for proposals (CFP) of the Israeli Council of Higher Education (CHE), was to encourage inter-organizational and intra- organizational collaboration. After responding to this CFP and receiving funding, a joint team from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), the University of Haifa, and Sapir Academic College partnered to develop a modular online course entitled Knowledge Work Tools (KWT). Under the management of the BGU project team, lead by the first author, using the relative advantage of each partner institution and demonstrating inter-organizational collaboration, the project for developing the online KWT course enjoyed ended on time and within budget.

The resulting KWT course which allows, under an authentication-protected environment, customization to different kinds of students and needs, was tested in a pilot phase during the academic year 2005-2006, teaching first-year students at the Industrial Engineering and Management (IEM) department. Following successful completion of the pilot phase, the course has progressed this year (2006-2007) to the production phase, teaching over 800 BGU students in a variety of departments at the faculties of Engineering Sciences, Health Sciences, Humanities & Social Sciences, and the School of Management. The first author has been nominated course manager in charge of the course teaching staff in both the pilot and production phases.

In the first stage of the pilot phase, during Semester A of 2005-2006, one module of the KWT course (word processing) was offered online to IEM students, substituting conventional face-to-face in-lab instruction. In the second stage of the pilot phase, during Semester B of the same academic year for, a second module of the KWT course (spreadsheet processing) was added online, instead of lab meetings, teaching another group of IEM students. Surveys conducted in both stages of the pilot phase showed high student satisfaction.

In the current production phase, administrative arrangements are handled by the course manager and teaching staff. Academic and administrative staff from the various user departments interacts with the course manager as a single point of contact. These managerial arrangements allow customization of the KWT course for each user department according to the departmental perception with regard to the course role in the academic development of its students, preserving departmental autonomy with respect to pedagogic issues. At the same time, while maintaining the autonomy of each user department, collaboration among them can takes place. Lessons learned by one department (regarding administrative, as well as pedagogic issues), are implemented by other departments. For example, the importance of introductory face-to-face section, experienced in the past by one department, was implemented in the first semester of a totally new course offered by another department. The full paper will describe these pilot and production phases, highlighting instances of intra-organizational collaboration which proved possible and beneficial to all parties involved, in line with the vision guiding the CHE’s call for proposals in 2005.