ETEC 520: Planning and Managing Technologies for Higher Education


The purpose of this course is to prepare you to plan and manage the effective use of e-learning in your institutions and organizations. We will do this through readings and discussions of some of the key issues. The assignments provide you with an opportunity to apply some of these ideas to practical planning activities.

As the title indicates, the course is focused on higher education (colleges, universities and institutes) and it is aimed primarily at people with management responsibilities working in this sector or those who aspire to work as educational managers. Participants who don’t fit this profile can still benefit from this course but you may have to work a bit harder to make sense of some of material and concepts.

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Discuss the different meanings of e-learning.
  • Discuss and critique the key rationales for using e-learning in higher education.
  • Analyze different approaches to planning and supporting e-learning in higher education.
  • Determine the appropriate approach to planning and supporting e-learning in your institution or organization.
  • Develop an appropriate strategy for planning and managing e-learning in your institution or organization;
  • Discuss some of the social, economic and political factors that are influencing the planning and management of e-learning in higher education;
  • Discuss the key principles of the open education movement and how they might be integrated into institutional planning for e-learning.


This course is about ideas and issues that are influenced by personal values, ideologies, and world views and it is based primarily on the experience of the course authors, and on reports and articles by managers from other institutions with fairly recent experience of planning and managing e-learning in higher education. You may have other, equally relevant experiences, and we want to be able to draw on, share and discuss this varied set of experiences.

Our aim then is not to pontificate but to direct you to sources of information and to perspectives you may not have considered. It will be up to you to decide what is most relevant and appropriate to your situation. This means you will need to use your information seeking, analysis and interpretation skills, and be ready and willing to critique the planning and management examples that you read about.

We aim to prepare you for this in the following ways:

  • by providing you with different perspectives on planning and managing e-learning in higher education;
  • by providing you with an introduction to some basic principles and ideas of planning and management in this field, such as visioning, resource allocation, project management, etc.;
  • by providing you with analytical frameworks that will get you started in critiquing different approaches to planning and management in this field;
  • by helping you find your own references and sources of information on research in this field, and by helping you assess the value of the information you collect;
  • through discussion groups and assignments to analyze and evaluate what you have learned;
  • by getting you to reflect on your own views, and to step back from these to understand some of your own underlying, and possibly unquestioned, assumptions;
  • by having you work collaboratively with other students through the discussion groups and assignments, in order to get a wider range of perspectives on the various issues that arise in this course.

Readings & Resources

There is one textbook for this course and a number of online readings and resources.

We have tried to provide a varied selection of readings in recognition of the fact that participants will have different interests. Our aim is also to provide resources that may be useful to you after you have finished the formal study of this course, as well as during the course.

A complete list of readings and resources is available on the course blog.


Assignments & Assessment

There are three assignments for this course. The grade breakdown is as follows:

  • Assignment #1: 25%
  • Assignment #2: 30%
  • Assignment #3: 35%

All three assignments must be submitted to pass.

There is a collaborative option for Assignments 2 and 3. You may complete one or both assignments in a group.
Ten per cent of your final grade is for participation in the discussion forums. To earn the full 10% you must contribute at least two messages to each unit discussion before its closing date.

Full details of the assignments are listed here.

Minor course topic, activity, reading/resource and assignment details may change from year to year.