With the rapid advances in networking technologies and the commercialization of the Internet today, many organizations are actively reflecting on their organizational design and operating philosophy to transform their bricks-and-mortar entity into its clicks-and-mortar counterpart. We call such a transition effort the electronic transformation of the organization, or simply the e-Transformation effort (Henderson & Venkatraman, 1993; Hoque, 2000). Obviously, such an effort requires an objective methodology (Vat, 2000b; 2002b), which must be instrumental to creating an efficient electronic organization (e-Organization) model that could enable the organization (Vat, 2001a; 2002c) to launch and learn based on some innovative initiative, and then incorporate the lessons learned and launch again. Consequently, organizational transformation could be considered as the essence of a learning organization (Senge, 1990; Garvin, 1993; Vat, 2001b), implying its constant efforts to better itself for any coming challenges. An example of such transformation is to consider the challenge of managing a learning university (Duke, 2002) and putting the university online (Cornford & Pollock, 2003). A university comprises valuable assets coming from its teams of knowledge workers, who have a strong formal education, have learned how to learn, and have a habit of continuing to learn throughout their lifetime. Nevertheless, human capitals as an organization’s intellectual assets could be made more visible only through their application and reuse (Conklin, 1996; Stewart, 1997). These then are good reasons to stewarding people’s intellectual knowledge, however implicit it may be, and making it available within and without the organization whose competitive edge comes from having and effectively using such knowledge. The idea of electronic portfolio systems (e-Portfolio) (Aalderink & Veugelers, 2006; Dalziel, Challan, & Sutherland, 2006), as part of a university initiative to improve teaching and learning, fits timely to advance this goal in higher education. However, this vision requires e-Transformation efforts on the part of the conventional university, to take advantage of not only the new technological, but also the renewed pedagogical opportunities. The result could eventually be an essential constituent of a virtual university (VU) (Hamalainen, Whinston, & Vishik, 1996; Chellappa, Barua, & Whinston, 1997; Vat, 2001a; 2004), which is an electronic form of the original university renewed based on the working model of a virtual organization (Davidow, & Malone, 1992; Cheng, 1996; Hedberg, Dahlgren, Hansson, & Olve, 1997), to enable a re-engineered vision of the university’s education process.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Electronic Organization (e-Organization) Model: A term used to describe the way electronic transformation of organizations in today’s Internet era, is conducted, so as to render various virtual experiences of organizational activities instead of the physical encounter of the same.
Knowledge Sharing: Any people- or organization-oriented activity to share know-how in a way that makes it easier for individuals, teams, and enterprises to work together (or collaborate) in order to contribute to one another’s success in today’s knowledge society.
Electronic Transformation (e-Transformation): The process of an organization’s transformation from a bricks-and-mortar entity to its clicks-and-mortar counterpart, involving the use of various information and communications technologies to enhance the productivity of the enterprise in the Internet era.
Virtual University (VU): An electronic counterpart of the campus-based university, renewed based on the advanced networking technologies and the commercialization of the Internet, to offer educational services through such electronic medium as the World Wide Web.
Electronic Portfolio (e-Portfolio): An electronic space to reflect upon a person’s or an organization’s digital identity, including relevant working experiences in terms of artifacts that relate to his or her professional career, or the organizational profiles detailing the mission, history and achievement of the enterprise. In an instructional context, the nature of e-Portfolio carries two connotations: as a means of assessing specific student performance, and as a showcase for outstanding student accomplishments.
Education Services Provider: An entity (or an organization) running along the business of offering education services as its marketable products.
Pedagogical Change: The tasks involved in re-organizing the conventional model of education, say, from the ‘direct transfer’ model of broadcast-based teaching, to the interactive (or collaborative) model of knowledge construction. One example interpretation in the context of lifelong learning is the shift away from a teacher-centered mode of lecturing to the student-centered mode of participative learning.