Successful Implementation of a Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning System in Teaching E-Commerce

Successful Implementation of a Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning System in Teaching E-Commerce

E. W. T. Ngai (Department of Management & Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong), S. S. Lam (Lee Shau Kee School of Business & Administration, The Open University of Hong Kong, Homantin, Hong Kong) and J. K. L. Poon (Hong Kong Community College, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
DOI: 10.4018/ijicte.2013100101
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This paper describes the successful application of a computer-supported collaborative learning system in teaching e-commerce. The authors created a teaching and learning environment for 39 local secondary schools to introduce e-commerce using a computer-supported collaborative learning system. This system is designed to equip students with additional knowledge and skills in e-commerce. In this paper, the authors focus on the practical implications of the project-based learning approach on the teaching and learning of introductory e-commerce in the business context. Results indicate that students are interested in the proposed approach, particularly in learning by doing. In conclusion, the authors describe in this paper the successful development of a project-based teamwork game environment for the teaching and learning of e-commerce in schools. This environment can enrich learning and the pedagogical use of development tools in the academe. Finally, the paper puts forward two propositions that can guide hypothesis generation in future research.
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The Internet has altered not only the way businesses are carried out but also the curricula of business schools. To equip graduates with the skills required in today's modern economy, new courses have recently been developed and integrated with existing programs to teach students the basic concepts of e-commerce. With the maturity of e-commerce technologies, an increase in the number of business transactions conducted and completed over the Internet is expected. Notably, the development of e-commerce depends on the familiarity and trust of users (Gefen, 2000). Thus, experts suggest that e-commerce education should commence as early as possible to allow students to broaden their horizons and explore the e-world. In this regard, e-commerce education should be further publicized and extended to secondary schools. However, a survey on business education at secondary and postsecondary levels indicated that the infusion of e-commerce topics into existing curricula does not adequately prepare students for roles in companies where e-commerce is an integral part of daily operations (Morrison & Oladunjoye, 2002). The situation is even worse in Hong Kong secondary schools, wherein computer literacy courses do not specifically cover e-commerce despite the inclusion information technology (IT) skills in the curriculum.

E-commerce is technologically oriented business involving multiple disciplines, most of which are discussed in universities rather than in secondary schools. The subject e-commerce is new not only to students but also to secondary school teachers. Hence, teaching the subject in the business context is considered difficult and challenging. In addition, the traditional face-to-face approach may not be useful in stimulating the interests of students. Instead of relying on the capability of secondary school teachers to handle the tasks, the teaching process can be deconstructed into a series of processes that can be provided or supported by tertiary-level teachers and IT professionals. To promote the understanding of e-commerce in secondary schools, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has funded teaching projects that focus on teaching e-commerce in secondary schools using non-traditional approaches. Consequently, several website design competitions for secondary students have been conducted. Most of these competitions, however, have focused either on the content value or on the attractiveness of web pages, thus overlooking the importance of practicability and applicability.

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