Leading Toward Improved Collaboration

Leading Toward Improved Collaboration

Vickie Cook (Greenville College, USA) and Kara L. McElwrath (University of Illinois Springfield, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-853-1.ch012
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Abstract

As more and more learning is adapted to the Web 2.0 environment, it becomes imperative that faculty and students have the ability to collaborate through instant file sharing in a secure environment. Faculty, staff, and students of colleges and universities are more likely to click on or choose ‘File-Save’ than to file work in a physical filing cabinet today. Processing, managing, and storing these electronic files is much less structured than filing systems of the past. There is a critical need to manage the explosion of e-mail, documents, chat, and other content. Document creation to the ultimate disposition and storage of documents in both the function of teaching and learning, as well as the administrative functions within a university setting, requires process management that will provide a secure solution. The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) chose to purchase a Xythos product branded as eDocs to the university community, which provided a basic content management solution. The ABACUS (central guiding priorities) method of critique was used to determine the best possible solution. In this chapter, the authors will discuss how the Xythos product was chosen and how this choice impacted the pedagogy of online learning at UIS.
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Introduction

Teaching and learning creates a plethora of paper and electronic documents. As more and more learning is adapted to the Web 2.0 environment, faculty and students need the ability to collaborate through instant file sharing in a secure environment. Managing these documents through electronic storage that integrates with a Learning Management System can create an environment where teaching and learning can flourish (ScanSoft Productivity Applications, 2004). Regulations that guide compliance issues are most likely to be in place for processing, managing, and storing paper documentation. Since 1998, guidelines for electronic file keeping have been established. The U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (2009) maintains that legal requirements for paper documents are equally applicable to electronic documents thus making the retention and management of electronic documents a priority for educational institutions. Some universities, such as the University of California, Irvine, Boston College, and the University of Texas at Austin have found solutions to the amount of storage space required to retain paper files, reduction of staff time in manipulating paper documents used in the classroom, and the management of archived documents (Bourque, Franklin, & Updegrove, 2005). Employees may feel a false sense of confidence in their IT staff regarding the ability of IT staff to reliably retain, manage, and safeguard electronic files. Documents are only useful if users can find information when they need it. According to Records Management, State of Tennessee, “workers can waste up to two hours a day looking for misplaced paperwork – at a total of 500 hours (62.5 days) per year” (Miller, M. personal communication, July 15, 2009). Today, there is a critical need to manage the explosion of e-mail, documents, chat, and other unstructured content from its creation to its ultimate disposition and storage.

The University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) is a small public liberal arts university. UIS currently enrolls approximately 4,900 students which includes about 2,000 graduate students. UIS is organized in four colleges including Business and Management, Education and Human Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Public Affairs and Administration with a base of 220 full-time faculty. There are currently 22 bachelor's degree programs and 25 minors, 20 master's degree programs, and one doctoral degree offered. UIS is a teaching institution that focuses on student engagement and small class sizes with a ratio of 1:12 faculty to full-time student equivalent. UIS was established in 1969 as Sangamon State University by the Illinois General Assembly. On July 1, 1995, the institution became a campus of the University of Illinois, and inaugurated as the University of Illinois Springfield.

UIS has become noted as an award winning leader in online education. Awards include 2008 Excellence in Online Reputation Management from the Society for New Communications Research; 2008 Ralph E. Gomory Aware for Quality Online Education; and 2007 SLOAN-C Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning Programming. Quality online learning represents a significant investment by faculty and administrators at the Springfield campus in time, effort, and funding (University of Illinois Springfield, 2009). As UIS continues to expand its online offerings to a Web 2.0 environment, there is a continued need for faculty and students to have the ability to collaborate through instant file sharing in a secure environment.

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