Life Cycle Challenges of Online Learning Support Systems

Life Cycle Challenges of Online Learning Support Systems

Debra A. Beazley (Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions, USA), Riad Aisami (Troy University, USA) and Elise L. Addison (Troy University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch198
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Abstract

For centuries, biologists have described the living world in terms of life cycles (Campbell & Reece, 2005; Quinn & Cameron, 1983; Lester, Parnell, & Carraher, 2003). Similar to the epigenesis of the individual (Erikson, 1980), theorists have asserted that there is a natural rhythm to development in the corporation (Adizes, 1988). Pathology occurs when the characteristics inherent in each developmental stage are thwarted. In the past several decades, organizational consultants began the assimilation of corporate health to that of the individual, citing life cycles in organizations as being epigenetic and predetermined (Adizes, 1988; Lester, Parnell, Carraher, 2003; Masurel & Montfort, 2006; Liao, 2006). The catalyst for change is similar to that of life crisis in the individual where an otherwise steady state is dismantled by environmental events (Beck & Cowan, 1996). Moving from a successful level of endeavor to a deteriorating, chaotic level, the business is forced to change in sometimes quantum ways. Not unlike the individual, the business resisting change is arrested in development and faces stagnation and possible deterioration. There are occurrences where whole industries are stimulated toward change; as a response, individual business in that industry must decide to adapt to the change or fail. In traditional academia, triggers in the millennium environment have directed a change toward internet-based education and digital format. Support systems in academia, like college book stores, are stimulated to adapt to non-traditional delivery platforms.
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Introduction

For centuries, biologists have described the living world in terms of life cycles (Campbell & Reece, 2005; Quinn & Cameron, 1983; Lester, Parnell, & Carraher, 2003). Similar to the epigenesis of the individual (Erikson, 1980), theorists have asserted that there is a natural rhythm to development in the corporation (Adizes, 1988). Pathology occurs when the characteristics inherent in each developmental stage are thwarted. In the past several decades, organizational consultants began the assimilation of corporate health to that of the individual, citing life cycles in organizations as being epigenetic and predetermined (Adizes, 1988; Lester, Parnell, Carraher, 2003; Masurel & Montfort, 2006; Liao, 2006). The catalyst for change is similar to that of life crisis in the individual where an otherwise steady state is dismantled by environmental events (Beck & Cowan, 1996). Moving from a successful level of endeavor to a deteriorating, chaotic level, the business is forced to change in sometimes quantum ways. Not unlike the individual, the business resisting change is arrested in development and faces stagnation and possible deterioration. There are occurrences where whole industries are stimulated toward change; as a response, individual business in that industry must decide to adapt to the change or fail. In traditional academia, triggers in the millennium environment have directed a change toward internet-based education and digital format. Support systems in academia, like college book stores, are stimulated to adapt to non-traditional delivery platforms.

The stimulus from brick-and-mortar bookstores to online booksellers triggered such a change in the commercial book industry. Newly designed and evolved businesses concepts such as internet-based education signaled entrepreneurial innovation across platforms. The other mature more dated elements of the industry were forced to adapt and change to this trigger. A similar catalyst has occurred in the academic book store industry as the components of electronic commerce popular in commercial sales are now evident in academic book sales. For example, by the end of 1999, college bookstores had begun the transition into electronic commerce businesses, and as a response have simultaneously considered leasing bookstore functions to commercial companies with a greater capacity to expand brick-and-mortar services to include electronic and digital elements (Vargas, 2000). In fact, the Independent College Bookstore Association estimates that over half of all college bookstores are now managed by lease operators (Deahl, Get ‘Em While; Phua, 2005). Community college bookstores are exposed to the simultaneous triggers of evolving electronic components and the threat and opportunity of leasing operations due to the entrepreneurial nature of expanding Internet services.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Epigenesis: The natural progression of a living, open system.

The Sloan Consortium: The nation’s largest association of institutions and organizations for online education. It is administered through Babson College and Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

Life cycle: The progressive development of a living system from a lesser, more simplistic stage to a more advanced, complex stage.

Community College: Designates a small, more rural college as different from a city college or university.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: An American foundation makes grants in science, technology and the quality of American life.

Online Learning Support System: Delivering academic and non-academic learning support to increase the likelihood of students’ success in an online learning program

Millennium: Events occurring in the early 21st century; is used to refer to time or generation.

Online Course: A course where most or all of the content is delivered online. Typically have no face-to-face meetings.

Online Learning: An option for students who wish to learn in their own environment using technology and/or the Internet.

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