What’s Needed for E-learning to Take Off? Designing a Suitable National and Institutional Policy Runway


  • W J Rosenberg University of Canterbury


There is a wide range of possible educational applications of technology, from mundane to mind-stretching, which have a good pedagogical rationale and will benefit both students and teachers. Yet the e-leaming plane is bumping along the runway, sometimes seeming to take to the air, but in fact still short of takeoff in the sense of being integrated into teaching practice. Part of the reason is the policy environment, both at national and institutional levels. This paper considers what
might be helpful in tertiary education, particularly in universities. Nationally, confidence has been dented by funding
scandals involving a very specific type of e-leaming, and there seems little recognition of the startup costs for institutions and staff, but useful work is going on to support the development of standards and to fund e-leaming projects through the e-leaming Collaborative Development Fund (eCDF). Institutionally, some institutions are doing better than others, but in almost all there are the perennial issues of the status of teaching, which has been underlined by the coming of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF), and the weak incentives for teaching staff to develop their teaching and innovate. Successful policy needs to address these issues. This paper looks at international experience and suggests examples of national imd institutional policies which can help.

Author Biography

W J Rosenberg, University of Canterbury

Bill Rosenberg is Deputy Director of the
University Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Canterbury, managing a flexible learning group within the Centre. He has worked for more than 20 years in university information technology services. He is a member of the Ministry of Education’s Tertiary e-Learning Reference Group and a Commissioner of the Tertiary Education Commission. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.