hopper, 1993 [abstract, overview, toc, switchboard, references]

5 Organizational Contexts

It is the examination of the organizational or "human" contexts of projects that revealed how they really grew from an initial vision to a reality in classrooms. This requires an examination of the types of roles that were needed, the characteristics of the people who filled those roles, and the tasks or processes carried out by those people. Development methods were differentiated by the types of software used to author courseware, and the organizational structures in the organizations involved.
 
There were distinctly different roles required as the project moved from conceptualization to creation. Conceptualization was generally done by one or more faculty, while courseware development was often carried out by a heterogeneous team. Over the course of the research, two distinct ways of characterizing team roles emerged. The first type of distinction was based on the types of tasks that were performed relative to the authoring tasks. These roles corresponded closely to the types of software functions the project chose to employ. The second way in which roles were distinguished were independent of the types of activity performed within the context of actual development, and was more closely associated with the relationships of the people in the project to the academic and computing organizations in the contexts.
 
Throughout the projects there was also a consistent theme of the limitations and opportunities that were afforded by the availability or scarcity of various forms of resources. It will be interesting to examine the ways in which each of these varied over time as the project grew from nothing to existence.
 
Mary E. Hopper | MEHopper@TheWorld.com [posted 12/04/93 | revised 04/12/13]