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Supporting Mission Critical eLearning Services - Intro

Introduction

Since 2000, eLearning has taken off in a dramatic fashion in the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. It has reached saturation levels in the adoption rates by the professors and students. It has now become a mission critical service that requires 24 hours by 7 days availability. This article presents in four sections an overview of NTU’s eLearning infrastructural support models and management and operational structure. The processes the University adopted in facilitating the best practices for eLearning support, proactive systems monitoring and performance tuning are also described.

Background to NTU’s eLearning Experience

In May 1999, NTU was among the last institutions in Singapore to implement eLearning using a centralized approach. It crested edveNTUre as the University’s initiative. Within a short span of 4 years, the number of on-line courses in NTU has witnessed a dramatic growth from zero in May 2000 to an accumulative 8,945 courses in May 2004 (active courses is about 2000 course-sites per semester); this accounts for over 90% of NTU undergraduate course curriculum, and 75% of post-graduate courses. The weekly web page views – a strong indicator of usage and impact - have surged to typically 1.5 million (2.1 million peak) page-view hits. This establishes edveNTUre as an on-line service that is heavily used and depended on by the campus community in NTU.

Today, edveNTUre can be regarded as a real-time mission critical service of the University. NTU has a large student population of 22,818 (15,764 undergraduates, 7,054 postgraduates) and over 1,300 professors. Students depend on this eLearning service for courseware content material, forum discussion, self online assessment, etc. Professors use it as a means to communicate and keep in touch with their students. They also lean heavily on it as a (productivity) tool for online assessment, progress tracking, etc.

For its achievements , it has been accorded the following recognitions:

  • CIO100 Honoree 2004
  • Intelligent20 2003
  • Centre of Excellence in eLearning (SUN Microsystems), 2003
  • MOA with Blackboard Inc - International Certified Education Centre, 2003

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Author: Chye Seng LEE, Daniel Tiong Hok TAN

04 July 2004

VLE: Blackboard

 


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