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The use of computer mediated communication as a tool in the delivery of distance learning MBA programmes: a case study of the use of the help system at Henley Management College

Akehurst, E. D. (1996) The use of computer mediated communication as a tool in the delivery of distance learning MBA programmes: a case study of the use of the help system at Henley Management College. DBA thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

With increasing technological advances in computing hardware and software, particularly groupware, and in telecommunications, the potential for the use of computer mediated communications (CMC) in education is growing. By focussing on a single case study, this thesis considers the potential for such use in MBA programmes delivered by distance learning. The aim of the thesis is not to prove theory nor test hypothesis, rather to add to the body of knowledge about such applications by observation of practical application and the evolving of theory. The case concerns the use of Henley Management College's HELP system by three groups of distance learning MBA students over a period of about three years. The research begins with a literature review, looking firstly at the nature and character of MBA education before considering distance education and open learning and its relationship to other forms of educational delivery culminating in the theory of delivery convergence. Learning styles and the nature and role of group work in learning are considered in the context of computer mediated communications application. The empirical work is focussed on observation of student use of the HELP system with data generated from student questionnaires and from the system itself. This enables evaluation of the observed use of computer mediated communication to be undertaken from three principle perspectives, that of the individual, the group and the provider. The results show the use of computer mediated communication to have had a mixed success in this case. It identifies causes for this and indicates courses of action to reduce the probability of failure and increase the probability of successful development of the potential of CMC as a delivery tool in this environment. This research supports the hypothesis that CMC can be added to distance education to surrogate face-to-face activities, but with limited success. To achieve its full potential, it needs to be conceived as a novel form of communication and be fully integrated into any programme within which it is used. As such, it is shown that CMC can play a significant role in the delivery of third generation MBA programmes.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:Birchall, D. and Money, A.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Management College
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:87072

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