Change, Discontinuity and Re-architecture at an ODL Mega-university
The University of South Africa [UNISA], which celebrates its 140 years of existence this year is in the throes of deep transformation. Institutional transformation takes place within the context of ambitious plans to widen participation at the national level. Persistent challenges of increasing pass rates and throughput in distance education must also be overcome in order to cement the credibility of ODL as a viable avenue for quality higher education. // Much institutional change is driven by the conjuncture of national broadband infrastructure, receding costs, massive investments in institutional technological architecture, and tried and tested teaching, learning and assessment technology and applications, as well as the rapid advances in OERs, which render the shift online desirable. However, increased size and organizational complexity consequent to prolific growth over the past decade, a more diverse student body, and wide geographical dispersal of students, has also impelled the changes illuminated here. // The changes underway are resonant with changes in the economy and society in general as most of industry shifts to paperless environments. We have been impelled by concerns about the competencies and employability of graduates in the digital age. The shift online is intended to equip students, especially those from impoverished and technology poor backgrounds with skills for the digital age. // Beginning with a new business model, the effort underway is aimed to overhaul the operational model, and ultimately the entire organizational architecture. // This paper will illuminate the underlying premises of the change underway, and the challenges attendant to such largescale and unprecedented change to the architecture of an organization of the character and size of Unisa. // Paper ID: 20
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