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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #163: September 3, 2004


Journal Name: Prometheus: Volume 22, Number 2, June 2004

Online ISSN: 0810-9028, Print ISSN: 1470-1030


An Ecology of Constraints on e-Learning in Higher Education: The Case of a Virtual Learning Environment1 (pp131-149)
The implications of e-learning in higher education have been limited by an array of technical, institutional, social and economic constraints on innovation. This paper describes a case study of the introduction into a university of a widely diffused e-learning platform: an enterprise-wide virtual learning environment. The study suggests a variety of patterns and themes tied to the social dynamics of this innovation. These highlight variations across instructors in how the technology was employed, which illuminate the complex ecology surrounding its implementation and use. This offers insights into the faltering development of e-learning in higher education, and learning more generally.

Keywords: course management system, ecology of games, e-learning, information and communication technologies, institutional change, virtual learning environment

Managing Risk in Cross-sector R&D Collaborations: Lessons From an International Case Study (pp151-167)
Cross-sector collaborations to perform R&D are on the increase, but they do involve various risks for each of the partners. Project risks in such ventures are explored through a case study, a successful collaboration involving an Australian Cooperative Research Centre and Ciba Vision, a division of the Swiss multi-national Novartis. The analysis examines the project's success factors and its risks. The reputation of researchers, the development of mutual trust among the partners, and the importance of credible commitments made at project initiation are three key factors contributing to the success of commercially focused R&D collaborations.

Keywords: R&D, collaboration, trust, risk, credible commitments, commercialization

Success in Failure: The National Centre for Popular Music (pp169-187)
Management Studies would much rather deal with success than failure. Its treatment of failure is consequently peremptory, defining failure in simple, financial terms. Yet, failure is complex. This paper looks in detail at the case of the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield, England. Though the Centre was an unmitigated disaster, individual managers were still able to interpret the part each played as successful. Why was the project outcome so much less than the sum of these individual parts? The dynamics of failure are intriguing. Understanding them would seem to be essential to understanding what brings about success.

Keywords: failure, success, National Centre for Popular Music, Sheffield, management

Commercialisation of Knowledge in Universities: The Case of the Creative Industries (pp189-200)
During the last two decades, the convergence of a number of social and economic factors has increased the interest of universities, industry and government in the commercialisation of universities' research output. Not without scepticism from some institutions and individuals, governments and universities around the world are taking steps towards identifying marketable research products, strengthening links with industry, and creating institutional frameworks needed to sustain and increase research output and speed the technology transfer process. These actions vary in degree and scope: from standardising and enforcing conventional intellectual property protection mechanisms, to creating support mechanisms for spin-off companies and setting up venture capital funds to support their growth.

To date, universities' commercial experience has been mostly in the area of science and technology and thinking about commercialisation is framed in these terms. However, as digital innovations move through the services, media and entertainment sector, innovations and commercialisation opportunities of quite a different nature present themselves. Thus, there are considerable challenges for creative disciplines within tertiary institutions seeking to respond to the commercialisation imperative. This paper examines claims from the emerging creative industries and analyses universities'potential support of the commercialisation of creative innovation.

Keywords: intellectual property, commercialisation, spin-offs, equity

Universities and Communities: A Case Study of Change in the Management of a University (pp201-211)
The role of universities has been evolving over the last 20 years, from a focus on teaching and research towards an enabling, partnership role with industry, government and communities in their proximate geographical spaces. Universities are increasingly linked to place. This paper reports on a case study of a peri-urban Australian university that has chosen to link its identity with the development of its proximate communities. In doing so, a number of levers of change have been employed, amidst 'push'and 'pull'factors that have challenged the institutionalisation of change. The strategies employed by university managers have included: industry, government and community participation in university governance; a cooperative education programme; and changes to systems for promotion, performance and recognition. There have been a number of obstacles to change, some of which continue to beset the embedding of a focus on regional and community engagement. Although at a formative stage, this change is already showing promising results. The change levers employed provide some interesting insights for university managers, academic staff and students of organisational change, more generally.

Keywords: universities, change, regional engagement

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