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Using a case study aimed at streamlining exam scheduling and distribution in a distance learning DL unit, we outline a sequential and non-linear four-step framework designed to reengineer processes. Our early involvement of all stakeholders, and our in-depth analysis and documentation of the existing process, allowed us to avoid the traditional pitfalls associated with business process reengineering BPR.
Consequently, the outcome of our case study indicates a streamlined and efficient process with a higher faculty satisfaction at substantial cost reduction. This interest in rethinking processes and procedures is driven mainly by budget shortfalls, information technology infusion, and external pressures for greater accountability and responsiveness.
Despite this enthusiasm and heavy investment from HE institutions however, few studies have examined the overall effectiveness and outcomes of reengineered processes.
Additionally, with the exception of the above mentioned Educause study, Allen and Fifieldand the work of Sepehri, Mashayekhi and MozaffarOkunoye, Frolick and Crableand to some extent Penrod and Dolence and Belarmino and Cantelifew studies have proposed a comprehensive framework to reengineer processes in HE environment.
In this paper, we attempt to contribute to both aspects by proposing a conceptual and operational framework for process reengineering in a HE environment, and by examining its effectiveness through a case study from a DL unit. This case study had two specific goals: By injecting new ways of doing things, BPR provides the opportunity to senior leadership to reduce staff and to reshape the organizational culture, as reflected in its values, norms, guidelines, and expectations, Schein, Following the BPR perspective, we designed a framework inspired by two main sources: By combining two sources in which theory has been nurtured by practice, our framework provides a well grounded tool to use when reengineering processes in HE.
As shown in the following figure, our framework is structured around four sequential and non-linear phases. Proposed process reengineering framework These four sequential and non-linear phases are: This phase is aimed at identifying and understanding the purpose, the rationale, and the objectives of the process review PR.
This second phase involves an in-depth analysis of the process tasks and procedures by analyzing tasks, reviewing risks and assumptions, and by identifying potential causes of resistance and inertia.
With the documentation obtained during phase one, the outcome of this analysis phase is used to flowchart the process. A visual presentation of the existing process dependencies and interdependencies is not only critical to mapping the core tasks and procedures of the process, but is also foundational for the reengineering process itself.
This third phase is intended to design the features and functionalities of the reengineered process, and includes active participation and feedback from all appropriate personnel and users. As the process is redesigned, the flowchart outlined in phase two is updated to include a clarification of the key measurement variables.
In this phase, information technology is used as an enabling and facilitating tool. In a second step, the reengineered process is fully implemented and monitored to ensure successful operation.
A summative evaluation is conducted, and achievement and outcomes are reported. Successful implementation of this framework requires three key pillars: Process Reengineering Framework Application Our case study was conducted at a moderately sized, urban, public, doctorate awarding, research university.
Between Summer and Summerinstructors taught 1, courses, totaling 37, registrations. Indeed, in addition to burdening faculty with numerous paper-based forms for each exam given, this manual approach created tracking, processing, and retrieving problems for the DL staff.
In short, the submission of paper forms was costly, cumbersome, and inefficient, and made tracking and managing difficult. To address these issues, a Web-based solution was designed, following the four step framework outlined above.
We established our understanding of the process by reviewing a variety of sources — including original paper reports, manuals, and forms — and by interviewing current staff and administrators in DL and, perhaps more importantly, faculty members teaching DL courses.
Although nowadays a large number of objective exams are conducted using course management systems such as Moodle, the majority of televised courses exams, essays, and papers still are conducted and managed traditionally in a classroom environment using paper and pencil.
After observing the exam scheduling and distribution processes used in our DL unit, we conducted a series of meetings with related stakeholders in order to cultivate a supportive environment, get their feedback, and document the process to be reengineered.
During multiple meetings, we established a development team; drafted a project plan; and defined team roles, accountability, expectations, and timelines in order to facilitate project management.
In-depth evaluations and analysis of the current paper-based exam scheduling and distribution approach were made and artifacts were collected.
As a result, we flowcharted the existing process see Figure 2 and identified a list of issues and problems which needed to be addressed.
The team met many times, reached an agreement, and made recommendations for the reengineered process which included new features, functionalities, requirements, and ideas. Paper-based exam distribution and scheduling process 3 Reengineering In this step, we designed the features and functionalities of the reengineered process.
Specifically, we flowcharted the reengineered process and conducted a system conceptual design and an interface design. Subsequently, we formalized this conceptual design by creating a Web-based user interface involving all system users.
Web-based exam distribution and scheduling process During the reengineering process, an instructional designer, two instructional technologists, and an interface designer were involved in the actual system programming and development. The system is a database driven environment intended to streamline the exam related forms management process.
It was chosen because of its rich capabilities in supporting the required functionalities. PHP was used as the scripting language in order to create dynamic Web content by querying the database. A user account authentication system maintained by the Center for Learning Technologies was used to prevent unauthorized access to the online form services, thereby enforcing the security of the application.Commercial Pesticide Applicator Study Materials.
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