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A conceptual model for a co-operative education management information system for tertiary institutions in South Africa.
In this research all references to technikons relate to the present Universities of Technology. Since this study was conducted relating only to courses that offer an experiential leaming component, it is to be noted that these courses are offered mainly by the previous Technikon sector, prior to the amalgamation of technikons with certain universities and colleges. The specific research problem is defined and the background to this problem explained. Both the research problem and objectives are formulated. No efficient Management Information System for co-operative education based on web-technology currently exists in South Africa. By means of a study based on the present needs of co-operative education practitioners in South Africa, and comparing the latter to certain existing management information systems for co-operative education internationally, the objectives of the research are addressed. Initially some critical activities are identified and used to map out possible sub-systems. Literature is reviewed relating to technologies relevant to this research, such as the Web, Internet and lntranets. It outlines some information technologies available to organisations and the educational environment. The literature also highlights most of the processes within a management information system. Furthermore, it summarises the initial considerations needed to develop a management information system in this context. To focus more pertinently on the problem a management information system relating to education is investigated. Various existing management information systems in education in the UK, USA and RSA are reviewed. Specific reference is made to management information systems in general education in Australian schools. These investigations then focus on one element of education, namely co-operative education. Possible cooperative education sub-systems are mapped out from identified critical activities. These sub-systems were instrumental in developing the pilot study and the final questionnaire. The research methodology and the techniques applied to address the research objective, are discussed. Aspects such as reliability, validity, quantitative vs qualitative research, the final measuring instrument, target population, administering the questionnaire and data capturing, are addressed. The development of the questionnaires and a two-dimensional matrix of the measuring instrument are explained. The responses to the various elements on each of the questionnaires are reported on and the data is interpreted and grouped to form a synthesis. From the synthesis, conclusions and recommendations relating to all three sub-systems (students, employers and short courses), are listed. These results of the questions as reported on and the interpretations recorded are analysed. These relate to each question as well as to all the literature reviewed. The conclusions and recommendations are supported by detailed crossreferences to each chapter. Some comparison of local (South African) and international preferences is included. The main objective of this study was to develop a scientifically-established model of an adequate management information system for co-operative education, which will comply with the needs of the South African Co-operative Education. In summary then : • A survey was undertaken of good international practice, from which a set of desirable "elements", "components" or "sub-systems" was established. Hereafter they are referred to as "sub-systems". • These sub-systems were taken as the foundation for a questionnaire, where in respondents were asked to consider the importance and detail of the subsystems. • The questionnaire was reviewed for its effectiveness and completeness, refined, and then deployed to 325 respondents nationally. Internationally 77 delegates responded. • An analysis of their responses was used to develop a set of desirable characteristics of a co-operative education management information system in South Africa.
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