Vol. 27 No. 2 (2013)
Special Applications

Managing Education at a Distance: An Interim Review of Instructional Project Management at the University of West Indies Open Campus

Stephanie Elaine Hunte
The University of the West Indies Open Campus
Published December 19, 2013
  • online course development,
  • instructional design,
  • project management methodology,
  • instructional project management,
  • online teaching and learning,
  • efficiency,
  • timeliness,
  • academic practice,
  • business processes and procedures,
  • community of learners
  • ...More


The Course Development Department of the University of the West Indies Open Campus (UWIOC) was experiencing challenges with developing online courses in a timely and efficient manner. These challenges included insufficient infrastructure and human resources, diverse experience in online environments, and delivery across geographically dispersed sites. In an effort to address these and other challenges, UWIOC employed project management strategies specifically tailored to online environments. This reflective case study reports how these strategies facilitated improvements with online course development in one university setting. The findings support the nexus between project management strategies and instructional design principles, and its potential to create an online community of learners.


  1. Abdous, M., & He, Wu. (2008).Streamlining the online course development process by using project management tools. The Quarterly Review of Distance Learning, 9(2), 181-188.
  2. Akbulut, Y. (2007). Implications of two well -known models for instructional designers in distance education: Dick-Carey versus Morrison-Ross-Kemp. Turkish Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 62-68.
  3. Ally, M., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Wiseman, C. (2010). Managing complex distance education projects in a telework environment. Journal of Distance Education, 24(1), 1-20.
  4. Berkun, S. (2005). The truth about schedules. In The art of project management (pp. 28-50). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media.
  5. Brandon, B. (2004). Closing the loop in e-learning development: How to reconnect instructional design and project management. Learning Solutions Magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/283/closing-the-loop-in-e-learning-development-how-to-reconnect-instructional-design-and-project-management
  6. Byers, C. (2005). Multi-level alignment model: Transforming face-to-face into e-instructional programs. The Journal of Workplace Learning, 17(5/6), pp. 346-358.
  7. Chen, P., Qiang, M., & Wang, J. (2009). Project management in the Chinese construction industry: Six-case study. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 135(10), 1016-1026.
  8. Cheng-Chang, P. (2012). A symbiosis between instructional systems design and project management. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 38(1), 1-15.
  9. Chin, C. M., Yap, E.H., & Spowage, A.C. (2011). Project management for university-industry collaborative projects. Review of International Comparative Management, 12(5), 901-918.
  10. Garrison, R. (2000). Theoretical challenges for distance education in the 21st century: A shift from structural to transactional issues. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 1(1), n.p.
  11. Garrison, D., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-learning in the 21st century. London: Routledge Falmer.
  12. Harvard Business School Press. (2004). Managing projects large and small: The fundamental skills for delivering on budget and on time. Harvard Business Essentials. Harvard Business School Press.
  13. Housego, S. (2002). Boundary crossing in a community of communities of practice. Paper presented at the Winds of change sea of learning: Charting the course of digital education. Proceedings of the 19th ASCILITE conference. Available at http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland02/proceedings/papers/121.pdf
  14. Hurst, D.C., & Thomas, J. (2004). Developing team skills and accomplishing team projects online. In Anderson, T. & Elloumni, F. (Eds.) (2004). Theory and practice of online learning. Athabasca: Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from: http://cde.athabascau.ca/online_book/
  15. Irlbeck, S., Kays, E., Jones, D., & Sims, R. (2006). The Phoenix rising: Emergent models of instructional design. Distance Education, 27(2), 171-185.
  16. Kenny, J. (2004). A study of educational technology project management in Australian universities. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(3), 388-404.
  17. Kenny, J. (2001). Where academia meets management: A model for the effective development of learning materials using new technology. In Meeting at the Crossroads, (pp. 327-334). Proceedings of the 18th ASCILITE Conference, Melbourne. Available at http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne01/pdf/papers/kennyj.pdf
  18. Kenny, J., & McNaught, C. (2000). Promoting quality outcomes in Higher Education using new learning technologies: Processes and plans at RMIT. In R. Sims, M. O’Reilly & S. Sawkins (Eds.). Learning to choose: Choosing to learn (pp. 655-664), Proceedings of the 17th annual Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education 2000conference, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour.
  19. Klein, M. (2006). Powerful project management: A balanced blend of art and science. International Institute for Learning, Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.maxwideman.com/guests/balanced_blend/intro.htm
  20. Kuboni, O., Thurab-Nkhosi, D., & Chen T. (2002, July-Aug). Incorporating web-based learning into a mixed mode distance education delivery format: Challenges and possibilities. Paper presented at the Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open and Distance Learning, Durban South Africa.
  21. Laxton, R., & Applebee, A.C. (2010). Developing communities of practice around e-learning and project management. Journal of Distance Education, 24(1), 123-142.
  22. Li, D., & Shearer, R. (2005). Project management for online course development. Distance Learning, 2(4), 19-23.
  23. Maina, M. (2009). Designing ready to deliver units of learning: A case study. Journal of Learning Design, 3(1), 21-33.
  24. Malhotra, A., Majchrzak, A., & Rosen, B. (2007). Leading virtual teams. Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(1), 60-70.
  25. McGriff, S.J. (2000). Project management for instructional design in higher education: An analysis of the Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning’s problem-based learning workshop development (Report No. INSYS 553). Retrieved from Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning, Penn State University website: http://wgraziadei.home.comcast.net/~wgraziadei/PM/PMHigherEd.pdf
  26. Morrison, G.R., Ross, S.M., & Kemp, J.E. (2004). Planning and project management. In Designing effective instruction (pp. 360-381). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  27. Oblinger, D., & Oblinger, J. (2005). Is it age or IT: First steps toward understanding the net generation. In D. G. Oblinger & J. L. Oblinger (Eds.), Educating the net generation (2.1-2.19). EDUCAUSE.
  28. Panda, S., & Garg, S. (2006). Models of course design and development. In, S. Garg, C. Puranik, V. Venkaiah, & S. Panda (Eds.). Four decades of distance education in India: Reflections on policy and practice. New Delhi: Viva Books.
  29. Rahman, M.H. (2006). Developing course materials for open and distance learning: BOU perspective. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 7(4), 4. Obtained on 12-14-13 from: https://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr/tojde24/pdf/article_4.pdf
  30. Russell, L. (2000). Project management for trainers. Alexandria, VA: American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) Press.
  31. Schwier, R., Campbell, K., & Kenny, R. (2004). Instructional designers’ observations about identity, communities of practice and change agency. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 20(1), 69-100.
  32. Sharma, K. (2011). The role of ICT in higher education for the 21st century: ICT as a change agent for education. VSRD International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology, 1(6), 382-391.
  33. Sims, R. (2006). Beyond instructional design: Making learning design a reality. Journal of Learning Design, 1(2), 1-7.
  34. Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  35. Soto, V. (2013). Which instructional design models are educators using to design virtual world instruction? Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(3), 364-75.
  36. Staley, J., & Ice, P. (2009). Instructional design project management 2.0: A model of development and practice. 25th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning: http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference.
  37. Swan, P., Richardson, J., Ice, P., Garrison, R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Arbaugh, J. (2008). Validating a measurement tool of presence in online communities of inquiry. E-mentor, 2(24). Available at http://www.e-mentor.edu.pl/artykul_v2.php?numer=24&id=543
  38. Thurab-Nkhosi, D. (October, 2006). The challenges of blended learning at UWIDEC: A Case of ICT innovations in the developing country context. Paper presented at the Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4) October 30 - November 3, 2006, Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Available at http://pcf4.dec.uwi.edu/viewabstract.php?id=139
  39. Thurab-Nkhosi, D., & Seecheran, S.L. (2005, Aug). Moving from print-based distance education to blended learning: Initial challenges of an evolving process. Proceedings of the Eight IASTED International Conference on Computers and Advanced Technology in Education (CATE), Oranjestad, Aruba.
  40. Ward, M., West, S., Peat, M., & Atkinson, S. (2010). Making it real: Project managing strategic e-learning development processes in a large, campus-based university. Journal of Distance Education, 24(1), 21-42.
  41. Williams van Rooij, S. (2011). Instructional design and project management: Complementary or divergent? Educational Technology Research and Development, 59, 139-158.
  42. Williams van Rooij, S. (2009). Scaffolding project-based learning with the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK). Computers and Education, 52, 210-219.
  43. Wozniak, H.M., Scott, K. & Atkinson, S. (2005). The balancing act: Managing emerging issues of elearning projects at the University of Sydney. In the Proceedings of the 22nd Annual conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education: Balance, Fidelity, Mobility: Maintaining the Momemtum? Brisbane, AU.
  44. Zwikael, O., & Globerson, S. (2007). Quality management: A key process in the service industries. Industries Journal, 27(8), 1007-1020.