Phase 2 Transition In the second phase of the project the laptops were to be

Phase 2 transition in the second phase of the project

This preview shows page 137 - 138 out of 187 pages.

Phase 2 – Transition In the second phase of the project, the laptops were to be replaced with newer ones after two years. In this phase, the vendor participated in generating the specifications for the hardware. They also asked that Ryerson provide input into any emergent expectations prior to the specification stage of the transition process. As in the initial phase, distribution logistics were managed by the vendor and the Ryerson team collaboratively similar to the process in the first phase of the project. Only this time, there were 750 computers in-coming (400 new ones going to first year students and 350 replacements for third year students) and 350 outgoing to track and manage increasing the potential for error. The packaging was re-used for the outgoing equipment. The Ryerson support manager and the IBM representative reported that on-going telephone and email support has provided Ryerson with a smooth transition process and few difficulties that could not be resolved at Ryerson. The vendor was instrumental in ensuring that Ryerson had the resources and knowledge to manage this transition effectively. Weaknesses of project Two major weaknesses were identified in phase one of the project. The first weakness was the lack of support for the faculty and instructors. Neither the vendor nor the university had plans on how to assist instructors in designing their course plans, materials and management to migrate to the new teaching and learning environment. Expertise in this area was definitely lacking although the university was equipped to assist with class management issues and some general instructional design pointers. As ITM was the first school at the university to begin using laptops, the university had no experience with this element of teaching. It should be incumbent on vendors to offer faculty training assistance for new implementations. Subject matter experts, instructional designers or instructors with experience in successful planning and delivering of laptop courses, should be made available to education institutions during transition periods. The second weakness was the vendor’s inability to manage expectations and follow through on the added value commitments made during the procurement phase, particularly for students. Commitments regarding student co-op placements and employment, support for research, and other educationally related commitments did not materialize. Again, this may be a function of the lack of experience with educational settings and understanding how the needs of educational organizations are different from those of a business environment. However, it caused some disappointment and disgruntlement even though the hardware deployment and distribution logistics were well managed and supported by the vendor. Vendor performance must be tracked and they must be held to account formally for added value commitments made during the procurement process.
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