A Multi-Channel Approach For Monitoring Off-Shore Outsourcing Projects For Distance Learning Material Development

Bong Chin WEI

In the world of “borderless education”, off-shore outsourcing of learning resources becomes the norm practised by universities worldwide, especially for a newly start-up institution such as the Wawasan Open University (WOU). For the past 3 years of experience in learning resources development, the WOU has encountered various issues such as managing of writers in distant locations, meeting deadlines, training of writers in distant locations, keeping the cost down, copyright issues, quality control, and cultural differences/localisation of context. In overcoming some of these issues, the WOU has adopted an effective monitoring mechanism to enable the success of this key activity in the university. Since its inception in year 2006 until early 2008, the institution has successfully outsourced about fifty course materials off-shore and locally. This paper first introduces the outsourcing process in WOU followed by some of the issues faced by the university while working with the offshore writers and the adaptation of course materials. Subsequently, details of the monitoring mechanism used in the outsourcing process will be explained. Lastly, this paper also presents WOU’s future direction in this perspective.

KEYWORDS: Program and Material Development in DE, Learning Resources in DE, DE and Industry Partnerships.