Designing for differences: Cultural issues in the design of WWW-based course-support sites


Collis, Betty (1999) Designing for differences: Cultural issues in the design of WWW-based course-support sites. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30 (3). pp. 201-216. ISSN 0007-1013

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Abstract:Culture is a critical influence on the acceptance, use of, and impact of learning resources. WWW-based course-support sites are becoming an increasingly familiar type of learning resource in higher education. How might different aspects of culture be predicted to affect the institution's, instructor's, and student's reactions to WWW-based course-support sites? How can such sites be designed to adapt to different expectations and learner preferences, especially those related to culture? This article analyses various of these cultural aspects, and argues that WWW-based course-support sites should be designed to be adaptable to different types of cultural differences through the application of a set of ten design guidelines. An example illustrating the design guidelines, the TeleTOP Method from the University of Twente, is described and evaluated relative to the design guidelines. Important considerations related to feasibility as well as to conceptual and strategic choices are included in the scope of the guidelines; the instructor's cultural ecology requires particular attention. But WWW sites and guidelines in themselves are not enough for cultural flexibility; sensitivity and appropriate responsiveness remain human activities.
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Copyright:© 1999 Wiley InterScience
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