Defining TEL Case Study Boundaries

Part 1

Question 1

In TMA02 Question 1 you chose the case study you are going to use for your EMA. In a couple of sentences, outline the boundaries of your chosen case study. You could make use of the technology transfer process discussed in block 3 to say which parts of this process are included. And you could look on the case study organisation(s) and/or project and explain which groups of people are inside the case study - for example are "customers" inside or outside the case study? (3 marks)

The Technology innovation, selected as case study, is Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Following the description by (World Education Forum, 2015), TEL is the integration of digital technology to improve the learning and teaching processes by adding value to academic performance outcome of the students. As mentioned previously in TMA2, we can recognise TEL as a technological innovation in line with (Vincent-Lancrinet al., 2019) in terms of product innovation and process innovation. Hence, in line with block 1 technology definition, we can recognise TEL not just as an artefact but also as knowledge (OU, 2020). Therefore, the case study boundaries are defined by the question: in what way pedagogic practices are changing and building value/knowledge by the implementation of digital technologies in the classroom?


Question 2

In part 1 of the EMA you will carry out a stakeholder analysis for case study. For this TMA, list up to four key stakeholders you plan to use in this analysis. (For the EMA we will hope for more than 4 stakeholders). You can use the definitions of stakeholders given in Block 5, section 6 to help you with your decisions. (2 marks).

The stakeholder’s choice for the case study, is in line with the definition provided by (Barrow, 2000), (cited in OU, 2020) for social impact assessment. Hereby, the stakeholders are defined as the groups and/or individuals, who are involved in some way in the different stages of a project (development, implementation, outcome) (OU, 2020). In the present proposal, the stakeholders were chosen by their level of involvement in the implementation process of TEL tools. This is in line with Svendsen’s (1998), (cited in OU, 2020), which defines stakeholders as individuals or groups, who can affect or be affected by an activity or entity. Hence, from the core of the teaching and learning practice, the teachers and students are the main actors. In a more general and broader view, it focuses on how digital technologies are changing admin tasks, cross-curriculum data share, the relation between communities and schools, etc. The teacher, the student, the school as a public organization, and the community such has parents, tutors and neighbouring labour market are the key stakeholders, who are involved in the case study analysis. Each one of them is situated in different levels of interest and power.

Question 3

Write a brief explanation of why you have chosen this aspect of your case study and how you intend to approach this work in your EMA. It is important that you combine an academic perspective on the innovation approach taken with a practical perspective on how effective the approach has been in the context of your chosen case study. This is an important part of the TMA as it provides further opportunity to engage with your tutor about your EMA and get early feedback on your plans. (10 marks)

The approach selected to address TEL as a technology innovation case study, rises from the question that sets out the boundaries: in what way pedagogic practices are changing and building value/knowledge by the implementation of digital technologies? This means, that is not technology as an artefact that best translates the study’s direction, but how the pedagogic paradigm, that can be translated as knowledge (OU, 2020), is built and affected by the application of TEL tools? How value/knowledge is built (OU, 2020) by the introduction of new content delivery and accessing information methods, which allow new pedagogic strategies to engage and assess the students? This approach implies the need to understand the concept of TEL as a branch of Learning Science (Duval, Sharples and Sutherland, 2017). The demand to achieve the interaction between student and machine is able to provide the best learning path. Requires the study of how people represent their knowledge, and in what way the machine is able to replicate that, as Artificial Intelligence aims for. Nowadays, we are not just absorbers of information but constructors of knowledge(Duval, Sharples and Sutherland, 2017). Due to the nature of the study, a qualitative literature review will be the mean by which the analysis of the impact of TEL will be carried on. Focusing on a descriptive method, theory-based approach to assessment and evaluation will observe the process and outcome of the implementation of TEL tools (OU, 2020).

Part 2

Question 1

Give an account of your chosen organisation’s engagement with eco-innovation practices. You may find it useful to refer to the organisation’s output, its sustainability policies, its marketing output, etc. Use concepts and models from Block 4 to structure your answer.

Over the last decade, pressure around global environmental challenges has been increasing. Rising temperatures, extreme weather events, food and water shortages, degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity, were part of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO)-6, which underlined the urgent need for innovation and transformative change (Leal Filho et al., 2019). Eco-innovation can be defined as all the efforts from relevant actors, which introduce, develop, and apply new creative ideas, behaviours, products and processes and contribute to reducing environmental burdens or ecologically specified sustainability targets” (Rennings, K.,2000). Despite the close connection between innovation and sustainability (Vollenbroek, 2002), a common barrier is the scarce research focused on the link between these two routes (Barriers to Innovation and Sustainability at Universities Around the World, 2017).

Schools in the UK have access to government suggestions/drivers on how to become more sustainable (OU, 2020), but are left to their own means on how to implement those suggestions efficiently in practice. This is reflected on the little research/evaluation of sustainable practices in schools. Accordingly with (‘Leading Sustainable Schools’, no date) “research has been focus on short-terms outcomes and has tended to be anecdotal”. Schools’ sustainable development plan, lines up with stakeholders such as the Coalition Agreement that defends the ‘need to protect the environment for future generations, make our economy more environmentally sustainable, and improve our quality of life and wellbeing’ (‘Top Tips to reduce energy and water use in schools’, 2012). While the Department for Education as a policy maker, gives schools the freedom to implement sustainability measures accordingly with local needs. It points out that, the need to promote eco-innovation and sustainability practices as educational competencies are the major part of the school’s ethos (‘Top Tips to reduce energy and water use in schools’, 2012). Schools are educational institutions with public value (OU, 2020), that have main concern about the education of the general public. Therefore, the schools are required to promote the education of eco-innovation and sustainable practices, while sustainability measures, which focus on the management of inputs such as water and electricity and outputs such as carbon (‘Top Tips to reduce energy and water use in schools’, 2012). This agrees with OECD eco-innovation definition: in one side the focus is on reduction of environmental impact and on the other, is expected that, the impact of eco-innovation measures, spreads out beyond schools involving the wider community (‘OECD policy brief on sustainable manufacturing - Towards a green economy.pdf’, 2009).

Water and energy, constitutes a major part of school’s environmental impact and it is expected that, by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages (worldwildlife, 2020). Research shows that, cutting on resources such as water and electricity can save significant amounts of money, while promoting the physical and psychological benefit from walking and cycling to school (‘Evidence of the impact of sustainable schools’, 2012). On the same note, schools that make sustainability part of their way to be, raises standards and enhances the well-being. This is because, engaging young people in their learning improves motivation and behaviour (‘Evidence of the impact of sustainable schools’, 2012). In terms of input savings (OU, 2020), the government advice, present studies that show school’s average cost of energy can be between £27000 and £80000 per year, and that it is possible to save up to 20% by replacing heating, lighting and cooling systems. Carbon footprint is understood by the total set of greenhouse gas (GHC), caused directly or indirectly by the humans. Schools are responsible for around 2% of the UK greenhouse emissions, this is the equivalent to 15% of the country’s public sector emissions, and increasing (‘Top Tips to reduce energy and water use in schools’, 2012). Schools are prompt in becoming aware of their carbon footprint and are advised to adopt eco-innovation measures, encouraging the dialogue between the main actors/stakeholders such as head teachers, students, teachers, parents, wider community, etc., that need to be part of the implementation of such measures (OU, 2020).

This is in accordance with Arnold and Hockerts (2011, p. 402), (cited by OU, 2020) when addressing Phillips sustainability initiative: “it can be stated that target-setting is of crucial importance to foster intra-organizational initiatives towards sustainability”. Accordingly, with Leal Filho and Salomone (2006), (cited by, Barriers to Innovation and Sustainability at Universities Around the World, 2017). There are four main principles, which drive innovation in the field of sustainability: Ingenuity; simple implementation; environmental efficiency; economic viability. Innovation in sustainable development is characterized by a certain degree of certainty. This is, if accordingly implemented, it works. However, when left to their own means, many schools may be hesitant in implementing the necessaries changes. Part of the difficulty may be in seeing the changes required as barriers instead of long term economic, environmental and well-being benefits (Barriers to Innovation and Sustainability at Universities Around the World, 2017).

Question 2

Building on the research you conducted for Question 2, and using a format similar to Figure 2 in Block 4, create a sustainable value portfolio for your chosen organisation. Include a short commentary reflecting on the balance of the organisation. You will find it useful to refer to Hart (1997) and Graham and Bertels (2008).

the Sustainable value portfolio the Sustainable value portfolio the Sustainable value portfolio

Due to the present circumstances, it was neither possible to complete the diagram by interviewing senior members of staff or having access to internal sustainability policy documents of a specific school. This way, the diagram was completed by having access to a set of documents that frames eco-innovation and sustainable development in schools, and the author personal experience as a teacher.

As it is possible to observe through the diagram, and previously pointed out by (OU, 2020) regarding most companies, the schools tend to lean to the bottom-left, left quadrant. This means that, in terms of sustainability development, the schools are more focused on pollution prevention through internal processes improvements and technology development initiatives (OU, 2020). This creates an unbalance sustainable portfolio that means that, despite schools being aware of their environmental impact and adopting internal sustainable measures, such as renewable energies. They might miss to address sustainability in a holistic way, implementing it as part of the educational curriculum and promoting sustainability measures that go beyond internal measures of pollution prevention. As explained by (Hart, 1997), the bottom-left quadrant, pollution prevention, is typically the first step that organizations take in tackling the environmental impact, consisting on the reduction of waste and energy use and the most accessible for schools to address without changing their pedagogic plan. Accordingly with (Hart, 1997) the second stage, product stewardship, consists in not just preventing pollution, but in focusing in the full life cycle of a product that require fundamental changes in product and process design. Schools have as main concern about the education of the general public. Hence, their product is in fact a service (OU, 2020). As pointed out in the diagram, and in line with (Hart, 1997), on a second stage, the implementation of sustainable measures would require the redesign of the process underlying the service that schools aim to deliver. This means that, the need to embed sustainability in the school’s curriculum in such a way that the teaching-learning process would be affected by the introduction of new more sustainable technologies, for example, digital learning platforms. It would change the process in the way that the schools deliver their product/service, for example in terms of assessment, and how schools articulate external relations, for example how students have access to the lessons content (OECD, 2005) cited by (OU, 2020). The third stage clean technology can be understood as an extension of the second stage. Consequently, the third stage focus on the potential new, more environmentally friendly, sustainable technologies that the redesign of products and processes would require and engender (Hart, 1997). From this stage, it is possible to understand why so many schools still find difficult to embed sustainability in their policies. As the diagram shows on stage four, schools are left to their own means on how to implement sustainability, this means that without a leadership that understand the importance of sustainability to build value. Sustainability is regarded as something non priority, and consequently, hard to progress beyond stage one. Accordingly with (Hart, 1997), sustainable vision is the framework, which guides sustainable development. As stated by (‘Leading Sustainable Schools’, no date), school leaders that develop sustainability, do it so by being moved by personal values, and as an extension of stage three, the reason why so many schools still lack a balanced sustainability portfolio.

Question 3

Using Figure 3 of Block 5, propose an evaluation strategy that the organisation could use to assess their sustainable value, and ensure a balanced future. Detail and discuss your chosen forms of evaluation or assessment. For the former this might include a whole raft of features and factors discussed in Block 5, such as defining costs and benefits, the role of theory, methods and methodological issues, and politics and other issues that can influence and shape the design and application of an evaluation. Of course, these factors might also be appropriate to your discussion of outcomes, as well as such things as the hidden functions of evaluation, and whether the application of your chosen form of evaluation will produced an appropriate metric. Illustrate your proposal by modifying Figure 3 of Block 5 so that it reflects your decisions.

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The evaluation strategy chosen to assess the sustainable value in schools is the descriptive theory-based approach, making use of a triangulation between quantitative and qualitative data collection methodologies. Accordingly with (OU, 2020), descriptive theory-based approach is an assessment method, which focuses on the processes that lead to the expected outcomes of a particular innovation. In the present situation, the environmentally sustainable development in schools can be achieved. In line with the definition provided by (OU, 2020), it is understood by sustainable development as the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Regarding the present question, this translates to: what environmentally sustainable measures are schools able to implement to limit their environment impact while promoting social and economic benefits? The triple bottom line as referred by (Hart and Milstein, 2003). In terms of process evaluation, as the diagrams illustrates, on a first phase there would be the need to measure, quantitatively, what is the school environmental impact. Inputs such as water, energy and outputs such as food waste and carbon are considered. Who are the stakeholders involved? The stakeholders are the teachers, students, Staff, non-staff; Local community; Local industry; Government. At the same time, a qualitatively assessment would be carried on in terms of schools’ staff and non-staff well-being. From this point a project could be developed. The project would have to be in line with government eco-innovation/sustainability drivers/policies. As shown on the diagram, before implementation, there would be the need to revise the project to check if all the key-stakeholders were properly identified and involved, if the project is in line with government drivers and if it aims to achieve the expected outcomes. After these two first steps, implementation would follow. In the same way as the previous step, after implementation, a revision would be required. Would be possible to check then if implementation was in line with the first two steps and if other factors were found not covered in the project? Implementation as the final step of process evaluation is followed by the second phase of evaluation in terms of outputs, outcomes and impacts. At this point, following implementation and in the continuation with revised implementation, it would be possible to check if the outputs in terms of carbon footprint, waste, energy consumption had increased or decreased quantitatively by comparing the results with the previous measures done at the beginning of the process evaluation. If that is not the case either an implementation or an input revision would be required to check what was missing. At the same time second qualitatively assessment would be done that would bridge from the first to the second step of the second phase of evaluation. In line with (OU, 2020), outputs are the direct result from project implementation, while outcomes are the expected results of a project outputs. This is, outcomes are the projected contextual changes, which occur between outputs and impacts. As framed in the above question, the expected outcomes would not be just to limit the schools’ environment impact, in terms of carbon output but to promote economic and social benefits. In the same way as the outputs, an outcomes revision would be carried on to check if there would be the need to revise the input or implementation in the first stage of the evaluation. In order to conclude the first evaluation sequence, an impact evaluation would be required. At this point, a triangulation would be employed to correlate the quantitative and qualitative data collected after and post implementation. The impact revision would reveal what went well, and went not so well, and what could be improved, triggering anew evaluation sequence from the input and/or implementation.

the Sustainable value portfolio


  • Redefining Innovation—Eco-Innovation Research and the Contribution from Ecological Economics | Request PDF (2000) ResearchGate. Available at: (Accessed: 4 August 2020).
  • Barriers to Innovation and Sustainability at Universities Around the World (2017) ResearchGate. Available at: (Accessed: 5 August 2020).
  • ‘Evidence of Impact of Sustainable schools’ (2012). Available at: (Accessed: 3 August 2020).
  • Duval, E., Sharples, M. and Sutherland, R. (eds) (2017) Technology Enhanced Learning. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-02600-8.
  • Hart, S. L. (1997) ‘Beyond Greening: Strategies for a Sustainable World’, Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business School Publication Corp., 75(1), pp. 66–76.
  • Hart, S. L. and Milstein, M. B. (2003) ‘Creating sustainable value’, Academy of Management Executive. Academy of Management, 17(2), pp. 56–67. doi: 10.5465/AME.2003.10025194.
  • ‘Leading Sustainable Schools’ (no date), p. 54.
  • Leal Filho, W., Emblen-Perry, K., Molthan-Hill, P., Mifsud, M., Verhoef, L., Azeiteiro, U. M., Bacelar-Nicolau, P., de Sousa, L. O., Castro, P., Beynaghi, A., Boddy, J., Lange Salvia, A., Frankenberger, F. and Price, E. (2019) ‘Implementing Innovation on Environmental Sustainability at Universities Around the World’, Sustainability. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 11(14), p. 3807. doi: 10.3390/su11143807.
  • ‘OECD policy brief on sustainable manufacturing - Towards a green economy.pdf’ (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 15 July 2020).
  • ‘Top Tips to reduce energy and water use in schools’ (2012), p. 28.
  • worldwildlife (2020) water scarcity[Online]. Available at 22 July 2020)

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