Digital Business (MSc)

This assignment is a dissertation for an MSc. in Digital Business (UK University). An initial proposal has been accepted by the university but I am struggling to find time to do the research and complete the task. From coursework completed over the last two years (8 modules), I have an average grade of 66%. 70% would allow me a merit for the overall course, this was my goal but if not achieved, a pass will suffice. The course tutor has asked I first upload a draft of the introduction, literature review and methodology for feedback (deadline for this is 2nd December) and then complete the full dissertation (deadline 14th December). I am hoping to find a writer/researcher that I can help me achieve this. Below please find the approved proposal with tutor feedback interjected below;

[TUTOR: The proposal looks sufficient. I have approved it, and you should now be able to choose a start date of the dissertation once you are ready.

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After you have commenced the dissertation, you can read the comments that I have left in this proposal to develop the dissertation based on extending it. The dissertation should have a structure like this:
1. Introduction (1500words)
2. Literature Review (5000words)
3. Methodology (2500words)
4. Data Collection and Analysis (1000)
5. Evaluation and Recommendations (3000)
6. Conclusions (2000)
I suggest you proceed in developing the first three chapters (introduction, literature review, and methodology). When ready, upload a draft to the repository in the usual way and I will continue to give you more comments. Also remember to refer to the dissertation guide on suggestions for general structure, presentation, and referencing.]


1 Introduction

International schools provide education to children aged 2 to 18 all over the world. Originally supported by governments or large private companies, keen to ensure children of skilled employees stationed overseas were able to access an education similar to that of peers in their home country, the market has grown and evolved as countries with growing economies such as China open to global trade, and local families, keen to offer their children the benefits of an international private education, also seek to join the more traditional expatriate families that the original service model was intended for. (Hayden & Thompson, 2008)

This can be seen clearly in the past 20 years, where the number of ‘for profit’ international schools has risen from approximately 2,500, mostly attended by expatriate students, to over 10,000 schools that are now dominated by students from families local to the country the schools are located in. Revenue generated for owners and investors has also risen considerably, from $4.9 billion (USD) in the year 2000 to $49.9billion in 2019. (ISC Research, 2020)

The business model for international schools requires regular annual or termly income from fee-paying students to be paid before services are provided. Fees gathered at the beginning of the year, or as each term commences, are used to ensure payroll, rent, utilities and other expenses can be met and the school, therefore, runs as a business with budgets and profits for investors generated that are reliant on achieving the predicted number of student enrolments each year.

As many schools were forcibly closed by governments all over the world in the first six months of 2020 due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, parents began to cancel enrolments, withhold payments for upcoming terms and request refunds for the return of fees paid in lieu of annual schooling that could not be delivered as it normally would be, through teacher lead classes on campus. This presented a problem for many international schools with no government safety nets to support measures, such as the furlough scheme the UK adopted from May to October 2020 (UK Government, 2020), and investors faced a sudden drop in income with an uncertain business climate ahead as the world reacted to an unpreceded unfolding global pandemic.

To keep enrolments and therefore income stable, many schools quickly moved to provide a programme of home learning to existing students, delivered largely with the help of digital technology. The aim of the research outlined within this proposal would be to look at how established international schools reacted to the digital challenge and offer discussion on current best practices, suggestions on other or future technology that may be adopted by schools and to consider if education delivered digitally to the home is a practical service model that may disrupt the currently growing international schools market.

Objectives of the research would be to;
I. Review currently available digital technology used within the education sector.
II. Examine how well-resourced international school teachers, delivering the National Curriculum of England & Wales overseas, reacted digitally to the challenge of quickly enforced school closures.
III. Explore digital technology from other business sectors that could be leveraged by schools.
IV. Survey digital technology on the horizon that may offer future solutions for schools.
V. Discuss if a fully digital school could disrupt the current international schools service model.

[TUTOR: For the dissertation, you may wish to follow this type of structure for Chapter 1. Introduction:
1.1. Problem Domain (or Research Motivation)
1.2. Research Aims, Objectives, and Questions
1.3. Research Contributions
1.4. Foreseeable Limitations
1.5. Structure of the Dissertation]

[TUTOR: Note the following:
• Research Contributions: Explain the novelty of this dissertation and what kind of contribution it can make to the related fields.
• Foreseeable Limitations: Before the practical work takes place, predict the limitations or restrictions that may incur in this dissertation. ]
2 Proposed Structure

I. Cover Page
II. Table of Contents
III. Abstract
IV. Introduction
V. Chapter 1: Digital technology currently used within the wider education sector.
VI. Chapter 2: Example of school digital reaction to forced school closures.
VII. Chapter 3: Digital technology from other industry or business sectors that could be leveraged by schools.
VIII. Chapter 4: Digital technology on the horizon that may offer future solutions for schools.
IX. Chapter 5: Discuss if a fully digital school could disrupt the current international schools service model.
X. Conclusion
XI. Works Cited
XII. Appendices

3 Methodology
[TUTOR: You need to gain general knowledge about research methodologies. Please access the Resources section in the dissertation portal. THE LINK.
From the Resources section, you can learn the fundamental research philosophy which will help you to design your research and choose appropriate methodologies for your dissertation.]

Research would begin with interviews of key staff members within the school that faced the challenge lockdown measures created. Staff targeted for interview would be those involved with the practical roll-out of technology (school leaders and ICT specialists) and those who delivered it to the students (teachers). This would be two or three people from each of the school, giving a total of six to nine interviews for primary research purposes. Questions would be tailored for each interview, depending on the staff member’s job function, and given in advance to help interviewees prepare.

Interviews would mainly be conducted through reordered video-conferencing, where the researcher could explore and react to the interviewees. Scripts and recordings would then be transcribed and analysed with the intention of providing an overview of how a well-resourced school that normally delivers the UK curriculum through an international campus setting reacted to digital opportunities as the Convid-19 pandemic unfolded at the beginning of 2020.

Planned questions may include;
a) Before Lockdown
i. What digital technologies for home learning did your school have in place before lockdown?
ii. What plans, if any, where in place to build on these?

b) First Wave
iii. How did your school react as lockdown was announced and subsequently progressed?
iv. What technology was used to aid home learning for different age groups?
v. What training was provided to students, parents and teachers on how to get the most from the digital technology that was used?
vi. What worked?
vii. What didn’t work?
viii. Was there a gap technology could not fill?
ix. Did your school’s reaction give you a competitive edge over other schools?
x. Would you do things differently if the same situation arose again?

c) A Second Wave?
xi. What would you change if you had to repeat the process for another school?
xii. As your school reopened, what plans were in place for home learning during a lockdown.
xiii. Are there processes is in place to review and update these?

d) Home-Learning Programme Options
xiv. Could the academic curriculum be delivered effectively for all or some year groups?
xv. What would a home student miss out on?
xvi. Do you see any other barriers to a full-time option for home-learning to students who cannot access classes on campus? (Lockdowns/Remote Locations/Affordability)
xvii. Would a part-time option for home learning work for certain ages, subjects or groups of students?
Secondary research, focusing on Objectives I, III and IV noted above, would then take place to explore and evidence current digital home-learning technology, look at possible solutions from other industries and scan future technology that may offer solutions currently on the horizon.

[TUTOR: For the dissertation, you can follow this type of structure for Chapter 3:
Chapter 3. Research Methodology
3.1. Research Design (overview of the research philosophy and strategy based on the theoretical framework)
3.2. Technique 1…(e.g. Qualitative)
3.3. Technique 2…(e.g. Quantitative)
3.4. Question Design Rationale (if you use survey, interview, or questionnaire)
3.5. Data Sources (if use secondary data)
3.6. Target Samples (if you use survey, interview, or questionnaire)
3.7. Data Collection Process
3.8. Ethical Considerations
3.9. Limitations of the Chosen Methodologies]

4 Literature Review

The Innovator’s Dilemma (Christensen, 1997) announced the arrival of digital disruption just over 20 years ago. Since then the path and pace taken by many industries adopting digital solutions have been breath-taking. From Uber to Air B&B, Big Data to 5G and Industry 4.0 to AI, there is much to discover, consider and seek deductions that may serve or transform the business landscape of the future. Noted in Appendix One are reading resources discovered as this proposal paper was created.

Due to the nature of a study focused on digital technology and business, a lot of information will be sourced directly from the internet for the final dissertation paper. In such cases, the author will attempt to use creditable sources, for example, government and NGO data, and also cross-check sources where possible. Appendix Two notes web resources of interest that arose during research done thus far.

As the research and time unfold, all resources will be examined, refined and built on.

5 Foreseen Limitations

Three limitations to the research seem evident at this time;
i. Access to staff for the proposed interviews
ii. School-aged children have different needs so home-learning programmes look very different for children within the stages of Early Years, Primary and Secondary.
iii. As the effects of the COVID-19 home learning experience happened so recently, peer reviewed in-depth research into successes and failures may be limited.



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