Design of a Knowledge Management System for the Research-Teaching Nexus: Evidence from Institutional Audit Reports

Alrence S Halibas, Rolou Lyn Maata, Mohamed Abdul Kader Varusai, Ali Al-Badi, Peyman Nouraey
Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology  •  Volume 17  •  2020  •  pp. 021-040
Aim/Purpose: The need for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to maximize the use of their intellectual property and strategic resources for research and teaching has become ever more evident in recent years. Furthermore, little attention is paid in developing an enabling system that will facilitate knowledge transfer in the Research-Teaching Nexus (RTN). Hence, this study assesses the current state of practice in knowledge management of the nexus in higher education in Oman. It also explores the context of how Knowledge Management System (KMS) for the nexus can be designed and utilized by HEIs and challenges them to rethink their traditional approaches in managing their knowledge as-sets to boost individual and organizational learning.

Background: This study provides a Knowledge Management-based framework and design of a knowledge management system that support the academic community towards the improvement of the nexus. This study sets out ideas from various academic and professional experts on how academic stakeholders in the higher education can improve and promote knowledge transfer and make better use of its knowledge and research assets for teaching and learning. It stressed the importance of having the knowledge assets or resources that can easily be pooled, accessed, and made available to its intended stakeholders.

Methodology: Data were gathered from 29 out of 49 institutional quality audit reports of all HEIs in Oman. The panel comments were coded and analysed to extract valuable insights regarding the management of knowledge assets in research. Additionally, data were gathered from the institutional accreditation outcomes page of the same website. Manifest and latent content analyses were used in reporting the findings of the panel.

Contribution: The study will contribute to a greater understanding and acceptance of Knowledge Management (KM) in higher education and extended the body of knowledge concerning knowledge management for the RTN.

Findings: The reports revealed a very limited practice of the nexus in terms of people and culture, structure ad processes, and computing and web technologies. A few staff are involved in RTN work, there is an uneven understanding of the RTN among staff, limited joint research between staff and students are some of the reasons for this. Significantly, there is no explicit research framework or policy for the RTN, and systems and/or mechanisms are limited. Further-more, the reports did not account any use of computing and web technologies for the nexus. These limitations can lead to students with less academic, research, and graduate skills. Hence, this study presents a feature design of a KMS that incorporates various RTN best practices, as informed by the reports and literature. The design will allow the staff to utilize the research assets in the classroom, at the same time, engages students in research and scholarly under-takings.

Recommendations for Practitioners: All HEIs must have a innovative system that integrates a formal agenda and approach, and set initiatives, strategies, policies, and procedures for knowledge management in utilizing research assets for teaching and learning. It must be designed so that RTN practices remain up-to-date, relevant, and responsive to the needs of the stakeholders, as well as, address academic accreditation challenges.

Recommendation for Researchers: Researchers can evaluate the knowledge management of RTN practices of other HEIs outside of Oman to effectively recommend the proper course of action for teaching and learning improvement.

Impact on Society: This study will redefine the role and contribution of HEIs, which are key players in advancing a knowledge economy. HEIs are expected to be powerhouses where academic knowledge is discovered, created, disseminated, shared, and re-invented. They must be able to fully grasp the value of managing knowledge to be able to effect positive and purposeful change to the community.

Future Research: Future work should include staff and student surveys that examine the knowledge management need of the learning organization to better inform the design of a KMS for the RTN. Thereafter, future research can test the stage to test the effectiveness of the conceptual design.
knowledge management, knowledge management system, research-teaching nexus, social computing, tacit knowledge
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