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Hi all, Yesterday, I had a conversation with a professor (no from PLNU) that went something like this: Sam: What do you think about faculty development programs? Prof: Well, pedagogy is a very personal thing. If it is introduced by faculty to other faculty, it may work. But since it is a very personal matter, I don't think any faculty should be asked to do anything they do not feel is beneficial in their setting… This professor continues by describing why it is so personal, but never once did the professor talk about the student. So my question to you all is – Is pedagogy a personal matter or should a university encourage a certain standard? Or maybe it is a bit too sensitive an issue to discuss in public. Is this too much of the "elephant in the room"? I come from the public sector (healthcare, hospitality, retail and ecommerce). In industry, there are certain levels of freedom within each profession but there are certain standards that the company insists. For example: A nurse can have a very personal approach to how they treat a patient, but the hospital (at least the hospitals I've been) insists on a certain level of customer services and patient care. That goes with consultants, doctors, lawyers, etc. Should that also apply higher education or is there something about higher education that make it unique? One of the problem I have with the answer is that the professor has elevated his/her personal preference above the education and the learning of the student. Maybe the massive revolution to higher education is about this very fact. Have we elevated the existence of the institution and professors above the learning of our students? I am NOT saying that all professor are in this same boat. In fact there are an increasing number of faculty that are exploring new pedagogies to help their students. But there are many that still like to use "chalk". Question 2: What is the roll of IT in this revolution? God bless, Sam Young Chief Information Officer Point Loma Nazarene University Individualization ~ Achiever ~ Learner ~ Belief ~ Activator ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Comments

Sam:

Yes, it is the "elephant in the room". And that elephant is in a nearby room so I'm not going to elaborate right now. One comment from a task force report that we just completed on the introduction of more blended learning at our university was how adamant faculty are about the need for a faculty development program to insure that the quality of a blended learning course is up to the same standards as our traditional F2F courses. A number of examples were listed. Our president asked an excellent question of the faculty leadership about this request. He asked if they currently required our faculty to comply with these same perceived quality standards for their existing F2F courses. The answer as expected was "No we don't". Probably goes back to Personal Pedagogy.

Greg Smith
Chief Information Officer
George Fox University
------------------------------
Be Known at Oregon's Nationally Recognized Christian University


At our recent ELI focus session, we heard an account of a faculty member who significantly altered the way he approached his course, shifting to a hybrid model and using adaptive release via the LMS. He required students to take formative quizzes on current material in order to gain access to the next round of materials. According to the account, the students hated these changes and the instructor's evaluations went down noticeably. As it turns out, this instructor's students did markedly better in the next course in the sequence and in the departmental exam. Nevertheless, making substantial changes in one's pedagogy is a stressful thing, involving a certain degree of risk taking. So pedagogy certainly has personal aspects (though that does not imply it's entirely a matter of personal choice). It's not only an active choice the instructor makes, reflecting personal values, but one's professional standing is also at stake. It makes perfect sense to me that, in Greg's case, the faculty want support in order to move successfully to a new instructional model. Of course this idea of pedagogy as personal can be abused, too, when it's used as an excuse not to have to change or to resist improvement. M ---------- Malcolm Brown Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative email: mbrown@educause.edu IM: fnchron (AIM) Voice: 575-448-1313 [cid:D3785B98-3052-4BDA-AECA-8E3224F7BA6D] From: Greg Smith > Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv > Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 4:56 PM To: "CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU" > Subject: Re: [CIO] Is Pedagogy Personal? Sam: Yes, it is the "elephant in the room". And that elephant is in a nearby room so I'm not going to elaborate right now. One comment from a task force report that we just completed on the introduction of more blended learning at our university was how adamant faculty are about the need for a faculty development program to insure that the quality of a blended learning course is up to the same standards as our traditional F2F courses. A number of examples were listed. Our president asked an excellent question of the faculty leadership about this request. He asked if they currently required our faculty to comply with these same perceived quality standards for their existing F2F courses. The answer as expected was "No we don't". Probably goes back to Personal Pedagogy. Greg Smith Chief Information Officer George Fox University ********** Participation and subscription information for this EDUCAUSE Constituent Group discussion list can be found at http://www.educause.edu/groups/.

Sam - as a faculty member, the word "standard" used in a teaching context sends chills down my spine. 

 

That said, I think there are many constructive things you can do.  On my Campus there was a sustained push for an Inquiry approach, based on the work of John Dewey.  One can readily make teaching itself an object of inquiry.  There is an EQ piece from a years ago by Nancy Chism that makes much the same argument, though her approach is steeped in the work of Donald Schon. 

 

Seeing Malcolm’s comment just arrive, let me note that the above advocates for cycles of inquiry while what Malcolm described is a one and done approach.  I should also note that the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) also advocates for a cycle approach.  Some faculty I know have found that too much of a commitment for them.  They are willing to try new things, but don’t want to make drastic changes at any one time.  In my opinion, that should be encouraged.  It is more likely to be sustained, especially if it is emerging as a bottom up effort rather than a top down push. 

 

Apart from general encouragement I believe the CIO can help with this via dissemination of what is learn – presentations, written columns, etc.  If the CIO aids with the diffusion effort, let the faculty themselves generate the message.

 

My two cents.

 

Lanny

 

Hi Lanny, You are probably correct in that the word "standard" may cause some blood pressures to rise. None-the-less, the question should still remain on how to increase learning. I have now been in higher education as CiO for 10 years. At Point Loma, ITS has joint ventured with Center for Teaching and Learning to develop a set of seminars for the faculty. We have run these programs for two years now and the reports of faculty success has been very encouraging. We are finding that the students are more engaged and more excited about learning. But this success questions the "personal" part of pedagogy. If there seems to be a better way to do something, it is "personal" preference on whether we should explore it or is it professionalism that we should explore that? Now in many cases, these new pedagogy may not fit in every class or the professor maybe already be doing most of it. Maybe my words are a bit strong but if we don't challenge ourselves, the masses will question us. We have already seen questions on why higher education is important or whether we should exist at all. According to the article in the most recent WIRE magazine, there is going to be only 10 global universities left. Coursera and Kahn Academy are other examples of how various people are starting to challenge our current model. I happen to think there is great value to have professors, but that value will no longer a person that disseminates information. The professor's value is in his/her wisdom. He/She can help teach the students to think and apply the information. The application of information is wisdom and that is where the professor is indispensable. The question still remains – How can a CIO or IT help move this forward or is this something we should leave to someone else to tackle? God bless, Sam Young Chief Information Officer Point Loma Nazarene University Individualization ~ Achiever ~ Learner ~ Belief ~ Activator From: "Arvan, Lanny" > Reply-To: EDUCAUSE Listserv > Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 21:27:00 +0000 To: EDUCAUSE Listserv > Subject: Re: [CIO] Is Pedagogy Personal? Sam - as a faculty member, the word "standard" used in a teaching context sends chills down my spine. That said, I think there are many constructive things you can do. On my Campus there was a sustained push for an Inquiry approach, based on the work of John Dewey. One can readily make teaching itself an object of inquiry. There is an EQ piece from a years ago by Nancy Chism that makes much the same argument, though her approach is steeped in the work of Donald Schon. Seeing Malcolm’s comment just arrive, let me note that the above advocates for cycles of inquiry while what Malcolm described is a one and done approach. I should also note that the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) also advocates for a cycle approach. Some faculty I know have found that too much of a commitment for them. They are willing to try new things, but don’t want to make drastic changes at any one time. In my opinion, that should be encouraged. It is more likely to be sustained, especially if it is emerging as a bottom up effort rather than a top down push. Apart from general encouragement I believe the CIO can help with this via dissemination of what is learn – presentations, written columns, etc. If the CIO aids with the diffusion effort, let the faculty themselves generate the message. My two cents. Lanny

I see this as an argument for a central role for assessment. 

Formative assessment at all levels (student, course, program/department, curriculum, even institution) asks us to be clear about what we're trying to achieve, to commit to measure it, and to learn and take actions to constantly improve.  In doing so, authentic assessment forces us to make some of our assumptions explicit. 

What I read between the lines here—especially in Lanny's post, which is profoundly honest and revealing especially in this context—is a belief by faculty that they know how to do their job (and that someone else telling them how to do their job is scary and a problem). One thing they are afraid of, I think legitimately, is that the administration's conception of their job is different from their own—and maybe less rich.  Using outcomes, assessment, and continuous improvement gives us a way to put student learning squarely out front and hold the institution be responsible for it, without reducing the administration/faculty interaction to an argument about standards and their roles. 

On a related note, if you haven't yet read the recent ER article by Randy Bass ("Disrupting Ourselves", ER March/April 2012) then I recommend it highly.  His opening line is beautiful: "Our understanding of learning has expanded at a rate that has far outpaced our conceptions of teaching."  I think that many faculty are committed to being great teachers and are willing to be challenged to improve, if we can offer a path that is respectful and inclusive.

Ethan

——
Ethan Benatan, Ph.D.
Vice President for IT & 
Chief Information Officer
503.699.6325   

MARYLHURST UNIVERSITY
You. Unlimited.



Sam and others,

Pedagogy can be as personal as a faculty member wants as long as appropriate and predetermined levels of student learning are demonstrated.  I personally think those levels of student learning should be pre-determined and agreed upon departmentally (peer accountability and peer review of learning outcomes) if we are talking about learning within a major discipline.  When a culture of assessment is valued then this is possible.  If rigorous research techniques are valued by faculty (which they should be), then they should expect no less rigor to be applied to their own instructional methods.  Assessment needs to be the foundation upon which any pedagogy is built whether characterized as personal or otherwise.  A particular pedagogy is used because it has consistently demonstrated its success in helping students to learn.  There is plenty of personal creativity and hard work that can be put into the development of methods of instruction, but all must demonstrate their effectiveness.  The results - student learning - have to be valued more than the personal pedagogy preferences of a faculty member.  Seems like it would be irresponsible to do otherwise.  

Great topic.

Bill



From: Greg Smith <gsmith@GEORGEFOX.EDU>
Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 13:56:54 -0700
To: <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>
Subject: Re: [CIO] Is Pedagogy Personal?

Sam:

Yes, it is the "elephant in the room". And that elephant is in a nearby room so I'm not going to elaborate right now. One comment from a task force report that we just completed on the introduction of more blended learning at our university was how adamant faculty are about the need for a faculty development program to insure that the quality of a blended learning course is up to the same standards as our traditional F2F courses. A number of examples were listed. Our president asked an excellent question of the faculty leadership about this request. He asked if they currently required our faculty to comply with these same perceived quality standards for their existing F2F courses. The answer as expected was "No we don't". Probably goes back to Personal Pedagogy.

Greg Smith
Chief Information Officer
George Fox University
------------------------------
Be Known at Oregon's Nationally Recognized Christian University


If one looks at the way the for-profits are managing the pedagogy it is extremely “standard” and highly assessed and faculty are paid (or have jobs) based upon that assessment. Clearly a different approach to traditional Higher Education.…This may be one way to manage the costs in higher education….Introductory courses like English 101 or Biology 101 are pretty much the same no matter where taught, but even back when I taught Bio 101 to 150 student at a time, the only managed items were the text book (all sections use the same one) and labs (in week three we all dissected earthworms) so each faculty developed their lectures, tests, etc.  Was fun to do, but if it had all been standardized would the students obtained less knowledge? Understood the concepts better or worse?

 

The individual (personal) teaching metaphor only works when both student and teacher are engaged (read are enthusiastic) in the process. We know great teachers who just seem to connect with students. We all also know great university faculty that can’t teach their way out of paper bags and student that just want to know “if this is going to be on the test.” If we have to wait for the one-on-one Socratic relationships to develop, we’re not going to get many student through the process and may not have enough student to keep higher education industry in business….

 

So can anything we are doing with all we are investing in technology really make a difference…I continue to ask myself that question…and the answer I keep coming up with is we are, at best, substituting technologic solutions for process that already exist. There may be some glimmer of the “silver bullet” in augment reality, robust data acquisition and mapping manipulations, virtual reality/simulation, etc. so I hold out hope for our industry.

 

Morning ramblings on an interesting topic… Thanks CIO list!!!

 

Rob

 

Dr. Robert Paterson

Vice President, Information Technology, Planning & Research

Molloy College

Rockville Centre, NY 11571

516-678-5000 ex 6443

 

From: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv [mailto:CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU] On Behalf Of Arvan, Lanny
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 5:27 PM
To: CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU
Subject: Re: [CIO] Is Pedagogy Personal?

 

Sam - as a faculty member, the word "standard" used in a teaching context sends chills down my spine. 

 

That said, I think there are many constructive things you can do.  On my Campus there was a sustained push for an Inquiry approach, based on the work of John Dewey.  One can readily make teaching itself an object of inquiry.  There is an EQ piece from a years ago by Nancy Chism that makes much the same argument, though her approach is steeped in the work of Donald Schon. 

 

Seeing Malcolm’s comment just arrive, let me note that the above advocates for cycles of inquiry while what Malcolm described is a one and done approach.  I should also note that the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) also advocates for a cycle approach.  Some faculty I know have found that too much of a commitment for them.  They are willing to try new things, but don’t want to make drastic changes at any one time.  In my opinion, that should be encouraged.  It is more likely to be sustained, especially if it is emerging as a bottom up effort rather than a top down push. 

 

Apart from general encouragement I believe the CIO can help with this via dissemination of what is learn – presentations, written columns, etc.  If the CIO aids with the diffusion effort, let the faculty themselves generate the message.

 

My two cents.

 

Lanny

 

Sam -

 

The obvious other forces that might lead the instructor to change his perspective are the students themselves asking for it, colleagues in the instructor's department encouraging it, and the department head or dean making it a strategic initiative.  On my campus, at least for tenured faculty the ultimate authority lies with them.  That observation speaks to Ethan’s comments.  Persuasion can work in some instances.  Coercion can't work, ever. 

 

In the College of Business where I was employed we had a state of the art instructional facility come online a few years ago.  Some very senior faculty requested there be overhead transparency projectors in the classrooms, because they still used them for instruction.  We balked at the suggestion, because it would completely destroy the ambiance we were trying to create in the classrooms.  The instructors would not back down.  The compromise ultimately reached was to have them teach in our older building, where the overhead transparency projectors remain in the classrooms.  It meant some compromise on a related goal, to have as many courses taught in the new building as possible. 

 

There is a current for a nostalgic view of teaching and learning, as typified by this column in today's Inside Higher Head.  Further, on the social science of whether more current technologically enhanced approaches trump the traditional approaches, there is an identification problem.  It is not possible to separate the hypothesis that it’s the method that matters from the alternative that it’s the teachers who adopt the method that matters, without randomly assigning teachers to the method.  We can’t conduct that sort of experiment.  Even those faculty who are not of a statistical bent intuit this result, especially the reluctant ones.  So their skepticism can endure in spite of whatever evidence you present.

 

In my opinion the CIO’s role in this is to promote the technology enhanced approaches, remove barriers to diffusion, and then perhaps work with the Deans or Department Heads on strategic initiatives.  That encourages the outcomes you want but doesn’t guarantee they will happen. 

 

Lanny

 

 

It's never black or white in HigherEd, now, is it? This is what I think, less personally, but more based on the many hundreds of faculty members that my staff and I support, primarily in the area of Teaching & Learning with technology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I also co-teach an online graduate class in Health Informatics. From the instructors' perspectives, we (IT) need to provide options, a number of carefully selected but fully and well-supported options. IT Governance, faculty forums, even faculty ad hoc groups are well poised to help our institutions select and vet the many systems, tools and services that we need to (should) provide to our faculty, teaching staff ...and indeed, yes, to our students. Our students are not only our ultimate precious customers, but in today's Web 2.0 world of authentic assessments, active learning, collaborative learning, reflection, and so forth, they too need quality and readily available instructional technology support. (1) Over the years, I have worked with many many faculty members who just know what they want, they know how to best teach their stuff, what is difficult to comprehend and where it would be critical to seriously engage the students; they even know their weaknesses or curriculum design flaws. These folks are usually superstar teachers who need just-in-time help when they needed, where they needed, not necessarily through some sort of rigorous well-thought out faculty development program; no, confident and self-sufficient faculty need a smorgasbord of vetted educational technology systems, tools and solutions to pick from, whenever and wherever they want. They may also need a quick consultation from instructional technology consultants and/or instructional designers, but it better be quick and good. Don't try to teach these teachers how to teach. They know how to teach and they know exactly what works and what doesn't work; they just need quick burst of immediate help of the highest quality and expertise. Unfortunately, the aforementioned group of superstar faculty is usually not the majority at one's institution (not just based on UIC, but, in general, based on ongoing everyday conversation I have with faculty and colleagues across the nation). Also, these superstar faculty, for the most part, tend to be faculty with seniority, clout and means ($$) to make time to create engaging lecture materials, interactive learning modules, and anything else they want, once they make up their minds. These folks are, needless to say, very vocal and extremely demanding. We better have in place reliable, scalable and quality systems and services to support them. Lastly, sometimes these folks, being vocal and with clout, give the campus senior administrators (and the campus as a whole) the wrong impression about what is most needed and where our priorities ought to be. I know of many UIC superstar faculty who want to have the cake and eat too, along with plenty of candy, ...and more to the point, they are convinced that their needs and the time they are willing to spend on non-(Promotion & Tenure) activities, like spending hours on end creating that animation or interactive learning module, i.e. enhancing Teaching & Learning is what everybody should do. ...and I agree with them 200%... except the reality is most of the faculty have nowhere near the time and resources on-hand to spend on Teaching & Learning -- they need to remain focused on research, publishing, and even pursue tenure. (2) On the other side of the spectrum, and far away from the "wealthy" superstar faculty with all the time and clout in the world to teach well, we have the vast (mostly-silent) majority of faculty, who may also be excellent teachers, but these folks are not "wealthy". They don't have endless supplies of Teaching Assistants, graduate students nor do they belong to relatively wealthy colleges or departments. We know exactly who they are. These fine folks need help, a lot of help. Our smorgasbord of educational technology tool chests and services better be not just plentiful and very-well selected, but it better be very easy-to-use and easy to support, en masse, because most faculty don't have the time, assistants or technical expertise to struggle with overly complicated educational technology, arcane or convoluted LMS systems that are too difficult to master, complex multimedia transcoding, compressing and streaming technicalities, ad nauseum. Here is where IT can shine :: we need to be relentless in our quest to make technology as easy-to-use as possible, not just for the technically-inclined faculty, the superstar faculty and those with plenty of time to experiment, explore and develop effective and innovative uses of instructional technology to facilitate learning, ...but for the vast majority of faculty, teaching staff and students who want the same, but are not techies and/or have no desire to be. Why should they be? We need to provide Toaster Technology(TM). Anyway, faculty development programs, especially, programs, services and resources that do not focus on technology, but on sound pedagogy and on effective uses of technology to meet learning outcomes and to facilitate learning, are very much appreciated by this larger group of faculty. Likewise, we need to practice what we preach and make our services and resources readily available, asynchronously, self-service, for on-demand consumption, but also extensively complemented by quality face-to-face programs, workshops and one-on-one consultations to make it easier and most effective for the busy faculty. Real-time minutes spent with faculty are very scarce and precious, so we need to make sure it is time well spent. It needs to make a difference, and like Malcolm alluded to, it can be a lot more effective when our faculty development and instructional technology efforts are offered with heavy participation and presentations from faculty members themselves, if possible, by faculty who teach the same or similar curriculum. I wish we could all partner to start and sustain a series of "Beam me up, Scotty" Web presentations (recorded, of course) given by faculty from colleges and universities around the world, offered every day, showcasing how to best use educational technology with sound pedagogy in mind. Judging by my 32+ years of helping faculty at UIC, there is a lot to be said about seeing how professors at other institutions are educating and innovating. Luckily, for all, beaming in faculty and panels of experts is too easy to do, today. Back to instructional technology support, I don't know about everybody else, but I like to think of it in terms of two separate types of support activities: a) the faculty development support that started this thread (thank you, Sam), and b) the just-as-important ongoing day-to-day instructional technology technical support that our students, faculty and teaching staff require, just-in-time, sometimes urgently, due to tight deadlines, online tests, student assignment due dates, end-of-term grading, or mundane Web browser issues, authentication problems, misinformation, or miscellaneous "I cannot do X" urgent cries for technical assistance. Furthermore, think of after-hours instructional technology support, along with mobile, social, Twitter-based support, instant support, 24x7 or close to 24x7 depending on your institution's programs and deep pockets ;-) Lastly, as for rigid standards and other one-size-fits-all approaches to uniformity, I think, in principle, they are great, but there needs to be plenty of room for flexibility and personalization by the faculty member, more so in these days of IT customerization. I would not want the university to dictate to me, for example, whether I can use blogs for (not wikis) for my class student group assignments or not, or whether I choose to hold virtual office hours with Blackboard Instant Messenger and with Google+ Hangouts, instead of just via the campus LMS service. No, instructors needs to have some freedom. While there may be a lot to be said about having a uniform look-and-feel on how we teach and learn, I strongly believe that the Academe would indeed miss a golden opportunity to continue to truly innovate and educate if we stick to once-size-fits-all solution(s). Besides, realize who our audience is in this endeavor :: faculty members, including tenured faculty members at Research I institutions :: do you really think we can boss these fine folks around? Even if we could, we shouldn't. At best, we should follow The Godfather's advice: "Suggest it, don't demand it". Greetings from Chicago, -- Ed Garay Assistant Director for Academic Computing (ACCC) Director, UIC Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) University of Illinois at Chicago www.accc.uic.edu/itl www.twitter.com/garay ** Ubiquitously social.
I'm very interested in this dialog and think it is great to see it taking place on this list.  I unfortunately am limited in time so I will only share one comment (for now)....

One of the core issues that I think needs to be addressed is what I feel is a fairly significant lack of knowledge and awareness among faculty (but all of higher ed as well) of what is now a large body of science around how people learn most effectively.  Research in this area has been going on for many decades and although many questions remains, we have also learned a great deal.  Although there are likely newer sources, folks may want to review the book How People Learn which was published by that National Academy Press around 2000 which I always felt did a good job of synthesizing the research (at the time).   Unfortunately, we've tended to rely on the same methods for teaching as we experienced as younger adults as we begin to teach ourselves and breaking out of that mold to adopt new teaching practices based on this research has been very difficult for us in higher education.  It would be the equivalent of using punch cards today because that is what we used when we were first programming instead of adapting over time as new practices were introduced.

Radically shifting (I say radical because at this point the gap between what we do and what the research says is so large) our teaching practices to align with the research has and will be a major challenge for higher education and I do wonder at times that if we cannot meet this challenge that someone else (Google, Apple, yet-to-be-launched-company) will do it first....resulting in some rather disruptive innovation coming into higher ed.

Josh

-----------------------------
Joshua Baron
Senior Academic Technology Officer
Marist College
Poughkeepsie, New York  12601
(845) 575-3623 (work)
Twitter: JoshBaron



From:        Ed Garay <garay@UIC.EDU>
To:        CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU,
Date:        04/19/2012 10:00 AM
Subject:        Re: [CIO] Is Pedagogy Personal?
Sent by:        The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv <CIO@LISTSERV.EDUCAUSE.EDU>



It's never black or white in HigherEd, now, is it?

This is what I think, less personally, but more based on the many hundreds
of faculty members that my staff and I support, primarily in the area of
Teaching & Learning with technology at the University of Illinois at
Chicago.  I also co-teach an online graduate class in Health Informatics.

From the instructors' perspectives, we (IT) need to provide options, a
number of carefully selected but fully and well-supported options.  IT
Governance, faculty forums, even faculty ad hoc groups are well poised to
help our institutions select and vet the many systems, tools and services
that we need to (should) provide to our faculty, teaching staff ...and
indeed, yes, to our students. Our students are not only our ultimate
precious customers, but in today's Web 2.0 world of authentic assessments,
active learning, collaborative learning, reflection, and so forth, they too
need quality and readily available instructional technology support.

(1) Over the years, I have worked with many many faculty members who just
know what they want, they know how to best teach their stuff, what is
difficult to comprehend and where it would be critical to seriously engage
the students; they even know their weaknesses or curriculum  design flaws.
These folks are usually superstar teachers who need just-in-time help when
they needed, where they needed, not necessarily through some sort of
rigorous well-thought out faculty development program; no, confident and
self-sufficient faculty need a smorgasbord of vetted educational technology
systems, tools and solutions to pick from, whenever and wherever they want.
They may also need a quick consultation from instructional technology
consultants and/or instructional designers, but it better be quick and good.
Don't try to teach these teachers how to teach.  They know how to teach and
they know exactly what works and what doesn't work; they just need quick
burst of immediate help of the highest quality and expertise.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned group of superstar faculty is usually not
the majority at one's institution (not just based on UIC, but, in general,
based on ongoing everyday conversation I have with faculty and colleagues
across the nation).  Also, these superstar faculty, for the most part, tend
to be faculty with seniority, clout and means ($$) to make time to create
engaging lecture materials, interactive learning modules, and anything else
they want, once they make up their minds.  These folks are, needless to say,
very vocal and extremely demanding.  We better have in place reliable,
scalable and quality systems and services to support them.  

Lastly, sometimes these folks, being vocal and with clout, give the campus
senior administrators (and the campus as a whole) the wrong impression about
what is most needed and where our priorities ought to be.  I know of many
UIC superstar faculty who want to have the cake and eat too, along with
plenty of candy, ...and more to the point, they are convinced that their
needs and the time they are willing to spend on non-(Promotion & Tenure)
activities, like spending hours on end creating that animation or
interactive learning module, i.e. enhancing Teaching & Learning is what
everybody should do.  ...and I agree with them 200%... except the reality is
most of the faculty have nowhere near the time and resources on-hand to
spend on Teaching & Learning -- they need to remain focused on research,
publishing, and even pursue tenure.

(2) On the other side of the spectrum, and far away from the "wealthy"
superstar faculty with all the time and clout in the world to teach well, we
have the vast (mostly-silent) majority of faculty, who may also be excellent
teachers, but these folks are not "wealthy".  They don't have endless
supplies of Teaching Assistants, graduate students nor do they belong to
relatively wealthy colleges or departments.  We know exactly who they are.
These fine folks need help, a lot of help.  Our smorgasbord of educational
technology tool chests and services better be not just plentiful and
very-well selected, but it better be very easy-to-use and easy to support,
en masse, because most faculty don't have the time, assistants or technical
expertise to struggle with overly complicated educational technology, arcane
or convoluted LMS systems that are too difficult to master, complex
multimedia transcoding, compressing and streaming technicalities, ad
nauseum.

Here is where IT can shine :: we need to be relentless in our quest to make
technology as easy-to-use as possible, not just for the technically-inclined
faculty, the superstar faculty and  those with plenty of time to experiment,
explore and develop effective and innovative uses of instructional
technology to facilitate learning, ...but for the vast majority of faculty,
teaching staff and students who want the same, but are not techies and/or
have no desire to be.  Why should they be?  We need to provide Toaster
Technology(TM).

Anyway, faculty development programs, especially, programs, services and
resources that do not focus on technology, but on sound pedagogy and on
effective uses of technology to meet learning outcomes and to facilitate
learning, are very much appreciated by this larger group of faculty.
Likewise, we need to practice what we preach and make our services and
resources readily available, asynchronously, self-service, for on-demand
consumption, but also extensively complemented by quality face-to-face
programs, workshops and one-on-one consultations to make it easier and most
effective for the busy faculty.  Real-time minutes spent with faculty are
very scarce and precious, so we need to make sure it is time well spent. It
needs to make a difference, and like Malcolm alluded to, it can be a lot
more effective when our faculty development and instructional technology
efforts are offered with heavy participation and presentations from faculty
members themselves, if possible, by faculty who teach the same or similar
curriculum.  

I wish we could all partner to start and sustain a series of "Beam me up,
Scotty" Web presentations (recorded, of course) given by faculty from
colleges and universities around the world, offered every day, showcasing
how to best use educational technology with sound pedagogy in mind.  Judging
by my 32+ years of helping faculty at UIC, there is a lot to be said about
seeing how professors at other institutions are educating and innovating.
Luckily, for all, beaming in faculty and panels of experts is too easy to
do, today.

Back to instructional technology support, I don't know about everybody else,
but I like to think of it in terms of two separate types of support
activities: a) the faculty development support that started this thread
(thank you, Sam), and b) the just-as-important ongoing day-to-day
instructional technology technical support that our students, faculty and
teaching staff require, just-in-time, sometimes urgently, due to tight
deadlines, online tests, student assignment due dates, end-of-term grading,
or mundane Web browser issues, authentication problems, misinformation, or
miscellaneous "I cannot do X" urgent cries for technical assistance.
Furthermore, think of after-hours instructional technology support, along
with mobile, social, Twitter-based support, instant support, 24x7 or close
to 24x7 depending on your institution's programs and deep pockets ;-)

Lastly, as for rigid standards and other one-size-fits-all approaches to
uniformity, I think, in principle, they are great, but there needs to be
plenty of room for flexibility and personalization by the faculty member,
more so in these days of IT customerization. I would not want the university
to dictate to me, for example, whether I can use blogs for (not wikis) for
my class student group assignments or not, or whether I choose to hold
virtual office hours with Blackboard Instant Messenger and with Google+
Hangouts, instead of just via the campus LMS service. No, instructors needs
to have some freedom.

While there may be a lot to be said about having a uniform look-and-feel on
how we teach and learn,  I strongly believe that the Academe would indeed
miss a golden opportunity to continue to truly innovate and educate if we
stick to once-size-fits-all solution(s).  Besides, realize who our audience
is in this endeavor :: faculty members, including tenured faculty members at
Research I institutions :: do you really think we can boss these fine folks
around? Even if we could, we shouldn't.  At best, we should follow The
Godfather's advice: "Suggest it, don't demand it".

Greetings from Chicago,

--
Ed Garay
Assistant Director for Academic Computing (ACCC)
Director, UIC Instructional Technology Lab (ITL)
University of Illinois at Chicago

www.accc.uic.edu/itl
www.twitter.com/garay

** Ubiquitously social.


And here is a student perspective - from our student-run newspaper. http://royalpurplenews.com/?p=6770 Elena Pokot CIO UW-Whitewater
Hi Ed, A few years ago my wife was invited to help teach College Algebra. This particular university had four sessions of the class and the day before class was to start one professor notify the university he could not teach. Out of desperation they asked my wife. She was a six grade teacher that specializes in Math. She was also helping an independent study charter school (home school/distance learning) as a teacher. I ,being a techie, introduced her to the tablet PC. After three classes of frustration she decided to go back to her overhead projector. At the end of the quarter, the results of her class was shocking. Her class' passing rate was 90+%, a full 20+ percentage points above the next teacher. In her case, the technology she use "primitive" but effective. On the other hand, the pedagogy was exactly what was required for that class. Sometimes we like to push the "shiny". And the "shiny" may not be ready or the right solution. God bless, Sam Young CIO (at least for now) Point Loma Nazarene University Sent from my iPhone
I'd like to comment more directly on Sam's question 2:

"What is the roll of IT in this revolution?"

It really depends on your campus culture.  Our campus split the e-learning support area from central IT around 10 years ago, because leadership strongly believed that e-learning tools and methods needed the focus of strong academic leadership, focused strictly on supporting the systems used by faculty.   It is a separate office and separate staff within Academic Affairs, reporting to the Provost.  Their stated mission is:  " offers support to faculty, staff, and students in teaching and learning online and the development of custom web solutions for academic needs."  (http://www.oakland.edu/elis)  We still support the technology behind the doors (i.e., Moodle servers and backups and stuff located in the datacenter overseen by IT), but faculty have this special unit to contact about course and program development for online environments.  When we, in central IT, look at technical directions, the ELIS is our primary client (much like working with Registrar for student records).

Just a year ago, another separate support organization for teaching and learning support was created - separate office, separate staff.  The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (http://www.oakland.edu/cetl) has a stated purpose of "The foundation of educational excellence is found in the day-to-day course experiences and interactions between faculty and students.  The development and advancement of teaching excellence among faculty is central to a quality educational experience for students.  This involves 1) supporting faculty efforts to improve teaching by creating learning environments in which our diverse student body achieves maximal learning potential, and 2) promoting a culture throughout the university which values and rewards effective teaching, and respects and supports individual differences among learners."   Discussions about effective pedagogy are more likely to occur in that operation.

So our campus culture is to split this areas into organizations based on perspective.  The role of IT is to make sure the technology supports the directions they choose.  Leadership from IT is not part of the picture - nor would it be accepted by our faculty.

Theresa 

Our campus does not look to IT professionals for guidance on pedagogy, so there is no role for IT in this discussion.  We do seek to share relevant materials and news, and we try to be advisory on subjects related to technology. 

I would like to share the Wake Forest approach to Question 2, the role of IT.

There are five offices on our campus that have a major roles to play:
  • The Teaching and Learning Center;
  • Information Systems, reporting to me;
  • The Instructional Technology Group, who live in the academic departments, with dual expertise in technology and the disciplines they support, and several with instructional design expertise, reporting to the dean of Arts and Sciences;
  • The university library, which has had a long-time role in technology training, who have established themselves as experts in social media, which has one staff person with considerable instructional design expertise;
  • Our new director of online learning.
What works for us is a high degree of cooperation and collaboration. There is more than enough work for all of us, we respect each other's areas of expertise, and we tend not to be territorial. We will do joint workshops, with the tech types teaching how to use tools, and with the teaching and instructional design experts leading discussions on how to use the tools effectively for education.

We have one monthly gathering that we call the Future Technologies Group; it includes representatives from all the above areas, plus a few others. We gather once a month, discuss new or changing technologies, share what we hear what faculty are doing cool things and what faculty are looking for help.  With new technologies, we try to come up with a plan for support, that is, which of our groups will play what role.The group has no authority, but much influence.  If we agree on a plan of support, the heads of the other offices usually support it.

I see the role of IT being more than just supporting the technology. We often hear about stuff first, and we try spread the word with the other offices and the faculty. We get to know our faculty, and they often are the first on campus to become aware of a particular technology. We take faculty to demonstrations. We arrange pilots so that the experts in pedagogy -- the faculty and the Teaching and Learning Center that supports them -- can make the call on whether the tools are worth investing in.

The most important thing we in Information Systems do, beyond providing technology and keeping it running?  Know the faculty so that we connect faculty with faculty. Then they can share with each other what works and what does not for effective learning.
Associate Provost for Technology & Information Systems



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