A Necessary Condition for Transforming the Academy?

How can we get other faculty to adopt progressive teaching practices, such as those I imagine will be part of University 2.0?

A recent Campus Technology newsletter offers some suggestions:

Almost no other industry has invested as much into information technology and so little into training. This needs to change–faculty need support and new ideas. In addition, while academic support is critical, faculty exchange of ideas through internally supported and internally rewarded time is also critical. Until other faculty know what other faculty are doing, they will not learn of good instructional approaches and they will not be forced to try new techniques because they just don’t know they exist. Faculty still mainly work independently and unless that is changed, instruction can not be changed.

(Emphasis added)

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5 Responses to A Necessary Condition for Transforming the Academy?

  1. Gardner says:

    Perhaps we should start with the assumption that many and varied instructional approaches have potentially extraordinary merit. Language like “forced to try new techniques” reveals some unpleasant assumptions behind the suggestions, and risks shutting down the conversation. I’ve been in many pedagogy discussions that devolved into “agree with us about the magic bullet.” Not good, and not enough for University 2.0.

  2. Steve says:

    Gardner, I agree completely with your comment. Granted that the author’s language was clumsy (you should have seen the rest of the article!), the point I was trying to make with the quotation was this:

    More than perhaps most vocations, university professors seem to operate behind walled gardens. In most departments, I suspect, faculty know little about the instructional design and teaching approach of their colleagues.

    So perhaps the quotation might have read, “Until other faculty know what other faculty are doing, they will not learn of good instructional approaches because they just don’t know they exist.”

  3. James says:

    As an instructional technologist, I see that breaking down the walled gardens, to continue your metaphor, that most of my faculty work within is the key to helping them first understand the instructional problems they face, possible solutions, and that a colleagues two doors down, and in the next building are face similar situations.

    What I have not yet figured out is a way to help the faculty deconstruct the walls of their garden until they start peering over the wall of their garden first…

    I guess the question for me is…

    What motivates one to look outside one’s comfort zone to the uncharted waters of change?

  4. Steve says:

    Good question! I don’t have good answer, but I suspect that if the walls become transparent so that faculty can’t help but see what their peers are doing, that would help.

  5. James says:

    What allowed you to be willing enough to risk what was comfortable to you and attempt your “experiments” documented in earlier postings of Pedablogy?

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