Adapt new teaching methods or become irrelevant?

PSU is writing a strategic plan for information technology. In particular, we're exploring how information technology will shape the classroom in the years ahead. We hear a lot about social networking and this generation's use of tools in extraordinarily new ways. Very few, however, have truly explained what social networking technologies, a world rich with information and collaboration, mean to transforming the classroom.

This is something every college and university instructor should listen to. Grab your coffee or a glass or wine and sit back for a spell. I guarantee you will be left thinking. Also, stick around for the questions. They'll be asking some of what you might be thinking, too.

Sarah B. Robbins-Bell, issued a warning to professors that unless they adapt to new teaching methods with technology, they could become irrelevant because students can find places other than traditional universities to learn. Ms. Robbins-Bell is a doctoral student in rhetoric and composition at Ball State University.    From the Chronicle. Nov. 3, 2008 at the Educause Conference in Orlando.

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5 thoughts on “Adapt new teaching methods or become irrelevant?

  1. Dwight, your posting focuses primarily on social networking tools. While I believe in the importance of socially-constructed knowledge, there are a vast number of learning theories that drive the design of software. This includes the traditional approaches like behavioral learning and the like. Not to mention, different disciplines may not categorically assume the same importance of socially-constructed knowledge as a primary strategy (regardless of the perceived obsolescence of the instructor). What provisions will be in the IT Strategic Plan for more departmental/discipline innovation (locally speaking not globally) including such things as research infrastructure, assessment systems, and synchronous instructional tools?

  2. I agree with much of what you said. Social networking tools are a supplement, not an end all, and they are not for all courses. The real issue is how prepared are we to communicate and interact with students and colleagues in these emerging ways.

    The Strategic Plan will pose a number of questions that will be vetted to the campus. We'll seek online, f2f and other means of feedback.

    Answer your question. What would you like to see for research infrastructure, assessment and synchronous tools?

  3. As far as research infrastructure, I am not sure. I just know that our identity as a university is evolving, and a systemic approach to organizing and storing research data is imperative. Also, having it linger on faculty desktops that are regularly backed up is asking for a disaster. A better desktop backup strategy may help data loss, but not the systemic approach.

    As far as synchronous tools, I'd like to see a better web presentation application - such as Elluminate or one that does chat, video, slides, and sound. It is a critical part of expanding our online offerings, and as we expand our reach it makes sense for meetings and presentations.

    As far as assessment tools, I guess I'd just say this - similar to the research infrastructure - there needs to be a systemic approach. A significant portion of time and energy is wasted on parallel, (often) competing tasks, and the organization of institutional reports can be streamlined by not having them "handwritten."

    Just a few thoughts before I share breakfast with Claire...

  4. When talking to a vendor the other day I heard a rumor that Dwight is bailing out of Plymouth. Is that true??

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