Category Archives: IT in Higher Ed

File: Against the Natural Order of Things: Why E-Learning Refuses to Take Off

A well-written and comprehensive overview of the pitfalls of advocating for technological change without due consideration of faculty expertise. Highly recommended.

This helps to explain why many predictions of the future fail: not because the technology itself will not materialize, but because the people doing the predictions are not experts in the situations or domains they are aiming to affect. They develop tools without watching the way people work. This is why their visions strike us as funny, odd, or even offensive. And it’s why, when a technologist tries to tell a designer, a doctor, or a teacher “you will work like this in the future,” they laugh.

Baldwin, Jonathan. “‘Against the Natural Order of Things’: Why E-Learning Refuses to Take Off.” In Centennial Conversations: Essential Essays in Professional, Continuing, and Online Education. UPCEA, 2015.

Infographic: Student Mobile Workspaces

A visual overview of student reliance on mobile devices versus institutional and faculty priorities for learning.

94% of higher education leaders agree that students should have access to applications and data anywhere, on any device, but 55% said their institution does not provide this level of access to students today.

Link/File: ECAR Study of Faculty and IT (2015)

The second annual Study of Faculty and Information Technology (2015) has been released by the EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research. Customized results for UO are also available.

Interestingly, faculty in this study believe that IT may not have the funding or capacity to manage change as well as it could, suggesting potential for powerful, combined advocacy for appropriate technology investment. e greatest value of a study like this is not the conclusions it reaches but the campus conversations it begins.

Link: Redefining Service for the Digital Academic: Scholarship, Social Media, and Silos

A reflection on the ways in which technology mediates the traditional balance of research, teaching, and service for faculty.

Some days, I see my academic self as multiplatform, in a sense.  That self is fluid, moving with some ease among the silos of research, service, and teaching; that movement is facilitated by the networks I’ve created and the networks I share throughout the digital space.  Like the pathways in a brain, they crisscross, they intersect, there are multiple conduits for information and multiple opportunities for synthesis.

Utell, Janine. “Redefining Service for the Digital Academic: Scholarship, Social Media, and Silos.” Hybrid Pedagogy, November 2015.

LINK: Why One College Created a Full Analytics Office

In 2012, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) created an Office of Analytics, comprising a team of 14 people. The office focuses on marketing, enrollment management, retention, service centers, financials, and executive and academic program dashboards.  The office shares the four rules they follow and how UMUC benefits.

“We knew we had to take what we had left and invest in the priority: analytics.”

“Our approach is to demonstrate the ‘art of possible’ to the institution,” says Darren Catalano, VP of Analytics, “in other words, to make complex data simple.”

“Why one college created a full analytics office.” EAB Daily. November 4, 2015.

File: Learning and Performance Ecosystems: Strategy, Technology, Impact, and Challenges

This white paper was presented at the 2015 Distance Teaching and Learning Conference. It presents a number of strategies which can be used to create effective and relevant  online courses and programs.  It was been written for a business audience, but remains an item of interest for an educator audience!

 

Link: College Reinvents “Shop” Class for the Digital Era

This fall the University of Illinois will open a space for collaborative repair of consumer technologies called the “Illini Gadget Garage.” Students and faculty who bring in broken devices will work alongside Gadget Garage staff to repair them, ideally learning a set of transferrable skills. This effort is part of a sustainability initiative that includes a focus on extending the life of consumer electronics.

Bethke, Ron. “College Reinvents ‘Shop’ Class for the Digital Era.” eCampus News, October 13, 2015.

Also see the University’s article on the Illini Gadget Garage.

Link and File: Partial Credit – The 2015 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

The most recent survey of faculty attitudes on technology produced for Inside Higher Ed details the 2015 responses to multiple aspects of educational technology use, online learning, and social media effects on academia. The responses come from 2,175 faculty members and 105 academic technology administrators.

Colleges and universities have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on technology they believe will improve student outcomes and simplify administrative tasks. Educational technology companies continue to demolish investment records on a quarterly basis. With all this money raised and spent under the guise of improving postsecondary education, the 2015 Inside Higher Ed Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology suggests that many instructors believe the gains in student learning justify the costs — even if the results are perhaps less significant than desired.

Link: How to Teach in an Age of Distraction

Image from How to Teach in an Age of Distraction

Sherry Turkle, professor of social studies of science and technology at MIT, argues against a technologically integrated classroom and cautions against the widespread use of digital technologies in the service of learning, asserting that these technologies lead to unimaginative (if efficient) multitasking. Turkle argues that “unitasking,” focusing on one topic at a time, allows for a deep engagement with curriculum content and peers, which is necessary to a quality education. In addition to degrading the in-class experience by constant checking of mobile devices, Turkle argues, outside of class students use tools like GChat and Google Docs to complete their assignments, avoiding in-person collaboration. Further, they miss the “serendipity” of spontaneous ideas that occur when people talk in person (but not digitally?).

“[A tool like GChat] doesn’t leave room for what I want my students to experience when they collaborate. I call it intellectual serendipity. It may happen when someone tells a story or a joke. Or when someone daydreams and comes back with an idea that goes in a new direction. None of this is necessarily efficient. But so many of our best ideas are born this way, in conversations that take a turn.”

Turkle, Sherry. “How to Teach in an Age of Distraction.” Chronicle of Higher Education October 2, 2015.

Infographic: Student Mobile Workspaces

CampusTechnology provides a  snapshot of how students consider and use mobile devices in their Student Mobile Workspaces Infographic, including:

  • The value of technology from the students’ perspective
  • How students feel their devices are viewed by their institution
  • Ed tech leaders weigh in on the importance of remote access for students
  • Bridging the gap between user expectations and higher ed capabilities

94% of higher education leaders agree that students should have access to applications and data anywhere, on any device, but 55% said their institution does not provide this level of access to students today.

If you are a member you can read more about this infographic in CampusTechnology, September 17, 2015.