Academic Exchange Quarterly Spring 2012 ISSN 1096-1453 Volume 16, Issue 1
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“Technogogy” and Faculty Development
Bruce Kelley, The University of South Dakota
Shane Miner, The University of South Dakota
Faye Haggar, The University of South Dakota
Kelley, Ph.D., is Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, and Miner, MA and Haggar, MA are Educational Technology Integrationists for the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Technology is an integral part of 21st-century learning, and as a result has become vitally important in faculty development. Instructional developers must find effective ways of teaching faculty how to use technology as part of a broader strategy of improving student learning. We have begun to use the term “technogogy” to describe the process by which learning (both pedagogy and andragogy) intersects with technology. This article describes a successful faculty development model that integrated technology with principles of course design and team-based learning theory.
Technology is an integral part of education in the 21st century. Student expectations about what constitutes an educational experience are changing as a result of the pervasiveness of social media, the ease of wireless connectivity, and the infusion of handheld devices with smart technology. Technology makes learning possible almost everywhere: “People around the world are taking their education out of school into homes, libraries, Internet cafes, and workplaces, where they can decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn and how they want to learn. . . .These new learning niches use technologies to enable people of all ages to pursue learning on their own terms.” (Collins & Halverson, 2009, p.3). Technology is simply a tool, however, and has the potential to be used both very well or very poorly. McHaney (2011, p. 1) states “It is higher education’s job to engage learners without sacrificing good pedagogy, and to somehow teach them and learn from them at the same time.” We have begun to use the term “technogogy” to describe the process by which learning (both pedagogy and andragogy) intersects with technology.
Budgets to develop digital networks and smart classrooms on campus have exponentially increased over the past decade, but support is often lacking for faculty who are expected to use new technology in their teaching, and who have competing professional priorities and very little time (Woolsey, 2008, p. 212; Nilson, 2009, p. 10). Faculty typically need more than just technical training, for without a creative exploration of the learning possibilities it is difficult for faculty to envision how new technologies may be meaningfully used in any particular course (Woolsey, 2008, p. 217). Georgina & Hosford (2009, p. 690) state that “technology alone may do nothing to enable the integration of technology-based pedagogies.” Without sustained development and support, faculty burn out quickly and the chance for lasting change is greatly hindered. Faculty must be trained to use technology in ways that add to, rather than subtract from, the learning experience.
Technology has been a component of higher education for many years, but the vast changes created by cloud computing and wireless connectivity truly require a new mind-set. Current technogogy is transforming education by “flipping the classroom”—changing the paradigm so that content is delivered outside of the traditional class period (Bergmann & Sams, 2011). Lectures play a greatly diminished role in the flipped classroom, while rich learning environments are created through the use of in-class experiential learning activities and team-based learning. In the summer of 2011 we created such an environment through a faculty development program called the Course Redesign Fellowship. Early assessment of the program has shown encouraging outcomes.
Course Redesign Fellowship
The Course Redesign Fellowship was developed to cultivate meaningful changes in the use of technology in face-to-face courses. The emphasis on technology was subsumed, however, within a broader focus on course design and the development of opportunities for significant learning. Fink’s (2003) model of integrated course design provided the scaffold for the program, which also borrowed heavily from the team-based learning theories of Michaelsen, Knight & Fink (2004). Team-based learning has been shown to be integral for an effective adaptation of technology (Judge & O’Bannon, 2008, p. 26). The program was intentionally designed using the same principles that our faculty would use to redesign their courses, and included significant opportunities for active engagement and social interaction between the participants. A number of learning theories and studies strongly support this model (Piaget, 1963; Bruner, 1966; Knowles, 1970; Vygotsky, 1978; Gardner, 1983/2003; Kolb, 1984; Connolly, 1989; Weimer, 2002; Kelley & Lushbough, 2010).
The program consisted of an intense two-week workshop, one-on-one consultation, and in-class support through the semester the course was taught. The application process for the fellowship was competitive, and applicants were selected based on their reasoned need for a redesign, the outcomes identified for their courses, their commitment to full participation, the number of students that might be impacted by the redesign, and by references from their chair or dean. Participants received $1,000.00 for completing the summer workshop, and $500.00 on completion of the programmatic assessments during the first semester the redesigned course was offered. Each participant also received Fink’s (2003) Creating Significant Learning Experiences, Weimer’s (2002) Learning-Centered Teaching, Bain’s (2004) What the Best College Teachers Do and Michaelsen, Knight, & Fink’s (2004) Team-Based Learning, which were used as texts for the workshop. Ten faculty members were chosen to participate in the first Course Redesign Fellowship.
The two-week workshop was the keystone of the program, and was structured to model active learning principles, team-based learning and the importance of reflection. We designed the experience to minimize lecture, and instead leveraged a variety of active learning strategies to demonstrate the process of creating a flipped classroom. The following learning goals were set for the workshop, based on Fink’s (2003, p. 33) paradigm of significant learning:
o Foundational Knowledge
o Faculty will understand and use Fink’s model of course design and his taxonomy of significant learning
o Faculty will understand the tenets of active learning and team-based learning, and core principles related to the effective use of technology in the classroom
o Faculty will redesign at least one of their courses
o Faculty will critically analyze their courses to incorporate technology in ways that support and enhance the learning objectives of their courses
o Faculty will connect to other faculty members who are outside of their disciplinary boundaries
o Faculty will connect with today’s students by integrating technology with their pedagogy
o Human Dimension
o Faculty will develop the confidence to use technology effectively.
o Faculty will contribute to their team’s success
o Faculty will learn about some of the learning characteristics of 21st-century students
o Faculty will become interested in and excited about technology as a pedagogical tool
o Faculty will become interested in and excited about the process of course design
o Faculty will commit to using active learning strategies in their courses
o Learning How To Learn
o Faculty will become self-directed learners who will continue to grow in their understanding and use of technology
The workshop took place from 9:00am-noon over eight days, Monday through Thursday, for two weeks. The workshop created a flow of in-class and out-of-class exercises that promoted active learning, team-based activities, reflection, and assessment. Technology was embedded into all of these activities in ways that were pedagogically meaningful, without being the focus of the experience. For example, on the fifth session our goal was to have each of the faculty develop a teaching strategy for a specific topic area of their course. Prior to that particular day the participants had been required to read chapters in Weimer (2002) that dealt with responsibility in learning and how to respond to resistance to learner-centered teaching. Fellows also completed a peer assessment of their teammates. The session proceeded as follows:
o Each team drew a metaphor for teaching using a flipchart and markers
o Teams described their metaphors to the other groups
o Teams analyzed and discussed the results and process of the peer assessment
o Participants used Google Docs and our learning management system to develop a sequence of activities based on Fink’s (2003, p. 132-133) castle top diagram to enhance their students’ opportunity to experience significant learning
o Staff presented a ten-minute introduction to wikis and their educational potential
o Each team developed a wiki site related to student responsibilities in and resistance to learner-centered teaching
The intersection of technology and pedagogy in the session is an excellent example of how we define technogogy. Participants used technology in meaningful ways throughout the day, engaging in activities that helped them better understand student responsibility in and resistance to the student-centered learning process, even while they learned to use new technologies. Faculty also used technology to assist them with the course redesign process and elements of team-based learning theory, but the technology itself was never a major focus.
Fellows were required to attend at least one individual consultation with a faculty developer after the workshop was complete and before classes started. These consultations allowed us to evaluate their redesigned courses, and to explore further which technologies might enhance their course objectives. Sustained individual support has been a key feature of successful technology integration programs (Judge & O’Bannon, 2008; Groves & Zemel, 2000; Dusick, 1998), and so a fulltime staff member was attached to each redesigned course to assist with the implementation of the technological and pedagogical changes.
Assessment of this program is ongoing, but those elements that have been completed indicate a number of successful outcomes .
Faculty Evaluation of the Workshop
A survey to determine the effectiveness of our training was administered at the midpoint and at the end of our two-week workshop. These surveys indicated that faculty attitudes toward the course design process and the notion of student centered learning were more positive at the end of the workshop than they were at the midpoint.
Question 1: Please rate the content of this session (“Not valuable” = 1, “Extremely valuable” = 5):
Midterm assessment mean: 4.375
Final assessment mean: 4.667
Question 2: Please rate the usefulness of this session (“Not useful” = 1, “Extremely valuable” = 5):
Midterm assessment mean: 4.500
Final assessment mean: 4.778
For each of these questions there was a positive shift through the course of the workshop. One-on-one consultations after the workshop indicated that each of our fellows had indeed changed their courses in significant ways.
Student midterm evaluations of redesign courses
While not required, two of our fellows conducted a midterm student assessment for their courses. Student responses were categorized, and the results summarized. Course elements that were changed as a result of the fellowship were identified by the students as some of the most positive facets of the course and the instructor. The first question asked students to identify the greatest strength of the instructor. Their summarized responses are presented below, an “*” indicates an answer that reflects changes made in the class as a result of the fellowship. The percentages add up to more than one hundred in each case because some students identified more than one item.
o 51.0 percent of students listed the teacher's enthusiasm and knowledge
o 27.9 percent listed that she encourages/enables discussion*
o 14.0 percent listed her explanations
o 4.7 percent listed the videos/multimedia she brings in*
o 2.3 percent listed the group work*
o 2.3 percent listed creative assignments*
o 29 percent listed that she connects content to the real world/makes it personal
o 21 percent listed that she is caring/helpful and listens to concerns
o 21 percent listed her ability to adapt the learning*
o 14 percent listed her content knowledge
o 11 percent listed group activities*
o 7 percent listed test review
The last question asked students to identify the one thing they wouldn’t want changed in the class. Their responses are below, an “*” indicates an answer that reflects changes made in the class as a result of the fellowship:
o 37.2 percent listed the videos/multimedia she brings to class*
o 20.9 percent listed groups/group activities/group discussions*
o 11.6 percent listed the discussions*
o 9.3 percent listed online materials (study guides and outlines)
o 7.0 percent listed group presentations*
o 7.0 percent listed extra credit for going to plays
o 2.3 percent listed the homework
o 2.3 percent listed the lectures
o 2.3 percent did not answer
o 25 percent listed group activities*
o 25 percent listed study guides/outlines
o 14 percent listed test review
o 11 percent listed connecting content to real world/make it personal
o 11 percent listed her testing format
o 11 percent listed the lecture with PowerPoint slides
o 3 percent listed clickers*
The experience of the first participant is illustrative of the success we hope all our fellows achieve. She redesigned her course from 90 percent lecture to 5 percent lecture, and she reports that “students have taken more ownership of the course and the environment has become one of sharing perspective. . . . It has been a very exciting change - and I have been pleasantly surprised by the outcome.” She continues:
The students have become much more engaged in the course than the students ever were in my lecture course. . . .This semester, students began the semester with a "passive stance" - they were very prepared to sit and listen. From the very first day we had "hands on" exercises that simply got the students physically involved - standing up, walking to their groups, actively working on a sorting project with each other. I have witnessed them warm up to the idea that they were going to have to actually engage in the material as they may be called upon to offer their thought-out perspective of the material to the class. . . . It has been fun to watch the confidence build in those who began very quiet in the class, but have found a [level of comfort in] expressing themselves in my classroom. I believe this is a skill that they are learning that will help them further their education in a much more significant manner than my reciting course content to them ever could.
The data we have gathered at this point are not conclusive, but are promising indicators that the fellowship has created real and significant changes in the classrooms of the redesign fellows, both in how technology is used, and in how student learning is understood.
Technology integration must be an essential element of teaching and learning to meet the educational demands of the 21st century. The redesign fellowship gave faculty an opportunity to encounter rich learning experiences in an active and collaborative environment that was enhanced through technology. It is only by doing this that we arrive at a true “technogogy,” a process where pedagogy and technology integrate to enrich and accelerate student learning.
 USD IRB Exempt 2 Review Level, November 15, 2011
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