On Monday and Tuesday this week (June 7 and 8) I attended the BC Educational Technology Users Group Spring Workshop at the University of Victoria: ‘3 cups of tea: Teaching, Technology, Transformation’.
I was leading a presentation on strategic thinking in e-learning, with a panel consisting of
- Mary Burgess, Director of Teaching and Educational Technology, Royal Roads University,
- Catherine McAteer, Associate Vice President, Academic, at the University of Victoria, and
- Barbara Thomas, a faculty member in business, and a member of the steering committee on e-learning at Vancouver Island University.
- Paul Stacey, of BCcampus, had the unenviable job of keeping us on time and to the point.
This was the first public presentation of the main results of the study of 11 institutions that Albert Sangra and I have made of the strategic management of technology in universities and colleges. Regular readers of this blog will know what I was presenting but here is a very brief summary.
1. Institutions are too conservative in the goals they set for e-learning (usually: to enhance the quality of classroom teaching). They should be using information and communications technologies to innovate in teaching, and in particular to increase flexibility of access, to develop 21st century skills and competencies, and to improve the cost-effectiveness of institutions. Goals should be set in measurable terms – and measured.
2. All university and college instructors should receive mandatory pre-service training in teaching before appointment; and senior academic administrators needed to be better prepared for decision-making about technology
3. Institutions need to track the costs and benefits of e-learning more carefully.
This led to three questions for the panelists:
Should technology be used to reinforce the current classroom model, or should it be used for radical change in how teaching and learning are delivered?
Should it be a requirement for all faculty and instructors in post-secondary education to have formally accredited training in teaching before they are allowed to teach? And what do senior administrators need to know about technology?
How can we evaluate the investment we are making in e- learning (especially as we don’t track costs or benefits)?
I have to say that I think this diet was too rich for the panelists, although Barbara Thomas did come out clearly in favour of mandatory training. Mary Burgess argued that Royal Roads University, which is a hybrid model by design, is already meeting many of these challenges, and Catherine McAteer of the University of Victoria pointed out that UVic already has in place a good program for faculty development.
The whole session was web cast and recorded, as I believe was the debate. They are not yet available at the time of posting, but should be up soon on the ETUG workshop site: http://etugspring10.crowdvine.com/ (I will update this when the videos are available)
In the meantime, a pdf version of my slides is available here
The workshop ended up on Tuesday afternoon with a debate on evolution or revolution, but unfortunately I had to leave before the debate, to get to Ottawa for Thursday. However, I have reported (or will) in another blog post on two of the best sessions I did attend.
Lastly, the University of Victoria is notorious for its rabbits, which run amok and terrify faculty and students alike. At great personal danger, I managed to get this snapshot (I was no more than six feet away!):