January 22, 2018

Social media in higher education and barriers to change

photo of iPhone

Prof Hacker (2011) Revolution or Evolution? Social Technologies and Change in Higher Education Chronicle of Higher Education, January 25

A guest post from Derek Bruff, Dwayne Harapnuik, and Jim Julius, about a brainstorming session at the recent annual conference of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network.

The top challenges identified:

  • Faculty mistrust technology.
  • Faculty need examples of effective uses of these technologies.
  • Loss of control when shifting from faculty-centered to student-centered learning
  • Not a high priority for faculty development professionals on a campus
  • Lack of a culture of openness to try technology among faculty
  • Perception that technology does not offer deep learning

The article then goes on to look at ways to address these challenges. The comments to the article are also well worth reading


  1. Linda Harasim says:

    Prof. Hacker in the above CHE article is not a person but refers to the blog entitled: ProfHacker, which is written by a group of people from various universities. According to the (excellent) site:
    “ProfHacker delivers tips, tutorials, and commentary on pedagogy, productivity, and technology in higher education. For more information, including our origin story and some tips for using ProfHacker, please see our original project launch announcement.”

  2. Linda Harasim says:

    I discovered the ProfHacker site when following up on Joshua Kim’s review of a forthcoming book: “Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids and What We Can Do About It” by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus.

    I suggest that people read the review, because it is important. Kim addresses what the authors identify as 3 problems with higher ed. For example, on the “problem of educational technology”:

    Educational Technology: The most atrocious and unforgivable section of “Higher Education?” is the chapter on educational technology and online learning. Hacker and Dreifus completely miss the story of how technology has created an opportunity through higher education to re-examine and re-engineer teaching and learning. When education and technology professionals partner with faculty to design on-ground, blended or online courses the emphasis is always on learning. The authors take an extreme example from Florida Gulf Coast University and call it representative of all course redesign and technology assisted learning. The sheer laziness of the Hacker and Dreifus to ignore the revolution in teaching and learning that is occurring as a result of technology opening up new economic and pedagogical models in higher ed is difficult to forgive.

    Unfortunately, atrocious and unforgivable attacks on online education and ed tech are norms in today’s climate. Toe paraphrase Kim:

    The sheer laziness of the ‘media and many educators’ to ignore the revolution in teaching and learning that is occurring as a result of technology opening up new economic and pedagogical models in higher ed is difficult to forgive.

  3. Linda Harasim says:

    Sorry:….in my above comment, the paragraph beginning Educational Technology: should be in quotes.

  4. Tony Bates says:

    Thanks for this, Linda.

    Just to clarify: there is more than one Hacker

    The article reviewing the Hacker and Dreifus book is:

    Kim, J. (2011) 3 Problems with Higher Education Inside Higher Education, February 3 (http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/dialog/blogs/technology_and_learning/3_problems_with_higher_education).

    ProfHacker is a regular column in the Chronicle of Higher Education and is unrelated to Hacker and Dreifus.

    Jim Hacker, as every Brit knows, is the bumbling Minister in the TV series, ‘Yes, Minister.’

    The one thing the Hackers have in common is that they are all good for a laugh. (We won’t mention Julian Assange)

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