On-Line Ed: Believers and Non-Believers

Useful forum in Inside Higher Ed today on faculty “resistance” to teaching online.  Simply phrasing it that way drives me kind of bonkers.  Why don’t we ever read about the problem of administrators being seduced by online education or students being duped by online education?  Some will say, “No! Those are really biased ways of phrasing it!” So is “faculty resistance.”

The unfortunate thing about online education is, almost no one is really focusing on using digital tools to really solve problems instructors actually have – give me the tools that let me teach more, better, and easier. The driving force is almost exclusively institutional revenue and the cloaking rhetoric is student access.

It’s really difficult to have a reasoned conversation when it’s believers and non-believers. Disingenuousness and self-serving arguments abound in this space. I’ve especially found the rhetoric of the believers problematic – that ultimate put down: “some faculty just don’t want to try modern pedagogical methods” is among the most intellectually dishonest tropes being bandied about our campuses these days.

Overcoming Faculty Resistance — or Not

Some instructors refuse to teach online. Experts weigh in on whether that’s OK and how institutions might respond.

By Mark Lieberman
March 14, 2018

The "Competency" Bandwagon: Check Out the Full Itinerary

One of this decade’s fads in higher education is “competency-” or “proficiency-based” education. The discourse around it is littered with phrases and concepts that are seductive to the left-leaning progressive educator. Personalized, flexible, affordable alterna-tive, transcending hours in seats, students gain ownership of their degree, accountability, employable skills, real world, etc.  
This Inside Higher Ed piece raises one alternative take: does competency-based approach to curricula so fully buy into the student as consumer that it will eliminate the “off-rubric” experiences that might not be directly applicable to some skill but that might be the very stuff of growing up, seeing the world in a new way, and the transformation that education is really all about.
Another thing for those ready to jump on the competency bandwagon to think about is who is steering the train where. Ed reformers are skilled at generating strange-bedfellows in the audience for their ideas. I might like competencies as a way of motivating pedagogical innovation, but am I on-board with those who would design college curricula around the needs of corporate employers?


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