Thursday, April 10, 2008

Old tools for new situations

In my last post I shared a comment from Hal Meeks in regard to this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Is E-Learning Forever Trapped in a Field of Dreams? The discussion has continued today in our Teaching and Technology Round Table mailing list. I finally weighed-in after this comment from Henry Schaffer:

...before this digital/web/stuff was foisted on us (faculty,
staff and students) there used to be this irritating dance of getting
the course syllabus to the students. Hand it out, but not everyone is
there. Then they get lost - "why don't you bring more to class?" Or
the late night phone call, "When is the next exam?" Annoying to the
instructors, frustrating to the students.

Now we just put the syllabus on a web page - and, as they say, "Walla!"

I don't know anyone who wants to go back to the old game.

I have no desire to go back to the old days either, but the old days now are how we did it three years ago. I'd like to see us change the game entirely. Here was my response to Henry from earlier today:

Except for today there are a zillion ways to put that syllabus online short of spending zillions of dollars on CMS/LMS solutions. Yet, we cling to the technologies of the last decade that neither the faculty nor students prefer. While at the same time, enforcing built-in and totally unacceptable (industrial era) pedagogical frameworks.

It warms my heart that we are at least having these discussions, and the opportunity to challenge the status quo.

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