One element of this video that I find particularly interesting, quite unrelated to the specific educational tactics discussed, is the great effort made to underline the fact that the initiative is driven by faculty. It seems as if the authors were anticipating resistance by faculty to the ideas presented if they were framed as the work of management or of some think-tank (e.g. Lumina).

There is, of course, a tendency among faculty to resist efforts to curtail their professional autonomy. (I can’t think of too many situations when anyone gave up power easily.) So, from a political perspective, the approach taken in the video makes perfect sense. However, the initiative involves a rather substantial realignment of college/university teaching: a focus on the student, rather than the “expert” (academic), and an emphasis on learning outcomes. A large scale change of this type requires the leadership of regulators and institutional management. It’s in these parts of our higher education systems that the focus on research excellence (at the expense of teaching) and the limitations on outcomes measurement, starts. Greater concern for learning outcomes is not going to come about because a handful of dedicated faculty think it’s the right thing to do. It’s an organizational and financial issue that is built right into the fabric of the system itself.

For more information: http://catalytica.biz/360salon

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