Saturday, September 27, 2014

Enoch Hale's Future of Faculty Development blog post: WOW

I just read a FABULOUS blog post: Future of Faculty Development: Cultivating Meaningful Experiences by Enoch Hale... WOW. As always when I leave a long comment that is awaiting moderation, I like to post it somewhere, just in case it gets lost in the moderation shuffle (see below) — and I would urge everybody to go read this post if you are interested in faculty development. He describes a great experiment about transforming student and teacher roles, with very different results (although not really surprising) when conducting the experiment with students on the one hand and with faculty on the other. Here's the specific quote in his post that I was responding to in my comment: The instructors, however, immediately began vocally providing numerous reasons why such a shift is impossible; not improbable, but impossible. Their comments were full of emotion, which I interpreted as ranging from anger to dismissal. My goal, then, was to make shift happen.

And here's an "image quote" from the blog:

I am SO GLAD for the people I am connecting with thanks to Connected Courses and the blog hub. Whoo-hoo! Now I am going to go explore some more!


My comment:

WOW, this is absolutely fascinating! I am so glad I found this post thanks to Connected Courses, and I will be reading your blog. Your contrasting experiments with students and faculty confirms something that has been my impression for many years, but which I have never been able to pinpoint so precisely. I just know that in my classes, the more and more control and responsibility I give to the students, the happier we all are: they are learning more, I enjoy my job more, everybody benefits. Decentering the class has been especially easy (and important!) for me, because I teach online... I no longer have to be the center of attention at the front of the room, all eyes staring at me. The students respond so positively to this new way of learning; it takes a week or two before they really see how different it is, but then it's just lots of learning and lots of fun for the rest of the semester. With my colleagues, though, I have gotten nowhere. Naively, back around 2002, when I first started teaching online and finding these great gains when I redesigned my classes, I eagerly offered workshops to anyone who asked, and I was so surprised at the total pushback from faculty who said what I was doing was impossible, couldn't work, etc. ... even though I obviously knew that it was possible and I could see that it was working! Here we are over ten years later, and I've pretty much given up hope when it comes to colleagues, although my hopes for my students are bigger than ever. I try to document everything I do, and I share online abundantly (I'm documenting my online classes in a new project this semester: Anatomy of an Online Course), but I no longer expect to make any impact on all but a few colleagues, the ones who have already opened up their minds to a student-centered way of thinking. As for the rest, I haven't the time or energy or skill to work through their anger and dismissal, just as you describe here. So, I repeat: What an absolutely fascinating post! I look forward to exploring other posts in your blog here. Thank you!!!

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