CSG Fall 2014 – IT’s Role in Supporting Evolving Teaching and Learning Landscapes

We’re at Cornell University for the Fall CSG meeting. The morning workshop was all about cloud strategy, presenting the results of our summer working group workshop. I was heavily involved in that workshop, so couldn’t blog it, but I’ll post a link to the document that grew out of the summer meeting when it’s made public.

The afternoon workshop is on the evolving teaching and learning landscapes at our institutions and what IT’s role is in supporting that.

Global Learning Council conference – attended by EdX, Coursera, Khan Academy, Google, as well as universities.

Comments on survey results:

  • Local culture plays an important role.
  • Need to align mission of academic tech and teaching centers. Libraries are also participating in these conversations.  On one hand we can’t have the technology tail wagging the dog, on the other hand we can’t have teaching center staff promoting inappropriate technology.
  • Definitely getting sense that campus leadership is paying more attention to academic technology, who are expecting results.

Use cases:

  • Tom Lewis, Washington: Until recently never had an academic tech organization as part of central IT, but it existed as a separate organization. With Canvas got a chance to get out in front – what can we do to successfully implement this LMS on camps. What do faculty, local IT, students, need? What’s the vendor like? Tom has a team that can actually do formal assessment – helps with making data backed decisions and communicating them. Unit is seen as good collaborators by the campus, allowing them to innovate. Need a culture of experimentation among their staff – can try things and throw them away.
  • Ben Maddox, NYU: How many universities have a published teaching and learning with technology
  • strategy? Three-ish in the room. Something is changing in higher education, mostly around new revenue, lower costs, reaching new audiences, and actually helping students learn. NYU is at a point where they remove barriers – deans won’t start strategy without knowing capacity for support from IT, so now they’ve demonstrated capacity. Provost has tasked deans to produce strategies that associate teaching & learning technology with concrete goals. How can the CIO assure that the right parties are in the room to help reach those goals?
  • Linda Jorn, Wisconsin: Provost pushing initiative for empowering faculty to innovate in teaching and learning. Enabled the CIO to push for a Vice-Provost title for the Director of Academic Technology. Three goals: leverage technology for more active learning; Increase online professional masters and capstone classes; increase global learning experiences. Have been increasing staff in online learning and video production and PhD level learning consultants to work with faculty. Faculty need evidence that new environments work before making efforts. Focusing on efforts that scale and can be sustained.
  • Maggie Jesse, Iowa: Evolved into an organizational change. CIO has very strong relationship with provost’s office, and have created partnerships to push active learning ahead. That has helped the campus see IT as a partner in learning. 150 faculty have been through an active learning program, developed in partnership with the center for teaching, but that was only one person. A retirement offered an opportunity to look at organization. IT has a good track record, so the responsibility moved into the IT organization. Faculty have shown some resistance to losing center for teaching, assuming that integration with IT will lose focus on pedagogy. 

With advent of MOOCs teaching centers have had to respond to demand for being a production shop.

At NYU have new staff: eight instructional technologists and eight programmers, within IT. There are new resources at the schools with conformance with standards and architecture as part of their jobs. Every course tracked like project with costs tracked. If demand really rises, none of these models will scale.

At Washington just started online degree completion program in Arts & Sciences. Will be able to correlate student satisfaction with different production costs for each course.

At Berkeley Extension builds courses and hands them to faculty, which generate little interest from deans and faculty.

Wisconsin has faculty training programs ranging from workshops to full year courses focusing on leadership in blended and online learning. Now IT is invited to discussions in the departments with the deans.

Who provides data for learning analytics from MOOCs or LMS? Can chairs and deans see data for individual courses? At Washington have a hierarchy of permissions from dean, through department chair, curriculum owner, individual faculty. Tom just hired an anthropologist to work with analytics.

Has anybody figured out what data makes a difference? Within academic arena there has not yet been a conversation about analytics. Is it the faculty member’s data or the institution’s? Educause has been working with Gates Foundation on research in this area – identified 36 colleges and universities trying to build up planning and advising using data. Gates gave them seed money to accelerate adoption. Community Colleges are looking a lot at this. There are lots of change management issues in this area. 

At Wisconsin looking at learning analytics at the course level. There are lots of things that have to change to bring learning analytics to bear – IT, policy, culture, etc.

The use of analytics is different at highly selective private institutions (who don’t need to increase enrollment) vs. publics.

We measure numbers like who’s graduating because we can – but we don’t know globally what we want students to know or achieve, so we can’t measure that.




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