The Chronicle reports on a study from the League for Innovation in the Community College that some of us are using technology that does not connect to course objectives. Oh, my! The problem appears to be that professors feel obligated to use technology, but without proper support and guidance.
“When professors did choose to put elements like YouTube videos into their courses, the student experience felt ‘like faculty were compelled to use more, instead of asking why. . . .’”
Maybe more disturbing is the data in the report that showed most online instructors using mostly “text-based assignments and materials” in their courses. Clearly something is being lost, but nothing new gained in such translations from face-to-face to online. Courses just don’t shift into those new modes without some reworking.
The researchers called for more training and I second that, although I think that consulting is more the right term, because learning how to teach better online is not a “point here and click” operation. Whether those are one-on-one consultations with technology & teaching experts or hallway conversations with colleagues or faculty learning community gatherings, professors should not feel compelled to go it alone.
As for technology content not matching objectives, maybe some of the objectives should change. Of course, I’m not sure that a quick tour of classes won’t find some text-based assignments and in-class content not always matching an objective either. I like my teaching a little messy and not predicated on everything matching up in a spreadsheet somewhere. It all works out and what if you did happen to learn something that wasn’t pre-planned along the way?