Reflections of Week 3 (in the middle of Week 4)

Before I was tenured, I distinctly remember having conversations with other untenured colleagues about our reluctance to take risks with innovative teaching. I may have been new to the Faculty Development Committee and our discussion was usually about the risk/reward of implementing new pedagogies. Something along the lines of:

“I would love to be more innovative in my class, but I am afraid of any negative teacher evaluations that will hamper my prospects for tenure/promotion.” Or…

“This all sounds interesting, but between teaching and my research I don’t have any time to try something new.”

Now that I have passed some of those early professional hurdles, and see how quickly technology improves, AND see how my own kids interact with technology at school and at home, it is becoming very clear to me that incorporating digital learning technologies and learning spaces is no longer new or novel, but instead will be considered essential moving forward. I’m not willing to push traditional teaching out on the ice flow, but all this will likely be second nature to the next generation of educators. Do any of you feel the same? Now I am thinking about how to proceed – slowly and meticulously, straight ahead “bull-in-a-china-shop” style, something in between…

(2) Comments

  1. Reid Riggle

    Well said Eric.

    I am going to climb on my “soapbox” for a moment.

    The whole point of the Full Spectrum Learning framework https://fullspectrumlearning.knight.domains/ was to allow for, and encourage, a wide range of impactful teaching. I believe we need a broad conversation on campus calling out the value of innovation for elevating student learning. We need to craft a system that not only allows for trying new strategies, but gives the faculty member willing to take the chance “credit” if they are able to explain why, what happened, and what they will do next. In other words, we can create an environment that is conducive to taking, throughtfull, calculated, risks. The student’s will be the benefit and the institution will thrive.
    Peace,
    Reid

    1. Miles

      “We need to craft a system that not only allows for trying new strategies, but gives the faculty member willing to take the chance ‘credit’ if they are able to explain why, what happened, and what they will do next.”

      I love this and totally agree. I was at an institution earlier this summer where everyone, even pre-tenure folks, are actually required to be innovative in the classroom. They are able to do this because of the culture they built and of the safeguards that were put in place to protect from failure. Failure is inevitable, especially when trying new things, and I think that as an institution, we need to accept that and set policies in place to allow for that.

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