Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Liveblogging ELI: Session on the Millennial Instructor

with Carl Berger (who has been speaking for two minutes, but whom I already really, really like. Yay for good speakers!)

What do we know today?

  • Many surveys of faculty exist.
  • When taken as a whole, they paint a picture of some common uses of technology in teaching and learning.
  • Caution: Some specific finding might not apply to you.

He cautions us not to try to build our own surveys--beg, borrow, and steal from other institutions. Carl's CARAT site has surveys anyone can use. A couple years ago, they started using a survey that applied to both students and faculty (e.g. "In your teaching or learning, do you. . .").

  • Many surveys have documented the "Millennial Student"
  • Fewer, but still many, have documented faculty use of technology in teaching and learning
  • Faculty are willing to learn on their own.
  • Faculty least prefer books, manuals, and anything with a cost
  • Significant group of faculty don't seem to respond to "adult learning principles"
  • Convenience stronger than need to know
  • Colleagues more important than expertise
  • "In my office" more important than hotline.
Informing, yet Perplexing
  • the curse of successful traditional teaching
  • time, effort, relevance to teaching. . .critical
  • Reward, recognition, "count toward". . .crucial
  • Awareness of not reading student may be tipping point. . .or may be totally irrelevant
No more "weeder" courses. In fact, one of his chem profs was just tenured for his research on teaching and learning with technology. "You can see these little bits and pieces of change coming. But how coming are they?"

All faculty?
  • Variety of learning styles
  • Culture of local department or field of study
  • Variety of faculty types
  • And something new. . . Could there be a new group emerging? The Millennial Instructor?
A funny thing happened on the way. . .
  • 2005 gave soime survey to faculty and students
  • Role and affiliation, hmmm. . .more responses than sample
  • Interesting group, faculty with student roles and students with faculty roles (e.g. TAs)
  • Some unusual comparisons but just a fluke?
A look at three samples:
  • Students
  • Faculty
  • This new group
  • A chance to directly compare them through responses to the same themes and responses within those themes
  • Drawing some tentative conclusions
Used matrix questions, where one question had a 9-part answer, thanks to the use of radio buttons. Seemed to faculty like a shorter survey, which means higher response rate.

2006 survey
  • Not identical to 2005 survey but very much the same
  • Few more of the hybrid group
Survey had section on demographics (association and role--adjunct, student, etc. and freshman, sophomore, junior, grad student, librarian, etc.)

Unusual combinations
  • Students who teach
  • Faculty involved in formal learning as students
  • Focus on teaching and learning
  • Would this group look different?
  • Probably an older student group?
  • Probably a younger faculty group?
  • Just echo faculty but w/more skill?
  • Echo students?

  • 1731 students
  • 391 faculty
  • 321 students w/faculty roles
  • 83 faculty with student roles
So. . .of respondents w/faculty connections, 16% are "millennials" (students w/faculty roles, faculty w/student roles). "Millennial" is a way of designating use, support, expertise, patience, etc.--not, in this case, age.

Faculty want WINWINI: What I need when I need it.

Faculty (50% of sample was 40-55), but range from 20-80
Students (50% of sample 18-23), but range from 18 to 52
Millennial Instructor (50% of sample was 24-29, 90% from 20-34), range from 18 to 65.

He showed a really interesting graph where faculty, students, and millennial instructors (MI) rated themselves as novice to expert users in a three-part question: Please rate your expertise in using technology for teaching and learning in three areas: educational use, research, and personal. I hope the graph is available online. The summary was that millennials are ahead in all areas, with faculty in the middle of the pack on research, and students in the middle on educational and personal use. MIs appeared to be even more "millennial" in their personal lives than they are in their professional lives. MIs have a strong perception of their own expertise.

How do people learn about using technology for teaching and learning? A sampling of responses, which I'm placing in red so I remember to share it with my supervisors:
  • all groups prefer self-taught from exploring and experimenting
  • help from others--still popular among all
  • from IT staff--faculty like this, students not at all
  • tech seminars--even less popular than IT staff
  • in person next less popular
  • telephone consulting
  • last popular among all groups--online computer courses
Barriers in using technology for teaching and learning (all three groups lumped together)
  • biggest barrier: instructors don't know how to implement it (students and MI most likely to believe this)
  • extra work, little connection to course (faculty believe this more than students)
  • takes too much time
  • students don't know how to use it (modest barrier, but faculty think students know more than students think they do)
  • too complicated (faculty perception esp.)
  • don't have technical support
  • I don't have the skills (relatively low barrier)
Both students and faculty see instructors as a large barrier.

Throughout survey, not too much correlation between gender or age and answers.

How do we guide such folk?
  • Get out of their way?
  • Meet special needs?
  • Recognize and reward?
  • Maybe I should just retire?
Future investigations/ways to tweak the survey (currently 15-20 questions long)
We didn't design a survey to find such a group. So:
  • Should we ask directly?
  • What kind of themes?
  • What kind of question?
Themes and questions
ease with technology
fits all of lifestyle
always connected?

CARAT website; look to the right side of the page for the presentations.

Wow, this was a terrific session!

Comment from audience: Ask instructors about role of technology in teaching and learning. Attitudes and values.

Technorati tags: ELI2007, ELIAnnualMtg2007

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