GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Flipping Governance of Technology-Learning Classrooms: Moving Beyond the Credit Hour Classroom and Crediting Learning and Teaching Outside the Classroom
Paper Proposal Text :
In the GCC, many governments have invested heavily in technological equipment (eboards, iPads, laptops, elibraries, online assessments) for the academy from primary through university classrooms, yet it is unclear that the actual pedagogy has changed or that progress towards learning outcomes have improved. Often this is blamed on poor implementation by and training of faculty members. Yet, this is not the primary reason for the failure. In corporate governance, poor governing controls are understood as the primary reasons for poor or unethical performance of employees, yet in academia, rarely are the core governing controls (the policies and pressures that govern daily working life of faculty and staff members) properly analyzed as controls that analyze, reward and demand performance that fits with desired educational outcomes. The traditional metrics evaluating faculty performance and student progress towards education goals, the credit hour, FTE and faculty assessments reward and credit only time served in “lecture hour” classrooms. The failure is not necessarily in training or performance of instructors, but instead in the controls which reward and credit faculty only with classroom time. We have other educational models, such as the Keller Plan, which if adapted to modern technology, can provide a better basis for governing the performance of faculty and assessing student progress towards learning outcomes. However, this involves a massive change in how we govern the classroom.
For instance, consider the introduction of tablet computers (e.g., iPad classrooms). The pedagogical concept is to “flip” the classroom with the introduction of the tablet computers. Flipped classrooms are ones in which students do “homework” in the classroom and “lectures” or other traditional classroom content delivered through these technological devices and is done at home, outside the classroom. Thus homework becomes classwork and classwork becomes homework. This approach of information acquisition outside the classroom and through technology is thought to better suit progressive educational methodology, create a more individualized system and pace of learning, yet still allows for individualized help and finally, uses technology as students already use it in their daily lives outside the classroom. Yet universities, accrediting agencies and governmental agencies struggle to credit and assess learning done outside the traditional classroom, including classroom trips, time spent listening to online lectures, etc. Accrediting agencies have difficulty crediting courses not centered upon “three hours a week” lecture courses. The reason why the teaching does not change is because governance of education has not changed: the rules and crediting of learning can only credit “seat time” in classrooms designed and evaluated for quality by metrics and rules designed for lecture classrooms. Anything outside of the “time served” by either faculty or students is extra, suspicious or of lower quality: this also affects other out-of-classroom learning. Altering the nature of the classroom with enhanced technological delivery requires that academic governance shift priorities and controls governing and managing faculty time and priorities if the “tablet” classrooms are to have the desired effect. In particular, the core metrics governing workload of faculty, FTE and credit hours, are not suited to the progressive pedagogy and encouraging learning with technology outside the classroom. Transforming classrooms with technology will only “flip” a classroom if the governance of classrooms flips first.
If education wishes faculty to flip their classrooms, the controls governing the change must also flip: this will necessarily involve realigning budgets, personnel, workloads, the physical classroom and perhaps even the credit hour system need to change. In short, institutions as a whole must reconceive policies governing teaching for the difference in pedagogy and must flip before we ask faculty to flip the classroom. Rather than crediting and valuing only “time served” in a lecture classroom and requesting that faculty explain, request and justify learning outside the classroom, policies should rather demand explanation and justification for only requiring “time served” in a traditional classroom. The primary flip of governance is to replace the credit hour classroom and related policies (attendance, teaching assessments, etc., with a version of the Keller Plan courses. In the Keller Plan, teaching is primarily credited based on the work of faculty on assessment, tutorials and course content development. Learning is primarily done outside the classroom, and classrooms are for guided tutorials, assessments and progress towards learning. In addition, the Keller Plan, if adapted, can also require out-of-classroom learning by requiring students to attend events, take study tours, etc.
This governing shift involves moving course design from collegial “designed by committee” or simple “purchased” course plans (such as Cambridge IB) to faculty working groups designing courses based on cognitive science research and the needs of local students in ways that explain and justifies to all stakeholders why certain pedagogies or curriculums are chosen over others. This would also demand assessment and course designs that are asked to genuinely and accurately assess local students skills. This will involve faculty developing another set of skills than what they current have, particularly to develop online and interactive material that fits with cognitive and educational design theory. As a result, previous policies assessing the classroom that focus on entertaining in-class delivery will flip to evaluation of development of course materials, individual interaction with students and justifications for assessment methodologies. That is, the policies will flip from evaluating students’ information acquisition to evaluating students’ progress towards intellectual skill development. In the full presentation, an example of how cognitive science research is used to develop Critical Thinking as an iPad course at UAEU will demonstrate this shift in curriculum development.