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: a rite of passage by which a new person or practices become more deeply integrated with a particular community, and the act of steppingup (as in the phrase "to take initiative") that stands in contrast to a passive followermode in which you only do as you're told. In the paper we're about to discuss, both meanings are active simultaneously; think of it as a case study we'll be unpacking both themes from. This is a story about people who, through taking initiative within a design team, found themselves more deeply initiated into communities they had considered themselves outsiders from before, and found their domains more coupled with each other than they had previously thought. The paper tells the tale of students in a class specifically, a spring 2001 projectbased Master's course in Educational Technology in which six tenured faculty members enrolled as "students." (To distinguish the group of studentfaculty from the instructors of the EdTech class itself, I'll call the first group "faculty" and the second group "course instructors.") Each faculty member was assigned to a team with 34 Master's students, and the team's course project was to design the online course the faculty member would be teaching in the next year. The paper Let's take a look at the first part of the abstract of With a Little Help From Your Students: A New Model for Faculty Development and Online Course Design by Matthew J. Koehler, Punyashloke Mishra, Kathryn Hershey, and Lisa Peruski. "Institutions of higher education are faced with the challenge of developing faculty who are ready, willing, and able to teach online. Standard approaches towards faculty development often miss the dynamic and complex relationship between content, pedagogy, and technology. Our approach has faculty members and graduate students participate in a unique seminar where they work collaboratively to design online courses."1 Dual themes of initiation As the faculty and students move through the process of course design, we can see both our themes unfold throughout the paper. Some things to think about as we go along: The Rite of Passage theme happens to people. It happens to the faculty as they turn into
1 The remainder of the abstract: We describe our "learning by design" approach and present evidence of how this approach respects the realities and complexities of teaching online. We use evidence from multiple sources (interviews, surveys, observations, and artifacts developed) to develop a model of online teaching that posits successful courses require the careful integration of three components that coconstrain each other: content, pedagogy, and technology.
Design as Initiation
"faculty who can teach courses online," and the students, who are transitioning from students of educational technology to professionals who create technologyenabled learning environments. Are these accurate depictions of the identities they are transitioning from and to? What characteristics (not simply titles) differentiate the people in the "transition from" stage from the "transitionto" stage what do they do differently, how do they act differently? The Stepping Up theme occurs over time, as each person on the team ceases to simply follow instructions and instead takes on leadership roles in some way, climbing up the ladder of Bloom's taxonomy. When do more steppingup actions take place? What affects the rate of steppingup? What dynamics does steppingup affect in turn? Background on the problem The problem tackled by this case study is straightforward: we need more faculty who can teach online courses. Reluctant faculty members perceive a "...separation between pedagogy and technology. Similary to Snow's idea of two cultures, teachers and techies live in different worlds, ignoring each other's existence as much as possible... Many faculty do not find value in learning the details of technology, believing that it only takes time (a limited resource) away from thinking about pedagogy and the other responsibilities they have, and that they may care more about." Other solutions have fallen short. Workshops and tutorials "treat technology as being separate from pedagogy and assume that once an instructor learns a particular piece of technology they will effortlessly figure out ways of using it in their teaching," and assume "...the content is irrelevant to the course design." A technical support group of experts "always available to assist faculty in times of need" allows people to work within their areas of expertise, but the separation of roles also leads to the technical support group producing "widgets" that the faculty are then constrained to using the technology and pedagogy are not designed with each other in mind. What would a successful solution look like? • It would give faculty a chance to "...gain a knowledge of what goes on inside that black box... how course content and pedagogical representations coconstrain technology and vice versa." It would allow faculty members to "bring their personality, their individuality to the course, its presentation, and its execution" instead of taking the "onesizefitsall approach towards course development." Instead, it would recognize that "there is no single technological solution that applies for every teacher, every course, or every view of teaching."
This paper's view of design The authors do explicity discuss their view of design, which informs the entire case study from the assumptions about success it makes to the way the authors analyzed the data (course creation artifacts from teams through the semester, an endofterm email survey, interviews with the participating faculty, etc). "...we offer design as being a process that is spontaneous, unpredictable, messy,
creative, and hard to define. It is a dialogue between constraints and tradeoffs. It is a process that offer easy solutions. the best one can hope for is... satisficing. Design (like teaching) is as much an art as it is a science." A lot of threads and thoughts about design are interwoven through the paper. After all, this is a paper about designing a course where teams designed courses... and some of those courses were teacher training classes, making this a course designed for people to design courses on how teachers (who design courses) can better design their courses! It... gets complicated. So, what happened? Facultystudent teams in the course seemed to progress through stages of collaboration. Getting started: wrestling with how to begin, both in terms of gelling as a design team and in deciding "what an online class should be." None of the participants had models to draw upon for this new experience: in a mixed facultystudent team, was the faculty member supposed to "lead"? How do you conceptualize an online class if you've never taken or taught one before? The feeling of being at an impasse continued until teams began brainstorming and prototyping (almost out of desperation, one imagines while reading the paper). Once artifacts appeared, teams had something concrete to discuss and improve. Solidifying roles and grapping with the issues: As artifact development progressed, team members started to assume roles. Each participant brought an unique contribution and became a leader in "their domain." For example, one team had a student assuming the role of "technology expert," while another whose studies focused on student affairs became interested in communitybuilding in the online class and came up with exercises and discussion structures to faciliate exactly that. Roles were not assigned; rather, participants "fell into" roles as time went on. The paper notes that "it was at this stage, where the group had become comfortable with each other, and in their respective roles, that the discussions began to center around issues to the relationship between content, technology, and pedagogy." They discovered that changing one necessarily changed constraints around the others, and began to develop a feel for how the three components interacted and therefore how they needed to communicate across their respective domains of expertise to coordinate the intricate balance of the evolving design. Bringing it all together: Discussions shifted from the external website navigation and skin design, course content to underlying expectations for the students and faculty who would participate in the online course being designed. Teams "...thoughtfully considered how the technology could be leveraged to accomplish higherorder learning goals... became sensitive to the idea that the technology was not general purpose or neutral, but rather, aspects of course content, and the way [the faculty member] wanted to teach was inticrately connected to what technology they would use and how they would use it." What were the outcomes? By the end of the semester, attitudes had shifted. The faculty member who stated that "I don't feel like I want to know that [technical stuff of the computer], or need to know that...
you know, other people can do that..." had become an active online teacher, manipulating the content independently without external technical assistance. She – and the other participating faculty – felt like they had been initiated into the ranks of online teachers. The graduate students reported the course as one of the best they had ever taken. As the authors put it: "Too often, graduate students' experiences with their professors seem opaque they only get to see final products of their thought processes (e.g., research papers, courses they take, etc.). By working with expert educators, they interacted with ideas in ways that are seldom allowed they worked over a whole semester with these ideas, got to influence the experts' ideas, and apply them to a real problem." Similarly, the experiences of students became less opaque to the faculty, as the graduate students were able to give feedback on how prospective course participants might respond to certain aspects of a course design. Instead of simply sitting back and responding to faculty ideas, these students became more confident and practiced in initiating action, leadership, and ideas. The authentic, situated nature of technology learning in the course also deserves mention. "In more traditional technology courses, students explicitly learn target technologies as part of the course. In contrast, the design approach made learning about technology implicit students learned about technologies as they needed to in order to fulfill some desired feature of the course they were designing... exposed to a range of different technologies and managed to focus their attention on particular technologies that were most appropriate for the task at hand." How might we apply these ideas? They can help us understand the factors of what doesn't motivate faculty to change. • That's not my world; the things I care about are here, unaffected by the stuff over there. This is a lack of initiative (to explore an unfamiliar domain) caused by a lack of initiation. When faculty can think oh, I've never learned that stuff, and I have never needed to my training and career haven't suffered, they are under the assumption that the disciplinary (and academic) community they have been initiated into does not integrate that computer stuff into it; to belong to one is necessarily to reject the other. A lack of opinion leaders and role models. When faculty don't see people they identify with as initating the sort of changes they are being asked to make, they are reluctant to try it themselves. Preconceived attitudes about technology (as well as the social roles surrounding the use of technology).
They can also help us understand what does motivate faculty. I mean, why would these busy academics have given up a chunk of their semester to enroll in a class? In the words of one faculty participant, the motivation for participation was to give herself "...the luxury of thinking critically about teaching in this format and in any other format." Course design activities often fall prey to the time crunch faculty perpetually work under, and the course represented an opportunity to actively counteract that pattern. It seems that participating faculty recognized that "...like most experts, firmly established work activities were characterized by automatic routines and tacit knowledge and practices. However,
introducing a new context... challenged faculty to establish new ways of thinking about course design." In other words, presenting the course as an opportunity to have protected time, space, and resources to develop the teaching they loved. The authors of the paper spoke to the faculty by saying that of course, you are excellent teachers, we should give you opportunities to hone your practice as opposed to the deficiency model of you don't know enough about technology! And the faculty seemed to respond. "...this shift [in attitude about technology at the end of the semester] came about not due to any newfound love of technology but rather because a good teacher wanted to do the best by her students and realized that separating technology fron content and pedagogy would be inappropriate. Technology, for [the faculty member], was no longer Somebody Else's Problem it was something that she had to deal with if she wanted to be a good teacher in this new medium... a better teacher more sensitive to the nuances, complexities, and possibilities of teaching and learning with technology."
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