Faculty Observations

As an LMS support person for faculty (and the occasional student) I’ve worked at a three year community college and now a university. I’ve delivered training at both institutions, and had the opportunity to talk to a lot of faculty. Here’s some interesting observations:

Most faculty have some experience with an LMS by now. They may not know it’s an LMS, but they’ve had some experience somwhere along the line.

Even those who are most resistant to the idea that they should teach somewhat online recognize the power of sharing their content (whether it be Word docs or PowerPoints or something more web friendly). Many are happy to stop here.

Very few faculty members at either institution are making use of the LMS’s capabilities fully. Most are using it as a sharing platform to augment what they do face to face.

Very few faculty feel that sharing their stuff with their students is a bad thing for class attendance. Glad that myth is over.

Faculty at the university are more comfortable and familiar with LMS’s and technology in general, when compared with faculty at the college. This might be due to the nature of college courses and diplomas being geared towards tradespeople, which have been stereotyped as lower class jobs. I’ve seen the literacy rates of incoming students first hand, and they’ve decreased significantly over the last decade. The same is true for university, but university has been traditionally for the upper and middle class. It’s interesting to note how clear the lines are drawn once you’ve worked at both places.

 

3 thoughts on “Faculty Observations

  1. I am with you, in the observations. LMS seems to be”at odds” with Face-to-face teaching, though, with teaching at vocational education and training level, probably because of the level of courses, compared with University courses. As you said:”This might be due to the nature of college courses and diplomas being geared towards tradespeople, which have been stereotyped as lower class jobs. I’ve seen the literacy rates of incoming students first hand, and they’ve decreased significantly over the last decade. The same is true for university, but university has been traditionally for the upper and middle class.” The challenge to most teachers and students seem to lie with the “extra time and efforts” required to keep up with the pace of technology, and to acquire the skills needed to learn “fully on-line”, based on conversation, rather than the learning of facts and content merely. In trade-courses, the emphasis is still on the acquisition of skills, based on good or best practice, not always about creativity or innovation. Besides, LMS is more of a “controlling” of learning, rather than a liberation of learning from many learners’ points of view. For teachers, LMS could be perceived to be a movement towards letting go of the copyrights of their teaching resources for “free” and “open”, and that teachers could no longer require students to attend the face-to-face teaching sessions, meaning a loss of control by the teachers. May be these are the realities and paradoxes of education online, with LMS. I have included a post about Why education is difficult and contentious in my blog. Thanks again for your great insights into these areas, and am delighted to learn and share the significance of LMS in community college and university. I think this is also my first visit to your blog. John

  2. I am with you, in the observations. LMS seems to be”at odds” with Face-to-face teaching, though, with teaching at vocational education and training level, probably because of the level of courses, compared with University courses. As you said:”This might be due to the nature of college courses and diplomas being geared towards tradespeople, which have been stereotyped as lower class jobs. I’ve seen the literacy rates of incoming students first hand, and they’ve decreased significantly over the last decade. The same is true for university, but university has been traditionally for the upper and middle class.” The challenge to most teachers and students seem to lie with the “extra time and efforts” required to keep up with the pace of technology, and to acquire the skills needed to learn “fully on-line”, based on conversation, rather than the learning of facts and content merely. In trade-courses, the emphasis is still on the acquisition of skills, based on good or best practice, not always about creativity or innovation. Besides, LMS is more of a “controlling” of learning, rather than a liberation of learning from many learners’ points of view. For teachers, LMS could be perceived to be a movement towards letting go of the copyrights of their teaching resources for “free” and “open”, and that teachers could no longer require students to attend the face-to-face teaching sessions, meaning a loss of control by the teachers. May be these are the realities and paradoxes of education online, with LMS. I have included a post about Why education is difficult and contentious in my blog. Thanks again for your great insights into these areas, and am delighted to learn and share the significance of LMS in community college and university. I think this is also my first visit to your blog. John
    +1

  3. Thanks John for the kind words. I know we both were participants of CCK08 so I think that we both have an interest in openness and how education might work in that environment. The more I work with LMSs, the more I feel the constraints of the systems. I do see their value as a starting point, just that starting point is so small and individualized in most cases, that collaboration is meaningless in an LMS. I wish that it could be easier, to provide higher ed students the safe area to experiment in but also allow selective access to outside resources easily. And make it easy for faculty to do that. The one big thing that I keep coming back to from CCK08 is the complexity of learning, and the complexity of the Internet, and there must be some parallel that can be leveraged to make both easier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>