These 2 items have been passing around this week in NJIT mail amongst the Distance Learning Advisory committee and warrant further reading and discussion - maybe even your comments at the bottom.
Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University in the interview published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on online learning.
Let's start with the nightmare scenarios, because it's not all good news. What IT issue keeps you up at night? What is your biggest concern when it comes to technology?
Crow: What worries me most is the lack of congruence between the speed with which technology is advancing and the speed with which academe is able to advance. We're not transforming our methodological approaches fast enough. We're still stuck in what I call the "farmer schedule" of 15-week semesters. We have a vision, largely historical, of the "sage on the stage" teaching the class when, in fact, technology offers us opportunities to accelerate and diversify learning, to make learning more of a lifelong process, to change the learning environment significantly. There is a lack of compatibility between pedagogical evolution and technological evolution.
The more a student uses a CMS, the more she or he appears to like it. P. 57
Laptops are emerging as the platform of choice. 76.7 percent of freshmen respondents own a laptop computer. Ownership of laptops rose by 26.7 percent since 2005. p. 35
Most respondents (70.3 percent) never bring their laptops to class, including 16.2 percent of students who said they are required to do so. P. 57
Nearly two-thirds (64.4 percent) of respondents agree or strongly agree that IT has improved their learning, while just under 8 percent agree or strongly disagree. P. 73
Students who report having a positive experience with course management systems agree more with positive statements about academic outcomes than those who report a negative experience with course management systems. P. 73
Older students, business majors, and engineering students are more positive than others about ITâ€™s impact on their academic experience. P. 73 and P. 83
Overall, 51.4 percent of respondents rated convenience as the dominant benefit of IT. Nearly one respondent in seven (14.5 percent) rated improved learning as ITâ€™s paramount benefit. P. 82
Fully 27 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement â€œMy school needs to give me more training on the IT that I am required to use in my courses.â€ Since this is just student perceptions, it is likely that far more of the students have inadequate IT knowledge. Bill, youâ€™re probably correct that there needs to be an IT (Information Technology) skills proficiency exam as well as an IL (Information literacy) proficiency exam. Sadly, we certainly can not depend on nearly all of the freshmen and transfer students having these basic skills. P. 36
Also interesting from the summary is page 7 which states the need for further training of instructors in the use of technology. One student comment: "...to move forward in information technology requires training the professors. More than half of the technology that is currently available for use is not even touched. Most professors have no idea how to work things on a simple level."
As well, the lament of students about the assumption that they are proficient in the use of IT. "Profs never teach us to use IT, they just assume we know how and require us to use it, which results in self-teaching, and only enough to get by. I wish they would teach us to use the programs they require us to use (such as Excel and PowerPoint)"