I started writing this blog post a month ago after attending #MyFest22 sessions that really required a lot of thinking and reflection. Sessions in Creating an Accessible Syllabus, Global OER, Entangled Pedagogy and Liberating Structures may at first seem totally different. But my mind is always trying to find links and common threads. So needless to say, my mind has been peculating.
I think what each of these sessions pointed out was:
- a STUDENT's learning, in fact, has many moving parts in which many people have a say and role
- the learning environment is complex with many moving parts which all people involved in that environment need to understand
- Students as well as Faculty need to have choices as they assess the learning landscape (often immediately either in a classroom or in a synchronous online environment)
- Learning (for me) is a negotiated process and negotiated knowledge. But the outcomes are transactional knowledge, with the ownership determined by the school, students, and educational policies.
The Great Pivot
- student or teacher illness,
- change in classroom,
- change in or lack of access to technology (like the year I lost my online class over a weekend in the middle of the course because of a technology upgrade),
- weather (hurricanes, blizzards, ice jams)
- acknowledge the complexity of the new learning environment
- trouble shoot technology and resource shortcomings
- identify accessibility issues (including mental health, learning and disability, and technology) and creating accommodations to insure student access to learning
- renegotiate learning outcomes and evaluation with administrators, the department, and students, and,
- create new pathways and choices for faculty and students to learn.
- Higher education is made up of people, not only systems. People and learning are messy and can be time consuming. While economists and policy makers refer to people as "human capital" as if they are just another material good in the economic processes of a country, HUMANS can be unpredictable, vary from person to person, and have different understanding, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses.
- It is important to take into consideration the various factors that go into creating a learning environment including resources, time, relationships/communities, trust and emotions, space(s), goals, and purpose.
- There is an element of negotiation when it comes to creating curriculums, instruction, learning environments, syllabi, and evaluations. However, there are also structures that have been developed within which students learn and teachers instruct, administrators and support staff work at creating boundaries for behavior and learning. In other words, universities are dynamic within the structures that have been created to help in learning. These structures may need rebuilding or reconfiguration as environmental factors change, but too much change will make the university unstable.
- For the university to continue as a place of learning, it is important that multiple voices are heard, there is constant self-examination, and the university has enough resources and say to ensure there is appropriate change when needed.