I’m not thinking of suspicious packages.
Rather, I’m thinking about the standards and ethics of our profession: folks who support teaching and learning with technology.
In that regard, I saw several things at ELI 2014 which made me want to say something, and that something is basically "What goes on here? What do we as a profession do? And why can we not have a connected discussion about that?
Okay. People make mistakes. Sure.
But this presentation pretended to give a ‘scientific’ basis to teaching and learning.
Should conference presentations perhaps be required to use footnotes?
One writing teacher I know asks this of undergraduates. Students must give a handout that includes:
(1) a short prose summary and
(2) a list of references.
Problem solved? Perhaps. But that wasn’t the only conspicuous absence of professional standards on display.
This was an argument in a vacuum.
If we wouldn’t permit undergrads to do it, should we do it ourselves?
This lead me to a fear, which I now articulate. (See something, say something.)
Think about any other discipline. History. Physics. Kinesiology.
Why should learning technology not be the same?
Nor are such issues just about evidence.
Of course, if there is no goal, there can be no measuring. (Measure what?)
In this case I actually asked during the Q&A if there was any theory or concept or idea of learning driving the process. (I couldn’t ask about institutional goals, as the presenters had basically said “The Provost wanted it,” and it was clear no one after that point had even thought to tack on a goal as a fig leaf.)
The answer was: no, we don’t have instructional designers; we have Ph.D.’s. As if planning learning intentionally and being a scholar are somehow mutually exclusive.
It’s easy to understand this. In higher ed, the disciplines are the guardians of standards of knowledge.
But it’s shocking to think that (for some at least) this excludes any role for thinking about teaching and learning––or even planning in its most basic sense.
All of which brought me to the terrible near-existential recognition of a central absence.
Of course, some goals are easy to pick out: convenience, efficiency and effectiveness.
But do we have a clear picture of the whole shape of such goals?
I fear not.
When I see something, I can say something.
But that’s different from knowing the answers.
Ed,You hit two of my 4 E's. Efficiency and effectiveness. I also add two more Effect - the impact of a service as to both its reach (number of people touched) and level (at or above anticipated outcomes) and equity - is the value added fairly distributed across the audience.--Gary