Managing Technology in Higher Education: A Discussion Undiscussed #change11

This week’s #change11 MOOC features Tony Bates, who started the session off with a rare Sunday synchronous session on the topic of Managing technology to transform teaching, based on his book Managing Technology in Higher Education: Strategies for Transforming Teaching and Learning. I enjoyed the live session of this, even though I missed the first half of it due to login issues with the required Java environment that was not included in my copy of Mac Lion.

While I did not feel I have much to talk about in this area (quite interesting, but somehow I need more prompts), I visited Tony’s website for the book (as he suggested in his week’s intro) and then I saw it–he invited us to discuss the topic on his book’s built-in forum. The site is rather flashy, nicely built and designed (publishers do nice work to help promote and publicize books, as well as savvy authors who want to get their message out), and sure enough, there were loads of discussion questions, 34 of them to be precise. What I found most interesting is that, at the time of this post here, there were only 2 replies. Yes, that’s it–2.

Thinking about all the time and energy it took to install and design and organize the forum, as well as the resources spent on identifying those 34 questions, done 4-7 months ago(once again, at the time of this post), there were only 2 replies.

34 questions, 4-7 months old, and 2 replies.

I won’t even begin counting the nested Scenarios in the Forums (on the bottom of the same page).

The question I have, is why? Why so little discussion on something seemingly so valuable? Even after talking about this on the live #change11 session (with thousands of people registered and others informally participating), with the promotion the authors are surely doing, and even with those finding this through other means, why so little discussion?

I find the topic interesting. The authors are engaging. What I have read about the text is lively, valuable, and forward-thinking. I have had some relationship with higher education for years. I like technology in HE. I even like to read and discuss all of this, so I know I am not alone.

The question is still why? Do people not want to talk about this? Perhaps they think it may not affect change? Perhaps people are overworked and it is a time issue? Perhaps people are reacting to it in their own way (as I am with this blog post)?

I am not sure, but I think that it may be useful to consider this, as the implications for a world ever more in need of getting the changes needed to this higher education behemoth right is beyond compare with many social issues. With so much to discuss and explore and develop, why so little discussion about it (at least here)?

10 thoughts on “Managing Technology in Higher Education: A Discussion Undiscussed #change11

  1. Hi Jeff,

    What occurs to me about your question ‘Why?’ is ‘Is it the message or the medium?’. I too have found the questions Tony raises interesting. However, I’m reluctant to engage on a medium hosted by the publisher – I’d much perfer to do so in a more open environment. I think the publisher is perhaps missing the mark my creating such a forum, possibly a few years ago it might have been more relevant to do so, but I think that time might have passed.

    Mark

  2. Thanks, JeffreyI love a mystery.

    I have two theories.

    First, if others like me click the link in the list of features and find that it’s broken, then we may not bother to check out the menu at the top of the page.

    And, I’ve taught with Jossey-Bass texts and they do an elaborate job with Web-based activities to accompany the book. It just looks like a site created for a “captive audience” to me. We free agents seem to find the “fill-in-the-blanks” approach a turn-off. I don’t think we are the audience.

    Will be interesting to check back in after a few semesters to see if professors who adopted the book are having their students work through the forum and scenarios.

    1. @Cris-

      Interesting thoughts. While this did appear a publisher-supported site, I think it still had a polished look to it. Ironically, the questions have been there for some time, without usage.

      I am wondering how people would know about their being there, however. I also wonder if other texts that have supportive websites suffers from this same experience?

      Jeffrey

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