Dane Kennedy in Academe Blog
it is corporate culture, a creature that has become all the rage in the business worldâ€”and now, it seems, is burrowing its way into universities. Its professed aim is to instill a sense of shared purpose among employees, but its real objective is far more coercive and insidious.
Our president is rumored to have forked over three to four million dollars to the Disney Institute to improve our culture (he refuses to reveal the cost). A select group of faculty and staff, those identified as opinion leaders, are being offered all-expenses paid trips to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando â€œto gain first-hand insight into Disneyâ€™s approach to culture.â€ For everyone else, the university is conducting culture training workshops that run up to two hours. All staff and managers are required to attend. Faculty are strongly â€œencouragedâ€ to participate, and some contract faculty, who have little job security, evidently have been compelled to do so.
Sounds far too familiar. Admin looking for another way to control the university space. Sell â€˜em cartoons.
Not sure whoâ€™s the bigger looser here: the admin who bought the goop from disney, the fac and staff at the university, or the students and parents who foot the bill for bilge water.
The result is predictable – as Kennedy observes: itâ€™s Mickey Mouse. The admin plays Goofy.
Timid university administrators bow to bullying system admins, aggressive accreditation institutions, and a political use of FERPA by local IT admins to keep the adjuncts in their assigned place and their LMS contracts sacrosanct.
The problem: mandatory use of a system-sanctioned LMS.
The solution: regaining the discussion, invoking standards of teaching.
The most important standard I would bring to any discussion about what technology should be employed on campus and the faculty role in how it should be employed is that faculty deserve the same prerogatives when they use an online tool as they do when they are teaching in an entirely conventional face-to-face classroom. To suggest anything else defeats the purpose of moving any part of a class online in the first place.
The second standard I would bring to any discussion of how technology like the LMS should be employed on campus is that faculty should be offered as many technological choices as possible and that they should be the ones who make the final decision about which ones they use.
The final standard I would bring to a discussion of the LMS is that the result should be as close to the open Internet as humanly possible. That means faculty have to be able to employ tools that exist entirely outside their LMS if they so choose, like Slack or Hypothes.is, the open source web annotation program.
college campuses are the kinds of places that are supposed to be on the cutting edge of technology since they have so many smart people on them. Treat those smart people like the average corporate peon when it comes to how they teach â€“ the action at the center of their job descriptions â€“ and you are going to have a lot of very unhappy smart people on your hands.