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diigo learning PhD research

Posted to Diigo 06/15/2012

    • we have only begun to understand the ways that the “social life of information” and the social construction of knowledge can reshape the ways we create learning experiences in the formal college curriculum
    • we define social pedagogies as design approaches for teaching and learning that engage students with what we might call an “authentic audience” (other than the teacher), where the representation of knowledge for an audience is absolutely central to the construction of knowledge in a course
    • social pedagogies strive to build a sense of intellectual community within the classroom and frequently connect students to communities outside the classroom
    • social pedagogies are particularly effective at developing traits of  “adaptive expertise,” which include the ability of the learner to use knowledge flexibly and fluently, to evaluate, filter and distill knowledge for effect, to translate knowledge to new situations, and to understand the limits and assumptions of one’s knowledge.
    • Equally as important is the cultivation of certain attitudes or dispositions characteristic of adaptive experts, including the ability to work with uncertainty, adapt to ambiguity or even failure, and to feel increasingly comfortable working at the edges of one’s competence
    • These kinds of adaptive traits—however valued they may be in the academy in the abstract—are often invisible and elusive in the course design and assessment process.  Designing a course that promotes, supports, and perhaps even evaluates these kinds of traits students implies that they have to be ways to make these effects visible—through some form of communication
    • Acts of representation are not merely vehicles to convey knowledge; they shape the very act of knowing
    • One of the salient research areas for higher education (and indeed other settings, such as organizational learning) is how to harness the effectiveness of informal learning in the formal curriculum.
    • Our understanding of learning has expanded at a rate that has far outpaced our conceptions of teaching. A growing appreciation for the porous boundaries between the classroom and life experience, along with the power of social learning, authentic audiences, and integrative contexts, has created not only promising changes in learning but also disruptive moments in teaching.
    • Our understanding of learning has expanded at a rate that has far outpaced our conceptions of teaching.
    • Christensen coined the phrase disruptive innovation to refer to a process “by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market,’ eventually displacing established competitors.”
    • We might say that the formal curriculum is being pressured from two sides. On the one side is a growing body of data about the power of experiential learning in the co‑curriculum; and on the other side is the world of informal learning and the participatory culture of the Internet. Both of those pressures are reframing what we think of as the formal curriculum.
    • These pressures are disruptive because to this point we have funded and structured our institutions as if the formal curriculum were the center of learning
    • All of us in higher education need to ask ourselves: Can we continue to operate on the assumption that the formal curriculum is the center of the undergraduate experience?
    • higher education was in a powerful transition, moving from an instructional paradigm to a learning paradigm—from offering information to designing learning experiences, from thinking about inputs to focusing on outputs, from being an aggregation of separate activities to becoming an integrated design
    • our understanding of learning is expanding in ways that are at least partially incompatible with the structures of higher education institutions
    • these pressures for accountability are making us simultaneously more thoughtful and more limited in what we count as learning
    • The question that campus leaders need to address is how to reinvent a curriculum that lives in this new space
    • Technologies can play a key role here as new digital, learning, and analytics tools now make it possible to replicate some features of high‑impact activity inside classrooms, whether through the design of inquiry-based learning or through the ability to access and manipulate data, mount simulations, leverage “the crowd” for collaboration and social learning, or redesign when and how students can engage course content. Indeed, one of the most powerful aspects of today’s technologies is that many of the high‑impact features that used to be possible only in small classes can now be experienced not only at a larger scale but, in some cases, to better effect at larger scale.
    • A second response to the location problem of high-impact practices is to design for greater fluidity and connection between the formal curriculum and the experiential co-curriculum. An example is the use of e-portfolios, which allow students to organize learning around the learner rather than around courses or the curriculum.
    • “Drawing on the power of multimedia and personal narrative, recursive use of ePortfolio prompts students to expand their focus from individual courses to a broader educational process.”
    • The continued growth of e-portfolios across higher education reveals a restless search for ways to find coherence that transcends courses and the formal curriculum
    • A second pressure on the formal curriculum is the participatory culture of the web and the informal learning that it cultivates.
    • They looked at a range of web cultures, or participatory cultures, including Wikipedia, gaming environments, and grassroots organizations. They compiled a list of what they considered to be the shared and salient features of these powerful web-based communities:

      • Low barriers to entry
      • Strong support for sharing one’s contributions
      • Informal mentorship, from experienced to novice
      • A sense of connection to each other
      • A sense of ownership in what is being created
      • A strong collective sense that something is at stake
  • How many college classrooms or course experiences include this set of features? In how many courses do students feel a sense of community, a sense of mentorship, a sense of collective investment, a sense that what is being created matters?
  • Maybe that’s the intended role of the formal curriculum: to prepare students to have integrative experiences elsewhere
  • the typical school curriculum is built from content (“learning about”) leading to practice (“learning to be”), where the vast majority of useful knowledge is to be found. In a typical formal curriculum, students are first packed with knowledge, and if they stick with something long enough (i.e., major in a discipline), they eventually get to the point of engaging in practice. Brown argues that people instead learn best by “practicing the content.” That is, we start in practice, and practice drives us to content. Or, more likely, the optimal way to learn is reciprocally or spirally between practice and content.
  • Brown’s formulation echoes the growing body of inductive and inquiry-based learning research that has convincingly demonstrated increased learning gains, in certain well-designed conditions, when students are first “presented with a challenge and then learn what they need to know to address the challenge.”
  • how do we reverse the flow, or flip the curriculum, to ensure that practice is emphasized at least as early in the curriculum as content? How can students “learn to be,” through both the formal and the experiential curriculum?
  • In the learning paradigm, we are focusing not on the expert’s products but, rather, on the expert’s practice.
  • we help faculty analyze their teaching by slowing down and thinking about what it is that a student needs to do well in order to be successful with complex tasks
  • Which department is responsible for teaching students how to speak from a position of authority? Where do we find evidence of someone learning to speak from a position of authority? Which assessment rubric do we use for that? Critical thinking? Oral and written communication? Integrative learning? Lifelong learning? Of course, when faculty speak of “authority,” they mean not just volume, but the confidence that comes from critical thought and depth. Learning to “speak from a position of authority” is an idea rooted in expert practice. It is no more a “soft skill” than are the other dimensions of learning that we are coming to value explicitly and systematically as outcomes of higher education—dimensions such as making discerning judgments based on practical reasoning, acting reflectively, taking risks, engaging in civil if difficult discourse, and proceeding with confidence in the face of uncertainty.
  • Designing backward from those kinds of outcomes, we are compelled to imagine ways to ask students, early and often, to engage in the practice of thinking in a given domain, often in the context of messy problems.
  • What is the relationship between the intermediate activity and the stages of intellectual development or the constituent skills and dispositions of a discipline? What if the activities enabled by social media tools are key to helping students learn how to speak with authority?
  • If our concept of learning has outstripped our notion of teaching, how can we expand our notion of teaching—particularly from the perspective of instructional support and innovation?
  • In the traditional model of course design, a well-meaning instructor seeking to make a change in a course talks separately with the teaching center staff, with the technology staff, with the librarians, and with the writing center folks. Then, when the course is implemented, the instructor alone deals with the students in the course—except that the students are often going back for help with assignments to the technology staff, to the librarians, and to the writing center folks (although usually different people who know nothing of the instructor’s original intent). So they are completing the cycle, but in a completely disconnected way. Iannuzzi’s team‑based design thinks about all of these players from the beginning. One of the first changes in this model is that the instructor is no longer at the center. Instead, the course and student learning are at the center, surrounded by all of these other players at the table.
  • A key aspect of the team-based design is the move beyond individualistic approaches to course innovation. In higher education, we have long invested in the notion that the way to innovate is by converting faculty. This move represents a shift in strategy: instead of trying to change faculty so that they might change their courses, this model focuses on changing course structures so that faculty will be empowered and supported in an expanded approach to teaching as a result of teaching these courses.
  • we need to move beyond our old assumptions that it is primarily the students’ responsibility to integrate all the disparate parts of an undergraduate education. We must fully grasp that students will learn to integrate deeply and meaningfully only insofar as we design a curriculum that cultivates that; and designing such a curriculum requires that we similarly plan, strategize and execute integratively across the boundaries within our institutions.
  • we need to think more about how to move beyond the individualistic faculty change model. We need to get involved in team-design and implementation models on our campuses, and we need to consider that doing so could fundamentally change the ways that the burdens of innovation are often placed solely on the shoulders of faculty (whose lives are largely already overdetermined) as well as how certain academic support staff (e.g., IT organizations, student affairs, librarians) think of their professional identities and their engagement with the “curriculum.”
    • Thomson Reuters assigns most journals a yearly Impact Factor (IF), which is defined as the mean citation rate during that year of the papers published in that journal during the previous 2 years.
    • Jobs, grants, prestige, and career advancement are all partially based on an admittedly flawed concept
    • Impact factors were developed in the early 20th century to help American university libraries with their journal purchasing decisions. As intended, IFs deeply affected the journal circulation and availability
    • Until about 20 years ago, printed, physical journals were the main way in which scientific communication was disseminated
    • Now we conduct electronic literature searchers on specific subjects, using keywords, author names, and citation trees. As long as the papers are available digitally, they can be downloaded and read individually, regardless of the journal whence they came, or the journal’s IF.
    • This change in our reading patterns whereby papers are no longer bound to their respective journals led us to predict that in the past 20 years the relationship between IF and papers’ citation rates had to be weakening.
    • we found that until 1990, of all papers, the proportion of top (i.e., most cited) papers published in the top (i.e., highest IF) journals had been increasing. So, the top journals were becoming the exclusive depositories of the most cited research. However, since 1991 the pattern has been the exact opposite. Among top papers, the proportion NOT published in top journals was decreasing, but now it is increasing. Hence, the best (i.e., most cited) work now comes from increasingly diverse sources, irrespective of the journals’ IFs.
    • in their effort to attract high-quality papers, journals might have to shift their attention away from their IFs and instead focus on other issues, such as increasing online availability, decreasing publication costs while improving post-acceptance production assistance, and ensuring a fast, fair and professional review process.
    • As the relation between IF and paper quality continues to weaken, such simplistic cash-per-paper practices bases on journal IFs will likely be abandoned.
    • knowing that their papers will stand on their own might also encourage researchers to abandon their fixation on high IF journals. Journals with established reputations might remain preferable for a while, but in general, the incentive to publish exclusively in high IF journals will diminish. Science will become more democratic; a larger number of editors and reviewers will decide what gets published, and the scientific community at large will decide which papers get cited, independently of journal IFs.

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