‘Rebooting the Academy’ profiles innovators in higher education

by Julie Dodd

Rebooting the AcademyWhat are some of the trends in higher education and how are those affecting teaching, learning and jobs in higher education?

We’re going to discuss those issues in Mass Communication Teaching on Monday, Sept. 8, when we talk about “Rebooting the Academy.”

This was The Chronicle of Higher Education’s first e-book. Published in 2012, “Rebooting the Academy: 12 Tech Innovators Who Are Transforming Campuses” is a collection of profiles of innovators in higher ed — very few of whom are faculty members.

I’ve found it interesting to revisit the book this fall, seeing how those innovations are playing out two years later. I’m interested in hearing what the class considers to be the most exciting or most concerning developments, as they plan for careers in higher education.

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5 advantages and 5 disadvantages of technology in higher education

by Ronen Shay
PhD student, University of Florida

rebootEach student in our Mass Communication Teaching course was asked to give a one-minute presentation about a specific topic or innovator from the text, “Rebooting the Academy: 12 Tech Innovators who are Transforming Campuses.”

While one minute is not generally conducive to more than an explanation of the key points of a specific innovator the topic, “What are the overall advantages and disadvantages of technology in higher education,” lends itself to a David Letterman Top 10 list (or in this case 2x Top 5 lists).

So without further ado the…

Top 5 Disadvantages of Using Technology in Higher Education:

5) Many professors will require re-training in how to apply technology.
4) Intellectual property ownership is difficult to protect, piracy is inevitable.
3) Has the potential to decrease the revenues brick and mortar institutions generate.
2) Difficult to regulate, and therefore potential for corruption is high.
1) Potential to diminish the overall value and experience of an in-person education.

Top 5 Advantages of Using Technology in Higher Education:

5) New methods for teaching and organizing material.
4) Deregulation of transfer credits and other student restricting regulations.
3) Potential for lower textbook prices.
2) Potential for lower tuition prices.
1) Increased accessibility to higher education.

‘Rebooting the Academy’ — How could innovations impact you teaching in higher education?

I hope that reading “Rebooting the academy: 12 tech innovators who are transforming campuses” is encouraging you to think about some of the traditional approaches of higher education and how some of those approaches could/should be changed.

I’m asking you to write a five-page paper responding to the book as a graduate student who is considering a career teaching in higher education (syllabus, p. 4). You’re writing your response to me but can consider your audience to be both graduate students planning a career in high education and those teaching in higher education. So we have a level of awareness about higher education teaching, learning, policies and politics.

As you read the book, you’ll see that the 12 innovators discuss a wide range of higher education issues. Some of those topics include:

  • Rethinking the traditional 50-minute teaching format to becoming 10-minute video instruction on a specific topic.
  • Making textbooks more affordable by having universities work out purchasing contracts for digital books.
  • Making college more affordable with online courses
  • Incorporating the technology students have (cellphones) into teaching and learning
  • Changing the academic publication cycle

You may want to comment on the book overall or selected articles. Writing in first person is appropriate. Remember that the emphasis is to be on the book itself. Your written response should not become your personal commentary on higher education.

One possible approach for your response paper is to look at the book from the perspective of our conversation in class about goals for the course. Many of the topics raised in our class discussion are addressed by the “Rebooting” innovators. How would their innovations affect you as a graduate teaching assistant and/or a college faculty member?

Here is the list of the topics you identified that you considered important issues for the discussion of teaching and learning:

  • Integrating technology use
  • Promoting professional development
  • Dealing with diversity
  • Teaching differences between lecture and hands-on teaching
  • Teaching compensation
  • Classroom management – Controlling your classroom
  • Pacing of instruction – Realizing that students may be learning at different rates.
  • How flexible should teachers be – responding to student issues
  • Evaluation – Different ways to evaluate student performance
  • Keeping the class current – especially as assigned texts may not be up to date
  • Teaching outside of your specialty
  • How to approach difficult content
  • How to deal with different classroom environments
  • How to develop curriculum
  • How to manage classroom expectations
  • How to grade fairly – and be able to finish on time
  • Engaging students in class
  • Engaging student in critical thinking
  • Bringing technology to the classroom
  • Keeping the classroom fresh
  • Balancing goals of curriculum with student needs and interests

In our next class meeting, each of you will be a one-minuter presenter on one of the “Rebooting” innovators. Your objectives are to provide the class with a reminder of the person and what his/her innovation is and then to pose a question to start a discussion of the implications of the innovation for teaching in higher education.