Most boards of trustees of higher education institutions use shared governance as the cornerstone of their work. However, shared governance can be challenging to put into practice because the stakeholders may not understand what shared governance means or what their role is in the process. Faculty and trustees have unique perspectives on shared governance and are often not on the same page (Bahls, 2014; J.M. Fohr, personal communication, May 28, 2020). Some trustees may have served on other boards that held a very different view of shared governance from their current board affiliation. Many trustees do not have any formal higher education administration experience. Faculty may not understand how shared governance was designed to work at their institution. All stakeholders must understand the specific meaning of shared governance and their role in the process for the board to be successful.
The first step in developing a successfully shared governance process is to make sure the board members, administrators, and faculty understand what shared governance is and their expectations for the process to work (Bahls, 2014). All stakeholders need to be on the same page for shared governance to occur. Defining what shared governance means should be part of every onboarding process for new board members. In addition, faculty and the institution's leadership need to have the same definition of shared governance as the board to work together successfully.
Trustees should understand the board and administration's different roles in shared governance (Association of Governing Boards and Colleges (ABG), n.d.). The different roles should be clearly defined to determine how the board, faculty, and administration can achieve a common goal. Each stakeholder has different perspectives that need to be respected and given consideration in the decision-making process. In a perfect world, the board provides fiduciary oversight for the institution, the president's primary responsibility is to manage the institution, and the faculty oversees academic programs. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and is usually a result of the stakeholders not understanding what shared governance means and their role in the process.
Colleges and universities that have a successful process for shared governance perform much better during times of extreme change than other institutions (Hass, 2020). Successful shared governance includes maintaining open lines of communication, consulting stakeholders with the appropriate expertise in the decision process, and being transparent in sharing information. The administration needs to be open and honest about the financial state of the institution. Diversity of thought and perspective also needs to be part of the process to ensure that all stakeholders feel their voices have been heard. This type of shared governance builds trust in the decision-making process and makes solutions more thoughtful, and the implementation process works faster (Bahls, 2014).
One of the ten habits of highly effective boards includes establishing a strong governance committee to ensure the board is effective (Legon, 2014). This committee is critical to board structure and accountability, especially for private institutions. Part of the committee's responsibilities should be to ensure the board recruits and appoints new trustees with an eye for experience and expertise to enhance the board's ability to perform. Higher education is changing rapidly due to the pandemic, and trustees must have the knowledge and expertise to address the critical issues facing higher education. This committee is an excellent tool to use to monitor and improve board performance.
The ABG also suggests that boards develop a renewed commitment to shared governance (ABG, n.d.). All stakeholders must be part of the governance process to establish a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Boards should consistently assess their performance by engaging all stakeholders for feedback. Soliciting feedback can be done through the governance committee previously mentioned and conducting surveys or workshops with the administration, faculty, and the board. This collaborative assessment will ensure that all stakeholders understand what shared governance is and their role in the process. The evaluation is also an opportunity for critical issues to be addressed and to build trust between all stakeholders. Faculty need to know their voices are being heard, and the administration and the board support them.
Universities must determine how they will bring faculty, staff, and students back to campus safely in the Fall due to the pandemic. This post will make the case for a vaccine mandate for everyone returning to campus.
Analysis and Assumptions
In March 2020, many higher education institutions sent students home and moved their courses online or to a hybrid of online and in-person learning because of COVID-19 (Hodges et al., 2020). This disruption in learning drastically impacted college admissions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of October 2020, just over 60% of high school graduates from the class of 2020 were enrolled in colleges or universities. This is the smallest share of high school graduates enrolling in college since 2001 and down four and a half percent from 2019. The gender gap also widened in 2020 for college students. The enrollment of male students was 59%, the lowest rate since 1993. Women did not fare much better, with an enrollment rate of 66%, the lowest since 2006 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021).
The coronavirus has had a devastating economic impact on families. The high cost of a college education combined with the loss of household income during the pandemic has forced students to postpone or altogether abandon college enrollment. The economic impact is much higher for students of color, with 60 percent of Black and 59 percent of Hispanic juniors and seniors in college reporting that Covid affected their ability to pay. Only 45 percent of white teenagers said Covid impacted their ability to pay (Dickler, 2021). Many students did not feel virtual classes were worth the tuition costs. This feeling was made clear through the numerous student surveys that the university conducted throughout the pandemic.
There is a precedent for requiring vaccinations for infectious diseases for college students. This institution already requires students to have the following vaccines: Tetanus Diptheria within the past ten years, MMR, Varicella, three doses of Hepatitis B, Meningococcal vaccine, and an annual influence vaccine. There is an online portal in place, making it easy for students to upload their immunization history. A recent survey of 1,000 undergraduate students finds that 71 percent believe colleges can require students to get the Covid vaccine before returning to campus. Private school students are more likely than public school students to say schools have this right (College Pulse, 2021). Students' social media posts confirm that most agree the university should require Covid vaccines for students returning to campus.
Faculty and staff clearly articulated their concerns about safely reopening campus in the virtual town halls and open forums universities recently convened. The overwhelming majority felt the university should require vaccination against Covid for anyone working or learning on campus. A vaccine mandate is the only way to ensure the safety of everyone.
The availability of the vaccine is increasing, with all states currently offering the vaccine to everyone 16 years old and above. The expectation is that everyone over the age of 16 will have the opportunity to get a vaccine this summer. As of May 16, 2021, over 273 million vaccine doses have been administered in the United States (CDC, 2021).
A Covid vaccine is a crucial tool for making the coming fall semester safe. Colleges and universities struggled to control outbreaks on campus before the vaccine. An average of 3,000 new covid cases per day was added to the nation's total due to colleges reopening between July and September 2020. The outbreaks were driven by off-campus events and crowded dorms and directly impacted increased covid cases in the surrounding community (Gajewski, 2021). Even with a mask mandate and required social distancing, we cannot control what our students do 24/7, on or off-campus. Requiring the vaccine for all faculty, staff, and students returning to campus will add to the herd immunity of the country and ensure the safety of our campus and community.
Moral and Legal Consequences
There is significant legal precedence for universities to mandate immunizations. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Education have stated that higher education could require the COVID-19 vaccine for incoming students. The EEOC also made it clear that the vaccine is not considered a medical examination, which means it cannot be prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (EEOC, 2021). According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, over 365 college campuses require the vaccine for incoming students and employees for the Fall. The list continues to grow each day. The major universities in our area including Georgetown University, Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, American University, and the University of Maryland system require returning students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated.
The federal government is leaving vaccine laws up to the states. An anti-vaccine movement will challenge the vaccine mandate just as they have in the past with new vaccines. Several states have already moved to block any vaccine mandate for colleges. All states currently require colleges to accommodate students who refuse a vaccine for medical reasons, and some allow exemptions for religious reasons (Dennon, 2021). Some students may try to take advantage of the religious exemption because no proof is required. This number may be smaller than usual due to the high number of students approving colleges mandating the vaccine. The American Council on Education issued a brief stating requiring covid vaccines for students will likely be upheld as the availability of the vaccine increases (Hess, 2021).
There may be logistical difficulties that prevent students from accessing a vaccine in their home state. Universities should leverage their ability to provide on-campus vaccination through their current testing site, medical school and hospital if they can. Covid testing is widely available to faculty, staff, and students already on campus at most universities. Adding a vaccine component would be easy to do using the existing testing sites. A portal already exists at most universities to upload Covid vaccination information making it easy for universities to determine who has been vaccinated and who has not. The registrar's office can check a student's vaccination status before allowing them to register for in-person classes.
The CDC is also incentivizing the public to get the vaccine by rescinding the mask mandate for vaccinated individuals. Universities could do the same by offering pre-registration for classes to vaccinated students or entering vaccinated faculty and staff in a raffle.
Without a vaccine mandate, it will be challenging for universities to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and the community. The increase in covid cases on college campuses in 2020 as colleges tried to reopen proves that students will not willingly follow the guidelines to social distance and wear a mask.
The university is also bound by the rules of their local jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions have lifted the COVID-19 restrictions or will do so in the next few weeks. The lifting of these restrictions will make it more challenging to manage the health and safety of our community without a vaccine mandate.
Universities should require students, faculty, and staff who are in person in the Fall to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before coming to campus. Any vaccine authorized for use in the United States will be accepted. Vaccines will be made available on-campus through the current or new Covid testing sites. Current students, faculty, and staff should upload their vaccination cards to the existing medical portal. Universities should grant limited exceptions for medical and religious reasons. These exceptions should be clearly articulated, so there is no confusion. Anyone with extenuating circumstances beyond their control that could cause a delay in vaccination should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Social distancing and mask mandates should continue to be required in addition to the vaccine mandate in large group settings. These settings should be clearly identified, and the information available to everyone on campus. Testing for Covid-19 of all faculty, staff, and students on campus should continue indefinitely. Virtual instruction should be made available to students who cannot get a vaccine due to medical issues. Faculty, staff, or student who continues to work and learn remotely will not be required to obtain a Covid vaccine.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, (2021, April 27). College enrollment and work activity of recent high
school and college graduates – 2020 [Press Release]. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/hsgec.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021, May 16). Vaccines for covid-19.
College Pulse. (2021, January 27). 7 in 10 students believe colleges can require COVID-19
Dennon, A., (2021, April 21). Can colleges make the covid-19 vaccine mandatory?
Dickler, J., (2021, April 16). 25% of students postponed college during Covid, some indefinitely.
Gajewski, M., (2021, January 13). College campuses are covid-19 superspreaders, study says.
Hess, A.J., (2021, April 12). Many colleges will require the Covid vaccine-here are some of the
challenges ahead. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/12/colleges-will-require-the-covid-vaccinethese-are-the-challenges-ahead.html
Hodges, D., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., & Bond, A. (2020). The difference between
emergency remote teaching and online learning. EDUCAUSE Review.
U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. (n.d.). Coronavirus and COVID-19.
"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - John F. Kennedy
Leadership plays a vital role in the development of every organization. It is an essential and crucial part of effective management. The administrative team must be highly effective, results-oriented, and collaborative. I am a transformational leader who inspires others to look beyond their self-interests for the institution's good. I am passionate about the power of higher education and try to instill that passion in my staff. My goal is to motivate and inspire my colleagues to be innovative and create change to help our students grow and be successful.
I lead by example and follow through on what I say I am going to do. I am the first person to take responsibility and act when something goes wrong and the first person to deliver accolades when something goes right. Making sure all employees have the tools and resources they need to be successful is a top priority. I develop relationships with my employees to understand them as individuals. One of my strengths is the ability to manage people with diverse personalities and work styles. I foster a highly inclusive and welcoming work environment. This allows me to use their strengths and address their weaknesses so that they can be successful. I always ask new hires what their professional goals are, and I try to help them develop the skills and expertise they need to meet those goals.
A good leader must also be adaptable and be an advocate for change. In my experience, making sure all stakeholders understand why change is needed is key to success. In 2017 I was tasked with restructuring the staff for our broadcast studio based on student feedback and industry research. I worked with human resources, instructional technology, and the office of technology services to determine what changes we needed to make. I also reached out to our alumni in media production to draw on their expertise. We eliminated three positions and created three new positions embedded in multimedia. I met with each faculty member to explain why these changes were needed and how the students would benefit from the changes. Those meetings helped the faculty become advocates for the changes.
My biggest strength is my reputation for getting things done. I am tenacious. When you give me a task, it will get done on time, done well, and within budget. I empower my staff to use their expertise and do their best work. I do this by emphasizing the impact our work has on our students. I believe in a student-centered learning environment that focuses on the needs of the students within the institution's mission.
I have acquired a vast knowledge base of higher education over the past 15 years. I am also a great proponent of continuing education for myself and my staff. I attend and present at conferences and workshops regularly to stay abreast of best practices and new trends in higher education.
The difference between ethical leaders that cast light and unethical leaders that cast shadows when faced with the same ethical challenges is based in how they handle the challenges of leadership. I have worked with both types of leaders and know their characteristics well.
Ethical leaders have a strong sense of right and wrong and have standards that guide their decisions. They make informed decisions and have a moral compass. Ethical leaders foster trust and are focused on the greater good of the community.
Unethical leaders have an inflated sense of self and are extremely insecure. They like to think they are the smartest person in the room. They are focused on their own agenda, not the greater good of the community. They abuse power, hoard privileges, and tend not to trust their followers. They fail to take responsibility for their actions, and their bad deeds go unpunished due to their power and influence.
I try to cast more light than shadows through leading by example and emphasizing the greater good of the community in my actions. I empower my team to do their jobs and encourage them to get out of their comfort zone. If they make a mistake, I meet with them and we discuss how we could do things differently in the future. This is how they learn and develop their skills.
I try to be as consistent as possible with each of my direct reports, knowing that there may be extenuating circumstances that need to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. For example, our receptionist is a single mother with a child that has an ongoing medical condition. She cannot control when her child is sick and needs a doctor’s care. There have been occasions when she needs to take her child to a specialist and has run out of sick leave. Instead of docking her pay, I let her make up the extra time. This has taken a great burden off her shoulders and as a result she has become one of the hardest workers on our team. I have done the same when other employees have a similar situation caring for a family member or have special circumstances. My team knows that they can come to me and I will work with them on finding a solution that is consistent with what I have done for others. This instills a high level of trust and loyalty between us.
As Johnson (2018) states, there are leaders who have a battleground mentality of win at all costs. I worked in a private secondary school as an assistant athletic director in charge of administration. This included ensuring student athletes were academically eligible to participate in athletics by tracking their grades on a weekly basis. The Virginia High School League has strict requirements of a “D” average to be eligible. Because the school was known for strong academics, we required a “C” average for eligibility and each student athlete signed a form stating they understood the rules of eligibility at the beginning of each athletic season. The boys’ basketball team was in the state playoffs and one of the best athletes on the team was ineligible due to his weekly grade report. When I informed the athletic director and coach of the student’s ineligibility, they asked me to go back to the history teacher and request a grade change. I did not feel comfortable doing this and refused because it would violate the honor code that the students, faculty and staff signed at the beginning of each academic year. The next day I was told by the coach that the student had received a grade change after he spoke with the history teacher at the request of the athletic director. I requested a meeting with the headmaster to discuss the situation. During the course of that meeting, the history teacher was asked to join the conversation. She confirmed that the coach had asked her to change the grade and that she felt pressured to do so since this was the first time the team had made it to the state tournament. This is a good example of the coach trying to use moral justification for his unethical behavior. The headmaster overrode the grade change, suspended the coach for one game and a letter of reprimand was put in the athletic director’s personnel file. Ultimately, they both did not receive a contract for the next school year. This was a very difficult situation to be in, but I knew I made the right decision. It was not fair to the student athletes that maintained their eligibility. An interesting side note is the student athlete in question knew he was ineligible and took full responsibility and told his teammates he was the one that let them down. I like to think he followed my good example.
The call for diversity and accessibility in instructional design has to start at the top of any university. The administration needs to mandate the integration of diversity and accessibility into every course. This integration may take more effort for some faculty, and they need to understand why it is essential. They also need to know what resources are available to them to do so. This integration should be done at the beginning of the course design, not as a response to an individual.
Each learner has a unique set of circumstances that can affect how they learn. Reiser and Dempsey give some great examples of adaptations and design suggestions, breaking them down into four categories: visual, auditory, mobility, and cognitive involvement. Providing closed-captioning or transcripts of videos is required, and universities should have policies to provide these services. This includes live-streamed events on Facebook and Zoom. Many software or platforms have closed captioning built into their design. If they don’t, universities will need to hire an outside company to provide this accommodation.
Multiculturalism is another component that needs to be integrated into any instructional design model in higher education. Faculty can bring their cultural bias into their instruction without even realizing it. Personal bias can be addressed by having faculty look at their own culture and its impact on their teaching. Learning activities should be inclusive of all students. Faculty should look at their language, social norms, and how they can be culturally responsive and adaptive to their students’ challenges. Faculty should also consider the type of delivery they use in their instruction to make sure there is no cultural bias. This can be challenging when the diversity in a class is limited. These students may be hesitant to join in class discussions or to speak freely. Our university requires all faculty and staff to participate in yearly diversity training to ensure instruction and student interactions are inclusive and without bias.
The Multimodal Diversity Model includes three major components:
1.Multiple means of representation – The “what” of learning that incorporates cognitive diversity.
2.Multiple means of expression or performance – The “how” of learning that incorporates physical diversity.
3.Multiple means of engagement – The “why” of learning that incorporates cultural diversity.
These principles need to be part of the everyday teaching in any university and embedded in the course design. Unfortunately, not all universities can do this due to budget, staffing, and resources. My university has an Office of Disability Support Services (ODSS) that recognizes disability in the context of diversity. They work collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to foster a climate of universal academic excellence. Students apply for DSS accommodations each semester. ODSS notifies faculty of any students requiring these accommodations before the course begins. These accommodations can include interpreting and captioning services, alternative text requests, note-taking requests, and final exam proctoring. The accommodations are not addressed holistically by the university but on a case-by-case basis. DSS offers training on cultural diversity, but the training does not include how to optimize class instruction. The various multicultural student organizations across campus have asked for more diversity and cultural training for students, faculty, and staff. Unfortunately, with the severe budget cuts that are happening due to the pandemic, this will not be a priority. My school is dedicated to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, so we offer training for our faculty and staff through a grant we received to do so. We are committed to making every student feels they are an integral part of our school community. I am hopeful that when the other university units see what we are doing, they will pressure the administration to make this training available across campus.
The easy access to technology has completed redefined the classification and expression of knowledge in higher education. The Internet is a source of free-flowing information that anyone can access and was considered revolutionary for education when it was introduced. This information is constantly updated, unlike printed materials that become obsolete almost from the moment they print. Information can be classified as goods that are public, private, or club. These classifications have become more nuanced over time. However, commercial concerns are created when information from the Internet is used in the classroom. Copyright laws can prohibit sharing of educational materials. This is in opposition to the belief that education is sharing. It’s the willingness to share knowledge and expertise, skills and passion, with one another. Instructors and students need to be aware of these issues when incorporating information gleaned from the Internet into a project.
Images can also be restricted by copyright. Getty Images consistently monitors the use of their pictures and assesses fines on people who have used their images without consent. I had a student in one of my online courses use a Getty image in a presentation that she posted on YouTube. Two years later, this student received a letter from Getty stating she had used this image without permission and published it in the public domain. They levied a hefty fee for the use of the picture.
Some initiatives address these copyright issues. Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that licenses and uses an open copyright license, making it easier for instructors to access openly licensed material. Many instructors are starting to use open sources instead of textbooks, making it easier and more affordable for students to access the course content. Adopting these open educational resources allows instructors and students access to various resources while following the copyright laws.
Reiser, R.A. & Dempsey, J.V. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology
(4th ed.). Pearson
Online learning or e-learning has become as accepted and almost as commonplace as classroom learning in higher education. It includes all learning that involves technology. It doesn't matter if it's asynchronous or synchronous. The growth in online learning is because technology is more powerful, easy to use, and increasingly available to the world. Everyone has access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Almost all education transitioned to virtual learning during the pandemic, and that is proof that online learning is a credible model of instruction. I think e-learning will continue to grow exponentially after the pandemic and include more hybrid learning and courses offered entirely online.
As instructors, we cannot just focus on access to technology as a reason for online learning to exist. As we know, learning something for the sake of knowing it is not enough. We need to make sure learning outcomes are achieved, course design is creative and engaging, and that there are support systems for both students and instructors for any learning, online or face-to-face, to be successful. We also need to ensure that the learning objectives, learning activities, and assessments are aligned and interdependent. This type of course design can be time-consuming, but it is worth the extra effort. For example, the assessments should reflect the desired learning outcomes. If the desired learning objective is higher-order learning, the assessment should not be a multiple-choice test. The assessment should allow students to use their higher-level thinking and apply the knowledge they learned to an activity. I teach my students the required components of a comprehensive communications plan. The students apply what they learned to create their own communications plan for their clients. The plan is the assessment used for the course. It would not be beneficial just to have them reiterate what each component should contain.
Online learning also offers students opportunities for informal or incidental learning outcomes. The internet allows students to expand their knowledge unintentionally. Sometimes unexpected learning can be the spark that sustains students' attention and interest in the learning activity.
Online learning is changing how instructors use taxonomies to design their courses. Instructors creating online materials often don't have practical instructional design training, so using traditional taxonomies of instructional design won't work. A better strategy is to use a more integrated framework that looks at learning outcomes that rely on experience and real-world knowledge and have an iterative process to refine the learning experiences. The elemental learning and Situated Authentic Problem Solving(SAPS) approaches are good examples of this. Elemental learning uses real-life outcomes and those closely simulating real-life to assess or learn a real-life task or a simulation of that task. We know that focused attention is necessary for learning to occur. The best way to focus students' attention is to design instruction that uses students' previous knowledge and develops learning outcomes that students can apply to their personal and professional experience. Using real-world outcomes is the most effective approach to designing online learning.
Technology should be looked at by instructors as more than just a way to deliver instruction. Using a video to say you used multimedia in your course design is not enough. Technology is not just a means of delivering information. Reiser and Dempsey (2018) talk about using instructional technics that are unique learning strategies to maximize technology to attain a specific learning outcome. Technics are more sophisticated and more comprehensive than just media and engage students in activities that involve what they learned. This course is an excellent example of this. We create a forum post in response to questions that ask us to apply the knowledge we learned through the video and reading to the real world and our experience in higher education. Our peers read our posts and respond to them, allowing us to interact with one another virtually and give each other feedback.
My concerns with online learning include access to technology for marginalized students and instructors' ability to master the technology and create interactive active-learning content. I am hopeful that as online learning continues to grow, resources and training will be made available to instructors.
Social media has become a prominent fixture in everyday life, from staying connected to friends and family to looking for a new life partner. The use of social media in higher education is a relatively recent development. Technology is constantly changing as well. New channels are developing, and changes are being made to existing channels. In addition to the well-known tools, additional social media platforms are being designed for use in education that contain extra privacy, security, and instructor oversight features.
Social media can be a great tool when used correctly. Social media can deliver content to students or as a companion to the course content. It can be deliberately designed as part of a class activity by the instructor or used by the students without prior planning. Some of the advantages of using social media in higher education include using social media as an instructional tool to make the learning experience more student-centered and expanding the course content. It also allows students and instructors the ability to access a large variety of learning resources and experts. For example, LinkedIn is a great resource to connect to subject matter experts as guest lecturers in a virtual class. The SME can be located anywhere and connect with the course virtually. Social media can enhance communication within the class. Slack is a great way to do this. I create a Slack channel for each course I teach accessible only to the students in the class. Students use it to post comments about an assignment, ask questions, or give other students feedback. I find it a great resource to be part of the students' conversation. Social media is also a way for students to get feedback from their peers or from professionals in the field they are studying.
Social media has its challenges when used in higher education instruction. One of the most significant issues is maintaining students' privacy if social media is used in a course. Students may not want their personal information shared on social media. Limiting what students share on the platform used in the course is one way to do this. Instructors can create a private group or page that can be seen or accessed only by students in the course. As we know, the anonymity of social media can influence bad behavior. People will post things on social media that they would never say to someone in person. Social media handles can make a person unidentifiable, letting them hide their true identity. One way to combat this is for the instructor to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on cyberbullying. Social media can also have a decentralized effect on education. Students may try to multi-task when using a social media platform, posting something irrelevant to the course instead of focusing on the assigned task. There is also an intellectual property concern about what information can be posted on a social media platform. We have a significant number of international students enrolled in our courses. There are international considerations that need to be considered if we expect those students to use social media as part of their learning activities.
For social media to be a positive factor in higher education is needs to be used in a very deliberate way by the instructor. There is a lot of pressure for instructors to incorporate social media into their courses, but that is not reason enough to do it. The instructor must see the value in using it and have the skills needed to use it effectively and appropriately. The type of social media platform must also be considered by the instructor when integrating it into a course activity. Some platforms work better than others, and the instructor must know enough about the platform to be successful. I had an instructor in my graduate program that was desperate to integrate Twitter into his course. He had no idea how the platform worked and that there was a character limit to each tweet. He assigned a written assignment to be five pages in length and sent to him via Twitter. His attempt failed miserably.
Rich media is defined as animation, video, audio, and other types of media that are used to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Instructional designers should take a learner-centered approach to determine how to integrate rich media into their course design. Rich media needs to be designed to serve the needs of the learners. A good rule to follow is that less is more for learner media because students can be overloaded with information. Focused attention is required for learning to occur. The more information we are presenting to students, the less they can focus on each piece of information presented. The information presented verbally and visually needs to be organized and presented to allow the student to retain and retrieve the information.
Cognitive load is the amount of mental work imposed on working memory during learning. We know there are three cognitive load types, extraneous, essential, and generative, in the instructional design process. As instructors, we can control the cognitive load. Extraneous cognitive load is the irrelevant mental load resulting from poor instructional design. Essential cognitive load is based on the complexity of the presented material. Generative cognitive load requires the student to be motivated to exert the effort needed to make sense of the incoming material. We know that information comes in through the senses and is analyzed. There's so much information coming in, and only part of that information can be processed. The cognitive processes prioritize information critical to survival or a specific goal and turn that information into mental representations of things in the world. Typically, the richer the sensory reception to the media presented, the more potential there is. However, we also know that using overly complex visuals with irrelevant details increases the extraneous cognitive load. This causes the information to be too complex and overwhelming to be retained.
A goal of integrating rich media into the instructional design process should be to help the learner manage essential processing. Rich media can have a positive impact when used correctly. Text and visuals vs. only text can improve learning, especially for novice learners. These learners need more details because they struggle with simple textual cues or information. The integration of rich media into course design should be based on the learners' level, the content being taught, and the way the visuals are used with text or audio.
The Successive Approximation Model (SAM) is an excellent example of how to construct learning experiences using input from various stakeholders that are continuously reviewed, redesigned, and improved. I am a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), which is very similar to Agile project management. Both Agile and SAM embrace and encourage change. The learning experiences created in SAM must be meaningful, memorable, and motivational to keep the learners' attention, provide continuous performance guidance, and encourage new behaviors. Tasks are done sequentially and are repeated. The preparation phase is a reasonably quick process.
Savvy Start is intriguing to me because it is the part of the process I have personally been involved in when my school created new programming. I honestly did not know this is what the process was called before the reading this week. It is a brainstorming session with all key stakeholders present to gather information. Each person brings different expertise and a unique perspective to the process. It makes everyone feel like they are part of the process instead of a dean or director implementing new programming without any input. I participate in this process to look at the cost of the budget and staffing. Some of the questions I look for answers to are: 1. Do we have the capacity with our current staff to support this new program? What ancillary costs will we incur in addition to staffing – new technology, additional classroom or office space, or additional faculty? Faculty advisors are at the table to look at the learning objectives addressed by the new program. Does the design address the course objectives? We usually have two or three current students at the table to bring the learner's perspective to the group. Will this program address the needs of the students? How will this program enhance the students' academic experience compared to current instruction? There is also someone considered a subject matter expert (SME) in the course content, usually one of our full-time faculty members. The associate dean in charge of instructional design for the college is the person on the team that serves as the prototyper and ensures that the course's design is in line with university guidelines. We are lucky that we have a faculty member on staff that is also a certified PMP, and he runs the meeting. We allocate no more than two half-day sessions to brainstorming. It is challenging to get all the players in the room for more than that amount of time.
Next, we move on to phase two, the iterative design phase. We look at the prototypes, usually based on what other similar college departments have done, review the prototypes, and give feedback. This cycle continues, making changes, reviewing the new prototype, and providing more feedback. We take a hard look at the learning activities to ensure the basic skills needed to complete the activities are part of the design.
If we have time, we will use the three-step model and have an iterative development phase. This model is beneficial because it allows us to have an alpha release where the instructional program is almost complete, and it kick-starts the validation process. The reviewers at this point are part of a much smaller group that is looking for minor issues. The validation occurs with a beta release. The beta release is where we engage our current students to participate in the course and give us feedback in testing sessions. We offer several opportunities for students to do this. We have a Student Advisory Council that provides this as a unique opportunity for their members. We always have a significant number of students that want to participate. They love being part of the process and being able to give feedback that will enhance their instruction. I agree with Dr. Cantu that this phase is crucial when using SAM in higher education. It can be costly to do, but it is worth taking the extra time to develop the design proof and have an alpha and beta release to get more feedback, especially from students, on the course as a working model. The iterative development phase's final stage is the gold release when we offer the course for credit. Our students fill out course evaluations at the end of each semester for each of their classes. This gives us another opportunity to review the instructional design for the course. We have had cause to go back and redesign a course based on meaningful student feedback in these evaluations. Reviewing and evaluating the course design should be an ongoing process.
The SAMR model and TPACK model can both be used to get faculty to integrate technology into their courses in smaller increments. SAMR is especially effective for faculty that are resistant to using technology in their instruction. SAMR breaks down how to use technology into four different areas: substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition. Substitution uses technology as a tool substitute with no functional change. In augmentation, technology acts as a tool that functionally improves instruction. Both can enhance the teaching without drastic changes. Substitution can be as simple as using a computer to write a paper instead of writing it by hand. Incorporating interactive multimedia like a video or a hyperlink in a lecture gives more depth and provides a more engaging presentation. Modification occurs when technology significantly redesigns the assigned task. It is also an opportunity for students to collaborate.
A good example could be students using Google docs to collaborate on a written assignment. Redefinition uses technology to create a new task that otherwise could not be performed. Instead of students writing a paper, they would use a multimedia platform like PowerPoint or Prezi to give an oral presentation. Our vlogs in this course are a great example of this. I've seen or used the SAMR model as a student and an instructor. It is a simple tool to use to integrate technology quickly into instruction.
The TPACK model provides more of a map for understanding how to integrate technology into the classroom effectively. It explains the set of technology knowledge (TK), pedagogy knowledge (PK), and content knowledge (CK) that teachers need to teach their students a subject, teach effectively, and use technology. All three areas of knowledge overlap, creating seven distinct constructs of knowledge (Figure 1). Instructors' abilities of all seven constructs are assessed to determine if there are any deficiencies. Those deficiencies can be addressed through professional development. TPACK shows a relationship between technology, content, and pedagogy and that the purposeful blending of them is critical. TPACK helps faculty that are subject matter experts in the content they are teaching but are lacking in technology skills. Professional development for those faculty should focus on developing their technical skills to use technology to present their content.
Every instructor wants their students to have significant learning outcomes from their course. Bloom's taxonomy focused on hierarchical learning. In contrast, the significant learning model is interactive and non-hierarchical and includes elements that would be considered affective under Bloom, like caring and the human dimension. Significant learning also requires lasting change that is important to the learner for learning to happen. An integrated course design is required for this change to occur. Each category interacts with one another to stimulate other kinds of learning. This aspect of TPACK is significantly different from Bloom's taxonomy. This interaction can happen when emotion is brought into the instruction, causing students to develop an interest in the content. This can also bring the human dimension into the teaching by having the student learn about their own emotion or their peers' emotions with the content. All the different categories can impact each other and increase the type of learning
The twelve design phases play an important role in course development. These phases are very similar to other instructional design models we have studied and should be applied systematically. Each step helps build the foundation for a comprehensive course design that provides students with activities that address each taxonomy category: learning how to learn, foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, and caring. The initial phase builds the essential components for the course. Analyzing prior knowledge, attitudes, experiences, learning styles, and out-of-class responsibilities are critical. Just as necessary is understanding the knowledge base, experience, skills, and competence of the instructor. Identifying the audience and their needs helps establish the basic framework of the course. The next step is to identify the learning goals that set the expectations and guidelines for the course. Creating specific learning outcomes form a framework for creating activities that address new knowledge, skills, and attitudes. What is it we want students to learn in this course that they didn't know before? How will this new knowledge be used in the future? Those are the key questions to be addressed in this phase. Formulating the correct feedback and assessment that is meaningful and aligns with the course objectives is the next step. Assessment should be done frequently with rapid feedback that is relevant and builds students' confidence about their learning. Active learning activities should be interactive, presented in various ways, and relate to the taxonomy categories. Ensuring all the primary components are integrated and built on each other is the final step of the initial stage.
The intermediate phase of design focuses on the thematic structure of the course, the teaching strategy, and integrating them to create a learning activity scheme. Each course will have significant issues, topics, or themes that form the basis of the content. Teaching strategies will include a combination of techniques that will produce the learning objectives. This should consist of active learning strategies like problem-based learning or team-based learning. Strategies and course structure will create the roadmap of what will happen in and out of the classroom from beginning to end.
The final phase includes developing the grading system, writing the syllabus, looking for potential problems with the course, and creating an evaluation process for the course and instructor. The evaluation process's feedback is vital for learning what worked and what didn't in the class, allowing the instructor to make changes for the next cohort of students.
The constructivism movement gained momentum in the 1990s and produced several instructional models that are still used today in higher education. Constructivism requires learning to be an active process that encourages students to use tasks like experiments or real-world problem-solving to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing. Learning is interactive and builds on what students already know and on their experiences. Students are exposed to multiple perspectives and have numerous opportunities for collaboration and social interaction. Students are active participants in both the teaching and the learning. The student and instructor's role is flipped, with the students controlling the learning process and the instructor guiding and facilitating the learning and reflection process. Evaluation and feedback are continuous and embedded in the assignments, encouraging students to assess how they increase their understanding throughout the learning process.
There are several instructional models used today linked to constructivism.
1.Problem-based learning is student-centered, using complex, real-world problems for students to work in groups to solve. The problem drives the motivation and the learning.
2.Case-and scenario-based learning presents students with a real-world problem that they need to solve. The scenario or case promotes class discussion and team-problem solving.
3.Cognitive apprenticeship uses situational cognition similar to a master teaching a skill to an apprentice - learning by watching the expert and modeling the skill or task. This framework informs the design of authentic, replicable instruction.
4.Interactive learning environments in online learning provide students with built-in tools to be used to interact as they develop an argument based on evidence to solve a problem.
Instructors continue to use all four of these models in higher education. I use problem-based learning and case-based learning in the courses I teach to allow the students to develop the social skills needed to work in a team towards a common goal and develop higher-level thinking. Cognitive apprenticeship has been used successfully in high-level foreign language courses. The instructor speaks to the students only in the foreign language, immersing them in the language, so they learn the correct pronunciation, inflection, and tone. This course is an excellent example of an interactive learning environment.
Instructional design models continue to evolve, building on the models that came before. Many instructors have shifted from objectivism to constructivism teaching strategies to accommodate more meaningful, active learning and real-world engagement for their students.
Objectivism learning is structured and predetermined. The teacher controls the learning process, and realities are given based on the notion that reality is perceived the same by all learners. Instruction focuses on transferring knowledge to the learner in a methodical way. The instructional strategies are well-defined and selected based on the learning goals and objectives set by the instructor. Students are passive participants in the learning process. Assessment is conducted at the end of the instruction and based on attaining the goals and objectives.
Conversely, constructivism engages students in authentic activities that allow collaboration and students to engage multiple perspectives. This is more aligned with how students really learn. The student controls the learning process through complex, problem-based, and real-world tasks. Students actively engage in learning knowledge that has a real-world application outside of the classroom. Meaning comes out of practice and from discussion and reflection. Reality is negotiated based on students' experience and knowledge. The learner sets the goals. The instructor supports learners in setting their goals and encourages them to reflect on their learning. Students determine which ideas are viable by testing their personal understandings against their peers. Emotion, affect, and engagement are integrated into the learning activities. The focus is on higher-order outcomes, including problem-solving, decision making, and critical thinking. Evaluation is continuous and baked into the learning tasks.
While constructivism promotes more meaningful, authentic, and problem-based learning than objectivism, there are some concerns about when it should be used and how difficult it can be to implement in the classroom. Because students are taking over the instructors' role, students must be prepared for constructivism to be successful. Students must be motivated and emotionally mature enough to work independently. Students must have the necessary prior knowledge to handle complex, authentic, real-world problems. Students must have adequate access to the essential information. Students succeed when they have the support, help, information resources, and advice to help them through a complex task's initial performance. Constructivism requires more of this support than objectivism. If students have low-level outcomes, they may become disappointed and unmotivated.
Constructivism can create more work for the instructor. Field testing is required to ensure the instructional design is robust enough to support the students. The actual learning outcomes also need to be aligned with the standards and objectives. Instructors may not be receptive to switching roles with their students and learn new skills. A supportive infrastructure needs to be in place, including mentors, information resources, and training for instructors to transition their instruction to a constructivism-based instruction design model successfully.
Constructivism may not always be the best education solution from a practical standpoint. If the content is technical material that must be mastered or remembered with precision or if a mandated exam dictates the curriculum, constructivism may not be the best strategy.
A group of learning professionals launched the Serious e-Learning Manifesto in 2014 to respond to quality concerns about poorly designed e-learning products (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). The manifesto lays out design principles and standards for e-learning products, contrasting e-learning and serious e-learning. The serious e-learning principles are consistent with a constructivist perspective and are much more student-centered and focused on meaningful, real-world active learning than traditional e-learning. These principles and standards are critical to addressing the challenges students and instructors faced when they pivoted to virtual learning due to the pandemic.
Several serious e-learning projects are examples of the continued influence of constructivism in higher education. These examples contrast traditional e-learning and promote student active-learning, interaction, engagement, and socialization.
Active learning classrooms facilitate constructivist learning activities. Space configuration promotes collaboration and cooperation between students. The instructor is at a station in the middle of the room. We use this design in our computer labs, where we teach our video production classes. The students are in five pods of four work-stations facing each other with a computer for each student. The instructor's podium is in the middle of the room. The instructor roams the room checking students' progress, asking questions, and assisting students. This configuration encourages the students to be more collaborative and work together to troubleshoot any issues or help each other with their projects.
According to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, flipped classrooms were widely discussed and put in use before COVID-19. Students watch recorded lectures on their own before coming to campus for guided hands-on and group activities. The videos are asynchronous, and students watch them at their convenience. When students are in class, they can apply the video's knowledge to an active learning task. This configuration has been highly successful during the pandemic and could increase demand for flexible classrooms.
Makerspaces are physical locations with equipment that students can use to undertake do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. It's a space for students to come together using shared resources to exchange ideas. Our video editing labs are open 24/7 to students enrolled in our video production classes. Students have all the technology and equipment they need to edit videos for class assignments, student organization projects, or personal use. Collaboration and social interaction organically happen in this space. Students are curious about the other projects and are more than willing to exchange ideas and expertise.
These projects are just a few examples of how constructivism continues to take on new forms and evolve. Serious e-learning will continue to play a significant role in online learning
Diep, F. (20021, March 15). The pandemic may have permanently altered campuses: Here's
how. The Chronicle of Higher Education. https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-pandemic-may-have-permanently-altered-campuses-heres-how
Reiser, R.A. & Dempsey, J.V. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology
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Every class I participated in as a student or as a teacher had at least one student who was challenging to manage. Their behavior was usually hard to control and creates extra work for the teacher to get them to pay attention and stop distracting other students. Skinner's behavioral learning theory gives teachers tools to use to modify this behavior by focusing on how students learn.
Behavioral learning theory emphasizes the impact environment has on learning behavior and is crucial to understand how to motivate and help students in the classroom. This theory is essential for teachers because it suggests that teachers can directly affect how their students learn. It also allows teachers to understand that a student's home environment and lifestyle can impact their behavior, helping teachers see it objectively and improve their behavior. Teachers show students how they should react and respond to certain stimuli to remind students of the desired behavior continually. Behavioral learning theory has been a game-changer in the classroom, allowing teachers to make significant student behavior and learning changes.
Positive reinforcement and repetition are critical to the success of the behavioral learning theory. Reinforcing desired behavior with consistent, positive feedback from the teacher will increase the desired behavior. Repeating the reinforcement is necessary, so the student's behavior is tied to a reward, so the student sees a direct correlation between the behavior and the reward. The correlation between behavior and the reward is another example of the stimulus-response sequence. In education, behavior is observed before and after instruction to determine if there are behavior changes after instruction. Observing behavior changes after instruction indicates the teaching was effective. If there is no change in behavior, the instruction is not effective, and the instruction needs to change to improve the student's performance. These observations are an essential part of formative evaluation that continues to be used in education today. By observing students before instruction, desired behaviors are identified as objectives of the instruction. Using these observations to determine learning outcomes also reinforces the need for repetition of the behaviors.
Positive and negative reinforcement can motivate student behaviors. If two students perform similarly on a test, but only one receives positive reinforcement from the teacher, the student who did not receive praise is experiencing negative reinforcement and will not feel that his/her performance matters. The students receiving the positive reinforcement correlates this with continuing to get good grades. Feedback and reinforcement are considered equals in Skinner's theory, and this influenced the importance of instructional feedback in future instructional design models.
Atkinson and Shiffrin's cognitive information processing theory is similar to Skinner's behavioral approach in the belief that environment plays an essential role in learning. The critical difference is that cognitive information processing theory assumes that each learner has internal processes that explain how they learn (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). Cognitive information processing theory is based on a multi-store memory model with three different memory stores: sensory, short-term, and long-term memory. Stimuli from the environment are inputs that are recognized and coded through the five senses in the sensory memory. Short-term memory filters the information briefly and maintains the information by verbally or mentally repeating it, connecting it to long-term memory information.
The focus shifts to how instruction can promote or hold back learning based on how information is processed in cognitive information processing theory. Feedback is used to reinforce correct behavior and to modify behavior by providing correct information to the learner. Prior knowledge retained long-term is a necessary part of learning new knowledge. This new way of thinking of feedback and how information is processed impacted the strategies teachers used in their classroom. This theory continues to be influential and is the basic outline for later instructional design models.
Gagne's nine events of instruction model is based on the learning conditions that support the internal processes students use to learn. The focus is on how what we know about learning can design instruction that facilitates the desired outcomes. The nine events are presented in three phases: preparation and planning, instruction and practice, and assessment and transfer. This model has survived the test of time and continues to be used today. Selecting appropriate instructional events and planning them in the right format and sequence is crucial in a successful lesson plan.
Both behavioral and cognitive information processing theories were developed out of psychology research programs in the 1960s and 1970s and are the basis for instructional design development. Future models were developed based on both theories, and they continue to play a role in education today.
Teachers use behavioral learning strategy techniques in their classroom in many ways, including drills, question and answer, demonstration, repetition, and consistent positive reinforcement. These techniques give teachers the ability to modify students' behavior and create an environment in which their students learn. Behavioral learning works better for some course content than others. For example, learning a foreign language requires repetition and drills using the language. Analytical knowledge does not. Using formative evaluation to adjust instruction to attain the desired outcome continually is crucial to higher education today and is something every instructor should be doing.
Similarly, Gagne's nine events of instruction are still used in higher education today and are even more critical for online learning. I use the nine events with my online students, and it works exceptionally well.
technology (4th ed.). Pearson.
We continue to use early instructional design models to guide instructional design today. The new models build on the ones that came before. The programmed instruction movement in the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s was instrumental in developing the systems approach to education. The movement is based on developments in education and training that occurred as far back as the 1940s. By the mid-1960s, many of the current instructional design concepts were linked to create systematically designed instructional materials. Skinner and others used an empirical approach to develop programmed instruction using trial and revision of the materials (Lumsdaine & Glaser, 1960). Data was collected on the materials' effectiveness, identifying instructional weaknesses, and the materials were revised as needed. Today, we call this formative evaluation. Identifying the specific objectives students using the materials are expected to attain is the first step. Preparing objectives that include a description of desired behaviors, the conditions under which the behaviors are to be performed, and the criteria to judge the behaviors are still supported today in the instructional design process (Reiser & Dempsey, 2018). The focus on instructional design grew exponentially in the 1970s resulting in a large increase in the number of instructional design models based on previous models. Revised and updated versions of some of these systems-based models are still taught and used today in higher education.
There have been considerable changes to how we teach and learn since I graduated from college in 1985. I used an electric typewriter with memory to type my papers and make revisions and updates. I used a computer for the first time as a word processor through my employer in the late 1980s. Fast-forward to the present day, where personal electronic devices are used in every aspect of higher education. I am an administrator and adjunct professor in higher education. The classes I teach have always been virtual, so using a computer and electronic instructional materials is an integral part of teaching. Having experience with virtual learning platforms has helped me navigate the virtual world we are in today due to the pandemic.
As an administrator, I see how other professors struggle to migrate their in-person instruction to a virtual platform. Our students made the switch to virtual education pretty quickly. The struggles they have encountered are with professors who cannot navigate the virtual platforms to engage students in ways beyond lecturing through a computer screen. One of our professors with over 25 years of tenure preferred to use an overhead projector in his classroom and had no idea how to transfer his instructional material to accommodate virtual learning. Just as there was resistance from teachers to early new mediums of instructional practice, there was significant resistance to moving to virtual instruction in late 2020. As a result, I worked with the Office of Technology Services and Library Services to offer our faculty training and support. We started this training before our university moved to virtual learning to provide the training modules in-person. This was essential to ensuring educational instruction was seamless and remained robust in a virtual setting. We continue to offer training and support virtually to our faculty. Our campus provides the Adobe Creative Cloud free to all faculty, staff, and students. Students have always taken advantage of this opportunity, and we are finally getting professors beyond video production faculty to use the software to enhance their teaching and instruction. Unfortunately, some faculty are resistant to the necessary changes for virtual learning and are opting to take a semester off from teaching or retire. This is a trend that I think will be seen across higher education.
Instructional design began with the need for training materials during World War II. Psychologists and educators with experience in experimental research conducted research and developed training materials for the military. These materials were developed based on their research and theory on instruction, learning, and human behavior. Assessment and evaluation were used to determine who would be good candidates for specific programs to increase their success rate (Reiser et al., 2018). My father was an officer in the United States Marine Corps and would tell me stories of the testing he went through in Officer Candidate School. His goal was to become a fighter pilot, but the test results showed he would make a better commanding officer in combat. He ended up serving in the Korean War and lead his company in the Battle of Okinawa. This same design was used to address instructional education problems after the war. The Cold War and the space race caused a significant increase in funding for math and science education. I remember an influx of new math and science programs at my elementary school in the late 1960s. One of my classmates' fathers worked at NASA and spoke to my 5th-grade class about a new type of exercise developed for astronauts called aerobic conditioning. At the time, I had no idea this would become a fitness trend in the 1980s.
The human performance improvement movement in the 1990s has had a significant impact on instructional design. My university uses a performance review system that includes goal setting, self-assessment, and evaluation by the supervisor to address performance issues. The focus on real-world learning also increased in the 1990s. Applying what students were learning to real-world problems is still a priority today. Computers and other personal electronic devices have had a more significant impact on instructional design than any other medium. Students can learn virtually from anywhere in the world and interact with the instructor and peers via email, chat rooms, and social media. Information can be created and shared in a variety of formats. Some higher learning institutions were ahead of the curve with virtual learning and have not been affected much by the pandemic. My institution is moving forward on how to maintain a virtual learning presence and in-person learning when we are allowed to re-open our campus. I think there will be another increase in instruction design methods based on virtual learning.
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