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Faculty 2.0: Flipping the Novice to Expert Continuum

December 22, 2007

By Skiba, Diane J

FOR DECADES, faculty have been responsible for three traditional roles: teaching, research, and service. While the emphasis may vary, there is no doubt that faculty are passionate about their particular areas of expertise, such as, in my case, informatics. But while we come to come to academia to pursue scholarly endeavors and disseminate knowledge through teaching, conducting research, and writing, our stress is evident. In the back-to-school issue of the Educause Review, Hartman, Dziuban, and Brophy-Ellison summarise our dilemma: “Most faculty members did not seek careers in the academy because of a strong love of technology or a propensity for adapting to rapid change; yet they now find themselves facing…the inexorable advance of technology into their personal and professional lives” (p. 62). As these authors state, each of the traditional faculty roles is impacted by technology, and perhaps the role most significantly impacted is teaching. For years, the lecture method was considered the gold standard for teaching, but faculty are now faced with demands from administrators, colleagues, and students to use other, technology-driven teaching techniques.

In this column, I offer a numbers of ways to begin to adapt to the changing higher education landscape. While I do not have a magic pill, I can point to some faculty development opportunities that will help you on your journey from novice to expert in the use of technologies, including new faculty development initiatives funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

What Has Changed Hartman, Dziuban, and Brophy-Ellison point to a number of “subtle – and not-so-subtle – changes to which faculty member must adapt” (p. 64). Here is a sampling:

* Novice-expert flip Faculty are considered experts in their respective fields but “confronting new and unfamiliar technologies can quickly turn them into novices” (p. 64). This is particularly true when your Net Generation students know more about the technology you are using than you do.

* Shift in the teacher-student relationship Students no longer look to traditional sources of knowledge for their learning. Rather, they look to the Internet, usually Google or Wikipedia, and we as faculty must remind them that libraries contain knowledge that may be valuable to their learning. The availability and diversity of online information, as well as opportunities for informal learning, have created an imbalance where “learning opportunities outside the classroom may far exceed those within” (p. 66).

* Faculty time There is a greater demand by students for faculty to be available above and beyond the traditional nine to five time frame. Students live in a 24 x 7 x 365 world and expect faculty to answer emails, course postings, and instant messaging within moments.

* View of technology Faculty use technology as a means of disseminating knowledge, such as using PowerPoint or placing documents on a webpage for students to review. Students see technology “as a tool for active learning instead of as a tool to facilitate the instructor’s presentation of information” (p. 66).

* Faculty’s three Rs (reward, recognition, and risk) Because faculty may spend a lot of time applying technologies, they are at risk for not getting rewards or recognition. In some institutions, spending more time on improving teaching and less time on research and publications jeopardizes promotion and tenure.

Perhaps the most profound challenge affecting faculty is how technology impacts the definition and measurement of teaching excellence. The move from a knowledge dissemination model to a more interactive teaching-learning environment makes the concept of teaching excellence more complex.

Hartman, Dziuban, and Brophy-Ellison conducted two studies that highlight the changing definition. In the first study, they data- mined almost 700,000 end-of-semester course evaluations to discover what influenced students to rate a course or an instructor as excellent. They found that if a faculty member had the ability to facilitate learning and was superior in communicating ideas and information, there was a high likelihood that he or she would be rated as an excellent teacher.

The second study was a content review of narratives on the Rate My Professors website. Here, the ability to engage students in learning was highly valued and consistent across all generations of students. But Net Generation students had higher expectations for faculty to create “interactive learning environments and to have a working familiarity with the growing number of web-based instructional resources” (p. 68). (To see if your students have rated you, go to http://ratemyprofessors.com/index.jsp.)

Faculty Development Opportunities A host of faculty development opportunities are available for learning more about integrating technologies into teaching. Many are self-directed learning opportunities.

As a first step, I would investigate the opportunities available at your institution. Many colleges and universities offer workshops, seminars, instructional design services, and other resources to help you incorporate technologies into your classroom or online environment. Some universities have centers for teaching and learning that are responsible for faculty development opportunities, among other services. An excellent webpage listing various centers is offered by Hofstra University (www.hofstra.edu/faculty/ctse/ cte_links.cfm).

Second, if no services are available at your institution, check on whether you can tap into opportunities available through other colleges or universities in your area. If not, check out these online resources:

* University of California Teaching, Learning & Technology Center, www.ucop.edu/tltc/

* Worcester Polytechnic Institute, www.wpi.edu/Academics/ATC/ Collaboratory/

* Vanderbilt Center for Teaching, www.vanderbilt.edu/cft/ resources/teaching_resources/index.htm

Third, certain resources, which I often cite in these columns, specifically target teaching with technology.

* Educause, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology, offers a wealth of information and inspiration on its website (www.educause.edu/), including access to journals and professional development resources.

* Sloan C is a consortium of universities and institutions dedicated to quality online education. Its website also has a wealth of information (www.sloan-c.org/), including numerous journals, news items, and workshops and webinars. If you are looking for the latest research in online learning, this is a good starting point.

* TLT is the Teaching, Learning, and Technology group, which focuses on helping faculty with appropriate and cost-effective approaches to using technology in teaching. TLT (www.tltgroup.org/) maintains the Flashlight Assessment with many good articles on best practices using technology in teaching.

* Innovate, a peer-reviewed journal of online education, offers excellent articles on a variety of educational technology tools at http://innovateonline.info/index.phpview=about. You can interact with authors of selected articles during monthly live webcasts.

Finally, the HRSA Faculty Development Initiative (Faculty Development: ITNEP) provides support to what HRSA calls nursing collaboratives for faculty development. The purpose is to use information and other technologies to expand the capacity of schools of nursing to educate students for 21st century health care practice. The NLN and my university are partners in one collaborative, which will begin in January 2008.

HSRA Initiatives for Nursing Under Title VIII, Section 831 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by the Nurse Reinvestment Act of 2002, funds are available for projects to provide education in new technologies. According to the grant announcement, the use of information and other technologies in nursing education and practice includes informatics, telehealth, mannequin-based and patient simulators, computer-based instructions, virtual simulation, interactive simulated case studies, advanced 3D graphics, and e- learning technologies. To date, four collaboratives have been funded, and two more are expected to be funded in 2008. Here is some information about each collaborative.

Duke University The Technology Integration Program for Nursing Education and Practice (TIP-NEP) was funded in 2006 as a collaborative effort between Duke University School of Nursing, Western Carolina University, and Fayetteville State University. According to the TIP-NEP webpage (www.tip-nep.org/), this program provides new information and skills to faculty teams that seek to advance the inclusion of educational and clinical technologies into the curricula at their home institutions.

Each year, the program selects 10 three-person faculty teams to participate in three distinct phases. Phase 1 uses online modules to introduce faculty to emerging technologies. In phase 2, faculty teams are invited to attend a three-day symposium at Duke and to present their initial projects. In phase 3, faculty teams have access to online support through faculty and “Ask the Expert” forums. The TIP-NEP website provides information about eligibility; the next call for applications will be available on January 15. University of Wisconsin This statewide faculty development program, also funded in 2006, is called Wisconsin Technology Enhanced Collaborative Nursing Education or WI-TECNE. It is designed “to build a motivated cadre of nursing faculty in Wisconsin who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to use simulated learning, informatics, and telehealth across curricula” (see http:// armstrong.son.wisc.edu/news_and_events/news_2007/ zahner_brennan_research.html). The project allows for each of the UW schools of nursing to use their particular expertise to educate 150 faculty scholars. Various approaches are employed, including brown- bag meetings, self-study methods, and onsite conferences.

According to their news release, the individual schools focus on distinct aspects of technology: UW-Madison on telehealth and informatics; UW-Eau Claire on mechanical simulators; UW-Oshkosh on virtual simulations; UW-Milwaukee on problem-based case learning; and UW-Green Bay on e-learning. The project makes use of an e- portfolio for faculty to document their self-directed learning. For more information, contact Pam Scheibel, MS, RN, at 608/263-5199, or email scheibel@wisc.edu.

University of Pittsburgh The School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh received a grant in 2007. To learn more about this project, contact Dr. Helen Burns, project director, at burnsh@pitt.edu.

University of Kansas School of Nursing The HITS: Health Information Technology Scholars Program is a collaboration between the University of Kansas and the Schools of Nursing at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Science Center, and Indiana University, in partnership with the National League for Nursing. Naturally, I am excited about this program and somewhat biased, and I am eager to tell you about its ambitious goals:

* Transform teaching and learning through the merger of informatics, telehealth, simulation, and e-learning and the creation of powerful learning environments.

* Improve nursing education and practice by developing faculty who will integrate information technology in the curricula.

* Expand infrastructure for clinical learning processes and educate a cadre of well-informed faculty who will focus on the real- world application of technologies in education practices.

* Optimize patient safety and drive improvements in health care quality by educating a workforce to provide safe, quality, and efficient health care through the use of technology.

The HITS program is a one-year program that will be repeated annually for a total of five years. Starting in January, 30 scholars will implement and evaluate a technology-integrated curriculum project in their institutions. The program consists of four phases, starting with interaction with five chapters of an online course program or Living Book (www.nln.org/facultydevelopment/ onlinecourses/livingbooks.htm). This phase will serve to introduce the program and four specialty areas: informatics, telehealth, simulations, and e-learning.

In phase 2, faculty will be assigned to mentors and will form e- communities to facilitate the creation of institution-specific projects. A face-to-face workshop will foster networking, and field trips and demonstrations will take place.

Phase 3 will involve continued planning and development of institution-specific projects through the study of advanced online modules. Webinars will be conducted for sharing experiences, advancing learning, and providing support for scholars. The outcome of this phase is an approved technology-enabled project ready for implementation.

In the final phase, faculty will implement, evaluate, and disseminate their projects at their respective institutions, and participate in e-communities discussions. The impact of the program will be assessed using goal attainment strategies. For more information about this program, visit www.hits-colab.org/index.htm.

Reference

Hartman, J. L, Dziuban, C, & Brophy-Ellison, J. (2007). Faculty 2.0. Educause Review, 42(5), 62-76. [Online]. Available: www.educause.edu/apps/er/erm07/erm0753.asp.

Copyright National League for Nursing, Inc. Nov/Dec 2007

(c) 2007 Nursing Education Perspectives. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.




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