On Thursday I viewed a webinar discussing the results of a recent Inside Higher Ed survey of faculty attitudes on technology; 2075 faculty and 105 administrators had been surveyed. (If you would like to view the PowerPoint from the webinar or the webinar itself, you'll find it at https://www.insidehighered.com/audio/2015/11/12/2015-survey-faculty-attitudes-technology )
Four issues stood out for me:
1. When asked “Did use of educational technology lead to improved student outcomes?” only 20% of the faculty and 35% of the administrators said outcomes were improved significantly. Tenured faculty were somewhat more skeptical than non-tenured but most were in the middle, agreeing that technology somewhat improved student outcomes. The majority of both faculty and administrators felt that the cost was worthwhile.2. However, when asked “Do for-credit online courses achieve outcomes at least equivalent to in-person courses?” only 17% of the faculty said yes, while 62% administrators said yes. One of the narrators made the point that it might be that the comparison faculty have in their minds is an idealized picture of a small group of interested, motivated, high-achieving students sitting around a seminar table discussing complex issues rather than, for instance, a big lecture hall in an introductory course.3. With respect to Plagiarism Detection Software (like Turnitin), most faculty liked it. The moderator, however, was concerned that students often don’t know what plagiarism is and pointed out that this is something teachers need to address and not just have a false sense of security that if students run their papers through the software they will understand the complicated issue of plagiarism.4. Finally, there was one issue on which everyone agreed: 93% of faculty said textbooks are priced too high, and 92% thought professors should assign more open educational resources. Here, the moderator pointed out how much time was needed to find and incorporate open educational resources into a class and, more worrisome, how much time is needed to change those resources as times change, serving as a possible disincentive for course improvement.
What do you think? Any reaction to any of these points with respect to your own attitudes and your classes here at Lincoln?