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ERIC Number: EJ1065351
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0748-8475
Curriculum, Technology, and Higher Education
Hanson, Chad
Thought & Action, p71-79 Fall 2008
In this article, the author explains how the work of a growing number of educators is changing as a result of initiatives designed to manage the practice of college teaching. Specifically, the author presents the case of the Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS) to demonstrate how the work of college teachers is undergoing a deskilling process. When teachers use WIDS software to create course syllabi or lesson plans, they work through a series of steps, each step marked by a question, yet in a WIDS classroom, teachers tell students what to do, and successful students comply. At no point do teachers or students stop to ask, "why?" In spite of claims that WIDS is learner-centered, these competency-based models reduce the role of students to merely passing through linear sets of preordained objectives. In the WIDS model, the work of faculty is no longer considered part of a disciplinary effort to pass on and advance academic fields. Instead, faculty work is considered part of an institutional effort to document student learning outcomes, but hardly a substitute for the practice of academic freedom within scholarly disciplines. Pressure to introduce technological management systems into college classrooms is increasing despite evidence suggesting teachers perform best when they plot their actions according to the needs and interests of students, as opposed to a list of predefined outcomes. In the years ahead, it will be crucial for teachers to consider the implications of changing their practices to match the goals associated with course management technology, and it will also be vital for faculty to have a role in the discussions taking place over the re-ordering of the historic mission of our public institutions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A