Grazing - a personal blog from Steve Ehrmann

Steve Ehrmann is an author, speaker, and consultant.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spreading the word about innovations in teaching

As you may know, I spent almost 20 years funding innovative educational projects, most in undergraduate education, many using technology.  Most (though not all) of those projects were guided by the idea that our job as funders was to help demonstrate what was possible; it was then the job of the educational institutions to learn about that (by attending the right conferences and reading the right journals) and using what would work for them.  "Build it and they will come."  Of course things don't work that way. We also funded a few projects explicitly designed to get ideas and materials into wider use: publishing and advertising materials, for example, and experiments with new approaches to faculty development. But these, too, were limited by the three year maximum to our grants. 

Now I'm working on this problem from the other end. Suppose that, in a decade or two, some of the best, easiest, cheapest, and most educationally important techniques and materials we know of today had become quite widely used by 'mainstream' faculty all over this country. How could that have happened? What would funders, accreditors, university leaders, faculty champions and others need to have done in order for something so odd to have happened? I'm especially interested in improving the dissemination and effective adaptation of teaching techniques and resources in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 

I'll summarize some ideas, and sources, in this blog over coming months. In the meantime, if you have ideas, or suggestions about what I should read, or who I should speak with, please post it or email me at

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