Like some others, I define "academic transformation" as making gains in selected facets of access, quality and affordability in higher education.
- Access: How many people can learn? what kinds of people can learn?
- Quality: What are the outcomes? how effective are the practices aimed at fostering that learning?
- Affordability: Is a particular type of stakeholder willing and able to invest a particular resource over the long term? Stakeholders include students, faculty, units such as academic departments and teaching centers, institutions, and benefactors. Relevant resources include time, money, and facilities.
In practice that triangle can be stretched. For example, the shift from hand-copied manuscripts to printed books in higher learning enabled gains in certain aspects of all three goals. More recently the growth of the Internet offers a wider range of more affordable resources to a larger number of learners. Flipped courses offer potential gains in all three spheres.
A lot of people are talking about this kind of threefold transformation. I am beginning to study:
- Who's trying to do it?
- How's it going?
- Are there lessons to be learned from their experiences about how to conceptualize and implement academic transformation?
- Perhaps people at an institution are trying to transform a crucial teaching/learning activity such as coaching, assessment of higher order learning, or capstone courses.
- You might know of an effort to energize students, get them to take personal responsibility for assessing their own learning, or to become more resilient so that they can get more value from their academic programs;
- Perhaps a college or degree program has taken on a form that makes it more effective in all three areas than many of its competitors.
- You might recall a particular course with an unusual design that happens to have strengths in all three of these areas.
- The work that occurs to you might focus mostly one of the three goals but potentially have benefits in the other two as well. For example efforts to make education more affordable might potentially have implications for both access and quality.
- Maybe you know of an effort to make gains on a scale beyond that of single institutions - a new policy, or consortium, or mediating institution helping sustain relationships between distant learners and distant institutions.
- You might be aware of an effort to help programs judge how well they're doing in one, two or all three of these goal areas.
- Making a serious effort to be strong in some aspects of each of these three goal area;
- Paying attention to what's actually happening in each area, so that the goal doesn't devolve into a marketing tagline ("We're a quality program!!!!"
Please email your suggestions to ehrmannsteve at gmail.com.