Saturday, January 17, 2015

Is it time for us to take back our field? A question for AECT members.

The Trend
I read with interest today's announcement that William & Mary has hired its first associate provost of e-learning initiatives. This is a disturbing trend; not that universities are adding high-level online/e-learning administrative posts. I am happy that universities are showing more support for and feeding the e-learning cash cow. And, I certainly don't question the abilities of the individual selected by the college.  I take issue however with the academic backgrounds and training of these new e-learning leaders. As I read these announcements, I rarely encounter the names of my AECT colleagues.  All-too-often, the selected individuals come from all walks of academia, except the learning sciences.
Therein lies the problem, it seems. AECT members, the researchers and practitioners who know more about teaching and learning than anyone else on the planet, are not represented in these upper-level positions.

The Solution?
Granted, university administration is certainly not for everyone. However, I would think (and hope) that more of us (AECT members) would be "throwing our hats into the ring." We continually complain that as THE leaders in our field, our message is not getting out. Perhaps, by aggressively pursuing leadership positions, we can take back our field? Maybe this is something that we might address at a 2015 AECT International Convention session? Let's keep the conversation going.


Ed Caffarella said...

Thanks for your comments from a veteran and retired member of the field. Members of AECT should be taking leadership roles in positions such as the one you discussed. As I look back over my career I moved back and forth between straight faculty positions and administrative positions. Many of my contemporaries did the same. I would encourage younger faculty members to spend some time in administration. I found that my administration experience enhanced my teaching and that my time as a faculty member made me a better administrator.
Ed Caffarella

House on Bob's Street said...

I find that in too many teacher education programs, there is a belief that content area faculty have the sufficient background to teach the technology related courses. So what you get are many initiatives that fail as they are no supported by the research literature. Its pretty obvious that the research background knowledge in technology is a big shortfall in this point of view.