Changes for Change

An overview of what personal and institutional changes would help change the way we teach.

I’ll admit it up front: I’m a policy wonk. I like having policies and I like thinking about policies.  I was once on a committee and we were considering adding a new graduation requirement and I came up with a list of 22 rules without breaking a sweat. Except for such committee assignments, I try not to inflict this interest/ability on others, but it doesn’t keep me from thinking about how changes I might make personally might end up as institution-wide policy.  Thus we have this post.

It isn’t a question of “flip or don’t flip”, but a question of what position or attitude should I (we) have to support beneficial, productive, and necessary changes in my (our) teaching.  Here’s my list (with longer posts on each to follow):

Open: I need to break down the barriers between my class and the rest of the world (think Open Enrollment) and I need to provide ways to share my teaching resources and look for more community input (think Open Source).

Agile: I need to have a flexible framework and be able to quickly adjust to changes that occur in my classroom.

Forgiving: I need ways to evaluate my teaching both locally and globally, not for punishment, but for growth, and I need ways to allow for things to not go well.

Fault Tolerant: I need to design and implement my course both expecting the best of everyone and everything involved, but also being able to allow for and adjust to things that don’t fit my plan, and still achieve my goals.

Entrepreneurial: I need to find ways to discover and explore new ideas, and means to bring them to my classroom.

Note: As I write these characteristics, I can’t help but see that they are also some of the big things I want for my students. So, as I explore ideas about creating a personal and campus culture based on these ideas, I should also think about how to add my students and classroom into the mix.


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