Posted in EDU505

EDU505 Blog Post #1, or “Well, this is drastically different, isn’t it?”

Up to this point in my graduate education here at Post, I’ve been focusing specifically on online education and learning, as that’s what my grad certificate was in. Now that I’ve started on the M.Ed. program, I’m learning more about something called “futuring.” Futuring, for the record, is essentially when one looks at past events to predict and plan for future ones.  At least, that’s the best as I can figure.

My face the first week of class.
My face the first week of class.

Throughout the first half of the class, there’s been a lot of focus on futuring and its role in education. To be fair, it seems like a terrific idea–read about current trends, analyze what they mean for future trends, develop a number of ideas about what could happen in the future, and plan for them–that’s futuring in a nutshell (Sobrero, 2004).  Indeed, our final project for this class is to develop a Future Vision of Education Case Study; that is, identify what our personal utopian ideal is for our educational institution, and plan for how to get there. Which, of course, left me scratching my head a little bit. How, exactly, do I do that? So I turned to my academic success counselor Mike (who, and I could never say this enough, is absolutely amazing), and I asked him.

Now, let me pause here for a moment and say that I also teach here, and one of my biggest pet peeves, and biggest issues, is that some students come to me completely unprepared. Unprofessional writing, text speak, horrible grammar and spelling, improper APA format–and while I teach a lower level course, it’s not one of the first the students take, so by the time they get to me, at least *some* of this should be second nature. I shouldn’t have to tell them how to properly cite APA format. I shouldn’t have to tell them that using text speak is inappropriate in a college classroom.

But I do, apparently.
But I do, apparently.

So when Mike asked me what the future of my classroom and my students looked like, I told him. And from there, my future vision was born. And I could build a solid future vision case study from this; indeed, I will do exactly that, because at the end of the day, it’s necessary.

I was all sold to write this post based solely on the idea of futuring and how vital it is to the goals and plans of higher education. As I was researching, though, I found an article written a couple of days ago on Inside Higher Ed, an online source for news, jobs, and opinions on higher education (About Us: Inside Higher Ed, n.d.). This article talked about how the future of the future of higher education maybe doesn’t quite do what we think, or want, it to do. The author claims that the futuring of higher education usually goes one of two ways–it either takes “the next big thing” and expand from the inside out, or take the “next big thing” and embed it within the structure from the outside in (Butin, 2015). Butin (2015) uses the University of Florida’s failed attempt to put its traditional model onto an online platform as an example of the first path, and Minerva, a for-profit startup that looks like it sends students around the world to learn, as the second path. He argues, though, that the vision is never about the actual education, but more about the technology–and I can’t honestly say he’s wrong.

If you think about it, everything we’ve done so far in the course regarding futuring includes the use of technology to improve it, regardless of what’s wrong with it. Is that truly what we want for future students? A future full of technology but broken education? I certainly don’t want that. But what’s the alternative? Butin (2015) argues that the way to see a more realistic future is twofold–envision how technology can make the present better for the vast majority of current students, and accept that digital learning technologies are better at transmitting information which, he argues, would require a drastic rethinking of what faculty do, of what and how students learn, and what we want them to accomplish.

CRAZY TALK!
CRAZY TALK!

Can we do it? I like to think so.

References:

About Us: Inside Higher Ed. (n.d.). Retrieved from Inside Higher Ed:

https://www.insidehighered.com/content/about-us

Butin, D. (2015, November 9). The Future of the Future of Higher Education. Higher Ed Beta.

Retrieved from https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/higher-ed-beta/future-future-

higher-education

Sobrero, P. (2004). The Steps for Futuring. Journal of Extension, 42(3). Retrieved from

http://www.joe.org/joe/2004june/comm2.php

 

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2 thoughts on “EDU505 Blog Post #1, or “Well, this is drastically different, isn’t it?”

  1. Erica, I have to agree that Mike is absolutely great, and I also cannot say that often enough! I am glad he was able to help you out with thinking about your FVE.

    I also agree that we cannot expect the infusion of technology to fix a broken system. Not to get political at all, but I was delighted when I heard Marco Rubio (Republican candidate for POTUS) say, in last week’s debate, that one of his goals would be to fix the outdated higher ed system. We need to start, obviously, much earlier than that but we DO need to fix the broken system as indicated by Butin – not rely on technology to fix it!

    In addition, I think we need to look beyond the “stuff” we call technology and consider the other Key Trends outlined by the Horizon Report – advancing cultures of change and innovation, increasing cross-content collaboration, focus on measuring learning, examining open educational resources, personalized learning, and more that don’t cost money but cost angst among many who are embedded in the current culture!

    Like

  2. Hi Erica,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post. It seems like you went a different way than most of our class and talked more about personal experiences you’ve had with your education. I enjoyed your take on what teaching a class here at Post is like, and I think you have an interesting insight into online learning that most of us may not. Your post made me think of my own experience teaching and tutoring during my undergraduate courses, because I often struggled with students who, by their ages, should have learned more during their education than they seemed to. This was very frustrating, but I couldn’t help thinking that it was the education system that failed them and not them who failed me. When thinking about how frustrating my experience was with students in this context, I also think about how important futuring has become during this course. In order to improve education for students and expect them to know as much as possible, we must first come up with different solutions for teaching these students the information they need to know. Great post!

    -Amy

    Like

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