Institutional Change towards Innovative Practices

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Dron (2014) argued that there have been “rapid and radical changes in teaching and learning technologies” (p.259) over the past ten years and that this wave of innovation will continue to drive changes in education. The author noted that there are many barriers to institutions embracing and utilizing new technologies for learning, and this resonated with me as many obstacles in the ability to select, manage, and interconnect innovative technologies are too often barriers to innovative changes in my organization. Although these abrupt technology changes are occurring, too often, educational institutions are just trying to keep up and are scrambling to re-invent curriculum, activities, and assessment opportunities to provide learners a modernized experience. Annand (2007) postulated that the particular problems of higher education, providing innovative experiences, would not disappear anytime soon and that many academic programs are continuing to operate in conventional, inflexible ways.  In my experience, faculty are all over the spectrum of embracing technology, and not all are incorporating it with pedagogy in mind.  Faculty that are wanting to embrace innovation are often frustrated by the slow crawl our institution is on in supporting authentic, innovative opportunities and spaces. What are the barriers to your institution? Would you consider it to be moving forward, standing still, or going backward?

Annand, D. (2007). Re-organizing universities for the information age. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3)

Dron, J. (2014). Chapter 9: Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & Anderson, T. (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781927356623.01

2 thoughts on “Institutional Change towards Innovative Practices

  1. Hi, Lisa. I agree that many academic institutes retain significant barriers against innovation. Whether face-to-face or online, their predominantly traditional classroom structure offering “paced, cohort-based education” (Annand, p. 1) appears easier to support than more self-directed, network-based learning. The resistance appears to come from the structure itself, but also from the people within it, including many government, district and school administrators, and teachers.

    Despite these barriers, and although it may be a slow and resistant process, ever-emerging innovations and changing societies and learner needs appear to be pushing institutes of higher education forward into the future. Will technology “fundamentally change the way education is delivered to students, or… augment the traditional way that higher education has been conducted by replicating the classroom in an electronic environment” (Annand, 2007, p.8)? The answer is yet unknown although I suspect, despite education’s resistant “hard technology” (Dron, 2014), change will prevail.

    Annand, D. (2007). Re-organizing universities for the information age. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v8i3.372

    Dron, J. (2014). Chapter 9: Innovation and Change: Changing how we Change. In Zawacki-Richter, O. & Anderson, T. (Eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda. Athabasca, AB: AU Press.

    1. Thank you for sharing your optimistic perspective, Sherry,

      I also feel that although the future is unknown we are moving along despite the complex barriers, and agree it is being constantly shaped by the changes in greater society and the needs of the learners; which has the potential to revolutionize the way in which we deliver instruction. The “frustrated” faculty I speak to, are also keen to champion this progression and will be instrumental in facilitating this change.

      Cheers, Lisa

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