As the Solutions Institute prepares to rollout version 2.0 of our Edison Services toolset we are asking ourselves, “how do we get faculty to use it?” We went through a similar adoption and dissemination effort about four years ago when we started rolling out the first Online IST courses. As the chart below indicates, we were very successful in getting faculty to start using the course materials. It was a lot of good old fashioned leg work that got the ball rolling – visiting different PSU campuses around the Commonwealth, lots of face time with faculty in workshops, and other “high touch” kinds of events.
With this Edison rollout things are different. We aren’t really pushing it like we did with Online IST … it is a different approach and it is a different toolset than courseware. What we are attempting to do now is create something that supports all forms of teaching and learning, innovates in a space that desperately needs it, and really just enables new ways to build community around the concept of teaching and learning with technology. Our goals with Online IST included creating a consistent and quality learning experience at the core of the IST curriculum and build a next generation learning environment that students would actually enjoy using. I think we did that and students seemed happy and faculty adopted the technology. With Edison 2.0, we are trying to get EVERYONE within IST, not just a subset, to use it as the central hub to his or her digital teaching and learning life. The graph below indicates our hopes for adoption over the next several years.
The idea is to make sure every faculty member uses technology for teaching and learning purposes in an appropriate and dynamic fashion. Let’s be honest, part of what we are doing is trying to get students excited about our curriculum … higher education has become a very competitive environment … with budgets as tight as they are its very important to land good students and keep enrollment strong. With that in mind, the entire experience of taking an IST class needs to be as exciting as it possibly can be. One thing our students demand is good utilization of technology in the classroom and by them starting their experience with access to a next generation suite of tools that can support their learning goes a long way towards convincing them that IST faculty know what they’re doing.
I just read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education today that discusses student’s views of technology in the classroom. What I found interesting was that of the nearly 4,400 students surveyed, nearly 50% said that the biggest benefit of classroom technology is convenience, while only 13% said that improved learning was taking place … What Edison aims at primarily is that convenience factor … but, with keeping an eye on improving the way faculty structure a teaching with technology experience. One of our primary goals with Edison was to streamline and improve the teaching and learning experience for both students and faculty. We wanted faculty to be able to very quickly create cutting edge teaching experiences and we wanted to empower students with features that other LMS/CMS tools just can’t deliver.
But what this entry is really about is adoption. How do we get faculty to recognize the value in the toolset and to take the time to explore and ultimately deliver their materials via Edison? Furthermore, how do we get students to demand an experience like the one they can only get from Edison? Well, to answer the first, we’ll go directly to our faculty, put them through some usability testing, ask them what they want, and teach them how to use the tools. Hopefully they will see the value, understand how this will help them (higher ratings and better perceived quality of delivery), and become strong supporters of the technology. Back when we rolled out Online IST, we picked two or three key members of the faculty as pilot testers and then let them do the selling to the rest of the group – that worked and we’ll do it again. As for student adoption, well, that will have to wait until faculty begin to really use it. When edison 2.5 rolls out for the Spring semester the community tools will be ready and I think students will begin to demand having it available in all their classes.
For now, its back to the good old fashioned leg work to get them to show up on August 15th for the rollout … until then, we can only plan for a good release. If you have ideas, I know we’d love to hear them!