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Disseminating Innovations: Lessons from the iCampus Study and Other Research

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by Stephen Ehrmann, Teaching, Learning, and Technology Group. Presented at the Workshop on Disseminating CCLI Innovations: Arlington, VA, February 18-19, 2010. Workshop organized by Joe Tront, Flora McMartin and Brandon Muramatsu.

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Disseminating Innovations: Lessons from the iCampus Study and Other Research

  1. 1. Disseminating Innovations: Lessons from the iCampus Study and other research Stephen C. Ehrmann, Ph.D. Director, The Flashlight Program, Vice President, The TLT Group Cite as: Ehrmann, S., (2010). Disseminating Innovations: Lessons from the iCampus Study and Other Research. Presented at the Workshop on Disseminating CCLI Innovations: Arlington, VA, February 18-19, 2010. Unless otherwise specified this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License ( creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/)
  2. 2. Thanks! <ul><li>110+ institutional subscribers to TLT Group services </li></ul><ul><li>Washington State Univ. (Flashlight Online), </li></ul><ul><li>Bucks County CC (hybrid workshops), </li></ul><ul><li>Butler University (low threshold activities) </li></ul><ul><li>Central Michigan U (5 minute workshops) </li></ul><ul><li>Drexel University (faculty assessment toolkit) </li></ul><ul><li>IUPUI (e-portfolios); </li></ul><ul><li>George Washington U (faculty development strategies) </li></ul><ul><li>Gannon U (seven principles) </li></ul><ul><li>Hamline U, NC State (TLTRs) </li></ul><ul><li>IUPUI (cost modeling, TLTRs, ePortfolios) </li></ul><ul><li>Johnson C. Smith (ARQ) </li></ul><ul><li>Mesa CC (Diversity) </li></ul><ul><li>MIT (adoption of innovation) </li></ul><ul><li>National Council on Science and Environment (respond to climate change) </li></ul><ul><li>U of Nebraska (LTAs, classroom technology), </li></ul><ul><li>Oregon State (evaluation of CMS) </li></ul><ul><li>U of Nevada, Reno (ARQ) </li></ul><ul><li>U Queensland (ePortfolios, learning spaces) </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech (ePortfolios) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Outline <ul><li>Setting the stage: what do you already believe about good practice in dissemination? </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons from FIPSE experiences, study (1978-85) </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons from the Valuable Viable Software study(1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons from iCampus study (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Final suggestions (2010) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Setting the Stage <ul><li>Imagine you’re an NSF program officer who’s making funding choices this year. If something you fund this year doesn’t get into use by 50% of all potentially interested faculty in 10 years, you’ll be subjected to horrendous embarrassment. </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of projects would you fund this year? In the coming years? Why? </li></ul>
  5. 5. II. FIPSE <ul><li>Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (HEW/ED) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1:30 ideas funded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Potential for dissemination (far-reaching impact) one of only three criteria for funding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1978: Grant competition for best dissemination strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1980-82: External evaluation </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Beware of proposals that claim to be the first of their kind – no one else needs this? No collaborators? Nothing to build on? </li></ul><ul><li>Seek a family of projects that could start an avalanche of adaptation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not every good idea is a potential avalanche </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Replication rare, adaptation more common, influence most common </li></ul>FIPSE Lessons
  7. 7. FIPSE (2) <ul><li>Almost everything we know about (adult) learning can be applied to dissemination, e.g., </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The experience and needs of the potential adopter influence how they understand the innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So study that experience and use it to craft your dissemination strategy for that group. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. FIPSE (3) <ul><li>One size doesn’t fit all. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovations that require systematic intervention for adoption also require a prolonged and expensive dissemination/support. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other innovations can be passed along virtually by word of mouth (virally). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moral: don’t try to impose the same dissemination strategy on all innovations. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. III. Valuable, Viable Software <ul><li>What kinds of software had had the greatest beneficial influence on education? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Worldware” – technology created for use in the world, and then also used in education (e.g., research tools) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student editions of worldware – simpler versions of worldware adapted for instructional purposes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nicheware – inexpensive, specialized apps that can be learned easily, spread easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>- Morris, Ehrmann, Kumar, … Valuable, Viable Software in Education: Case Studies and Analysis (McGraw-Hill, 1994) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Why Worldware #1? <ul><li>Multiple uses: cumulative influence, low cost/use. </li></ul><ul><li>Marketplace powers the dissemination. People either could use the software before the course or are motivated to learn it. </li></ul><ul><li>Market for worldware already large, larger than for courseware, so: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scale of use  lower prices, better support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curriculum at less risk of disruption when operating systems change, a grad student developer leaves, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. IV. iCampus Study (2006) <ul><li>7 year project - MIT and Microsoft </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$25,000,000 plus collaborative effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1999-2006 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>70 faculty projects (mode: ~ $500K; iLabs over $7M); </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>30 student projects (mode: ~$55,000/grant) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Software open source, free </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>10% for outreach </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TLT/Flashlight commissioned to study factors affecting wider adoption in the final year </li></ul></ul>- -
  12. 12. iCampus Study (2005-2006) <ul><li>Five iCampus projects were studied </li></ul><ul><ul><li>iLabs (remote laboratories, infrastructure for sharing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>iMOAT (writing assessment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TEAL (studio physics) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>XMAS (annotation of video) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>xTutor (enhanced study in computer science) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>150+ interviews and study of project documents </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.tltgroup.org/iCampus </li></ul>- -
  13. 13. Examples of Findings <ul><li>PIs faced many barriers to telling faculty about their projects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Were not part of the kinds of invisible colleges (in contrast to their lives as researchers) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Felt that talking about their projects would seen as implying they were better than their colleagues </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Suggestive Incidents <ul><li>NSF ‘encouraged’ John Belcher to connect to an invisible college, making him treat his teaching more like his research </li></ul><ul><li>Pete Donaldson’s XMAS spread easily because he was already a widely-known, trusted leader in this arena </li></ul><ul><li>Leslie Perelman created a community around his project by asking lots of potential adopters to help create project specs on day 1, pilot testing later. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Recommendations <ul><li>Improve education widely so that it becomes more authentic, active, collaborative, and feedback-rich. </li></ul><ul><li>Create demand for adoption of new ideas by rewarding faculty members for continually and cumulatively improving teaching in their programs. </li></ul><ul><li>Nurture coalitions for instructional improvement, within and across institutions, in order to create better channels for sharing and improving innovations. </li></ul><ul><li>Create more higher education-corporate alliances in order to support the development and dissemination of new educational technology materials and practices. </li></ul><ul><li>Supply faculty innovators with central services in educational design, software development, assessment methods, formative evaluation, and/or in sharing ideas with others who teach comparable courses. </li></ul>- -
  16. 16. V. Final Suggestions (2010) <ul><li>Teaching/learning activities determine outcomes. Software: one ingredient enabling change in activity. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunity: time-saving, transformative change in fundamental activity in the discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disseminate the improved activity, not software. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing the activity: longer than lifespan of software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan for a 5-15 year campaign of time-saving increments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>- “Improving Higher Learning by Taking the Long View: Ten Recommendations about Time, Money and Technology,” Ehrmann </li></ul>
  17. 17. Cite as: Ehrmann, S., (2010). Disseminating Innovations: Lessons from the iCampus Study and Other Research. Presented at the Workshop on Disseminating CCLI Innovations: Arlington, VA, February 18-19, 2010. Unless otherwise specified this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License ( creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/)

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