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Disruptive teaching in the 21st century* (* Title provided by the organisers)

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Presentation at the College of Economic and Management Sciences (CEMS),
University of South Africa (Unisa) Leadership Summit
21 -22 November 2016, Manhattan Hotel, Pretoria

Published in: Education

Disruptive teaching in the 21st century* (* Title provided by the organisers)

  1. 1. Disruptive teaching in the 21st century* (* Title provided by the organisers) Presentation at the College of Economic and Management Sciences (CEMS), University of South Africa (Unisa) Leadership Summit 21 -22 November 2016, Manhattan Hotel, Pretoria Paul Prinsloo University of South Africa (Unisa) @14prinsp Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montparnasse_derailment
  2. 2. Alternative title: Disrupting assumptions and practices pertaining to ‘disruptive’ teaching in a not-so-open, distance (and often distant), not- always-sure-about-the- learning institution Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montparnasse_derailment
  3. 3. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ I do not own the copyright of any of the images in this presentation. I therefore acknowledge the original copyright and licensing regime of every image used. This presentation (excluding the images) is licensed and published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
  4. 4. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/branches-tree-twigs-bark-high-238379/ Overview of the presentation • Engage with and slow down the notion of ‘disruption’ &‘disruptive’ • Briefly map the hype and critiques of the notion of ‘disruptive innovation’ • If I have to talk about ‘disruptive teaching’, then let us consider… • (In)conclusions
  5. 5. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Disruptive innovation as weasel word Image credit: https://www.amazon.com/Watsons-Dictionary-Contemporary-Cliches-Management/dp/1740513215 “Weasel words are words that have been sucked dry of meaning, they are mere ‘shells of words: words from which life has gone, facsimiles, frauds, corpses. Weasel words are the words of the powerful, the treacherous and the unfaithful, spies, assassins and thieves. Bureaucrats and ideologues love them. Tyrants cannot do without them” (Watson, 2004, pp. 1-2)
  6. 6. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ “An avalanche of nonsense. … This is not our language – because it is not written for us. This is written for the kind of people who are impressed by such language” (Kernohan, 2013) Kernohan, D. (2013, March 11). We’re under fifteen feet of pure white snow. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://followersoftheapocalyp.se/were-under-fifteen-feet-of-pure-white-snow/ Source credit: http://www.ippr.org/files/images/media/files/publication/2013/03/avalanche-is-coming_Mar2013_10432.pdf?noredirect=1
  7. 7. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Retrieved from https://medium.com/@bryanalexander/a-devils-dictionary-of-educational-technology-1c3ea9a0b932#.fwehp5qbd
  8. 8. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Retrieved from https://medium.com/@bryanalexander/a-devils-dictionary-of-educational-technology-1c3ea9a0b932#.fwehp5qbd
  9. 9. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Welcome to the age of spectacle, the era of “post-truth” and “post-rule”, the race-for-flashy-terms-and-concepts, rituals of “fake fraternisation” (Hartley, 1995), a time characterised by an obsession with the latest trend, where we believe that educational technologies can redeem bad teaching, where we uncritically embrace “Gladwellism” – “The hard sell of a big theme supported by dubious, incoherent but dramatically presented evidence” (Appleyard, 2014). Welcome to the ‘Shallows’… Appleyeard, B . (2014, April 10). Why futurologists are always wrong – and why we should be sceptical of techno-utopians. NewStatesman. Retrieved from http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/04/why- futurologists-are-always-wrong-and-why-we-should-be-sceptical-techno-utopians Hartley, D. (1995). The ‘McDonaldization’of higher education: food for thought?. Oxford Review of Education, 21(4), 409-423.
  10. 10. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Images retrieved from Amazon.com
  11. 11. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Source credit: Lepore, J. (2014, June 23). The disruption machine. NewYorker. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/23/the- disruption-machine “Disrupt or be disrupted” “The eighteenth century embraced the idea of progress; the nineteenth century had evolution; the twentieth century had growth and then innovation. Our era has disruption, which, despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence” (Lepore, 2014) “The idea of innovation is the idea of progress stripped of the aspirations of the Enlightenment, scrubbed clean of the horrors of the twentieth century, and relieved of its critics. Disruptive innovation goes further, holding out the hope of salvation against the very damnation it describes: disrupt, and you will be saved” (Lepore, 2014; emphasis added)
  12. 12. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Thompson, B. (2014, June 18). Critiquing disruption theory. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://stratechery.com/2014/critiquing- disruption-theory/ Kiesling, L. (2014, June 17). Critiquing the theory of disruptive innovation. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://knowledgeproblem.com/2014/06/17/critiquing-the-theory-of-disruptive-innovation/
  13. 13. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Dila, M.A. (2016, March 6). Pardon our disruption, Mr Christensen. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://medium.com/the- overlap/pardon-our-disruption-mr-christensen-be57d9f1433c#.1ogfsyue4 Moazed. A. (2016, February 16). Why Clayton Christensen is wrong about Uber and disruptive innovation. TechCrunch. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2016/02/27/why-clayton-christensen-is-wrong-about-uber-and-disruptive-innovation/
  14. 14. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Image credit: http://connect.citizen.co.za/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2015/10/C2.jpg?81cf05 What do we mean with ‘disruptive teaching’ in a context where…
  15. 15. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ • Students protests and disruptions brought higher education in South Africa to a standstill • A government that has systematically and increasingly defunded higher education • Student: faculty ratios have exponentially increased • Teaching is increasingly outsourced to adjunct faculty, teaching assistants and/or tutors • The workload of faculty has increased exponentially as they manage print-based and online teaching, administer external markers and e-tutors, are required to dance to the tune of the orchestra playing “Abide with me” and reorganising the deckchairs while there are signs that the ship is in trouble? What do we mean with ‘disruptive teaching’ in a context where/when…
  16. 16. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ So if I have to talk about disruptive teaching, let us consider how/that… • Our curricula still reflect the opinions, epistemologies and ontologies of mostly white male scholars based in North-Atlantic contexts • Many of our curricula are locked into agreements with publishing houses where they prescribe the curricula, shape our pedagogies and assessment practices • The notion of “you can study any time, any place, at your own pace” resembles a crude commercialisation of an industrialised process of teaching where students, actually, have very little choice • We seem to disregard the costs of prescribed text books and not consider the huge potential (and implications) of embracing open educational resources (OER) • We still subscribe to the notion that increasing student-teacher/tutor interaction (at huge cost) is the only way to address concerns about student success and throughput
  17. 17. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ So if I have to talk about disruptive teaching, let us consider how/that… • Teaching is not valued as much as research and student support is mostly an unbearable nuisance that we outsource to non- academic departments • The administrative workload of faculty has become unbearable where we have to continuously report to different stakeholders for various purposes in a frenzy of proving that somehow we are worth our salaries • We are condemned to compare and report on comparisons of student success between semesters, disregarding how curricula, pedagogies, examination timetables, macro-societal factors, institutional inefficiencies and (said softly) block adjustments of marks and changes in student/lecturer/marker profiles make comparisons tenuous if not impossible
  18. 18. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ So if I have to talk about disruptive teaching, let us consider how/that… • As we move increasingly online, the strict distinction/separation between office hours and private, personal lives are eroded as we are increasingly online, 24/7, 365 days a year • We consider two marked assignments with two tutorial letters with general, one-size-fits-all feedback as ‘formative assessment’ • We have not broken the iron triangle of cost, quality and access with many of our initiatives resulting in huge costs, initiatives that do not scale well, and with an obsession to implement before we know the impact or appropriateness of these interventions • We don’t have the time or the skills to critically engage with the student data we have access to and interrogate our assumptions about students’ prior educational experiences as predictor of their success
  19. 19. So if I have to talk about disruptive teaching, let us consider that… Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/gears-machine-old-mechanical-19979/ While distance education and open distance learning are often presented as a highly industrialised form of education, it does not mean that our processes and individuals are mere replaceable cogs in a machine
  20. 20. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fortgirl/11973269764 Cynefin framework image: http://www.hlswatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Cynefin-Adapted.jpg
  21. 21. Imagecredit:https://pixabay.com/en/binary-code-man-display-dummy-face-1327512/ Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/branches-tree-twigs-bark-high-238379/ (In)conclusions “Weasel words are words that have been sucked dry of meaning, the are mere ‘shells of words: words from which life has gone, facsimiles, frauds, corpses. Weasel words are the words of the powerful, the treacherous and the unfaithful, spies, assassins and thieves. Bureaucrats and ideologues love them. Tyrants cannot do without them” (Watson, 2004, pp. 1-2) There is a danger that we uncritically accept words like “disruption”, “innovation” and “excellence” without due consideration of whose interests are at stake, who are affected, the unintended consequences and our fiduciary duty of care to our staff, students and the communities we serve
  22. 22. THANK YOU. KE A LEBOGA. BAIE DANKIE Paul Prinsloo Research Professor in Open Distance Learning (ODL) College of Economic and Management Sciences, Office number 3-15, Club 1, Hazelwood, P O Box 392 Unisa, 0003, Republic of South Africa T: +27 (0) 12 433 4719 (office) prinsp@unisa.ac.za Skype: paul.prinsloo59 Personal blog: http://opendistanceteachingandlearning.wordpress.com Twitter profile: @14prinsp

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