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Quantity and Quality in University Teaching

Presentation I gave at the Teaching and Learning with Vision conference, 2011.

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Quantity and Quality in University Teaching

  1. 1. some minor notes (university, why?) Text
  2. 2. 1
  3. 3. exercise caution Beware of carpet baggers from the south. What I am going to wonder and wander about is teaching. Been invited here before, I liked my ivory tower too much. What’s a university to do, educationally?2
  4. 4. LIKE A BLOG
  5. 5. like a blog This is a style of ‘thick description’.3
  6. 6. like a blog This is a style of ‘thick description’. What I am talking about comes from my experience as a media academic and educator.4
  7. 7. like a blog This is a style of ‘thick description’. What I am talking about comes from my experience as a media academic and educator. I work in a post industrial media ecology.5
  8. 8. like a blog This is a style of ‘thick description’. What I am talking about comes from my experience as a media academic and educator. I work in a post industrial media ecology. I think all of us do.
  9. 9. like a blog This is a style of ‘thick description’. What I am talking about comes from my experience as a media academic and educator. I work in a post industrial media ecology. I think all of us do. It is an ecology more than it is an economy.6
  10. 10. MY TRIBE
  11. 11. my tribe I work in media studies, and more recently honours education across media and communication.7
  12. 12. my tribe I work in media studies, and more recently honours education across media and communication. It is a luxury, yet this luxury lets us conceal an awful lot.8
  13. 13. my tribe I work in media studies, and more recently honours education across media and communication. It is a luxury, yet this luxury lets us conceal an awful lot. I am not an education academic, though I have been to education conferences.
  14. 14. my tribe I work in media studies, and more recently honours education across media and communication. It is a luxury, yet this luxury lets us conceal an awful lot. I am not an education academic, though I have been to education conferences. Education academics appear to be as socialised into conservative academic norms as any other discipline or professional body.9
  15. 15. SCARCITY
  16. 16. scarcity I studied media in the 1980s. I went to university to find;
  17. 17. scarcity I studied media in the 1980s. I went to university to find; a scholarly community, a video camera, an edit suite, a reference library, experts, and somewhere to argue about ideas.
  18. 18. scarcity I studied media in the 1980s. I went to university to find; a scholarly community, a video camera, an edit suite, a reference library, experts, and somewhere to argue about ideas. I can now find the community online, the camera is in my pocket, the edit suite is on my laptop, the library begins with Wikipedia, and I can find outstanding blogs.10
  19. 19. scarcity I studied media in the 1980s. I went to university to find; a scholarly community, a video camera, an edit suite, a reference library, experts, and somewhere to argue about ideas. I can now find the community online, the camera is in my pocket, the edit suite is on my laptop, the library begins with Wikipedia, and I can find outstanding blogs. Most of my students today go for the same reason I did, fetishising the technology.
  20. 20. scarcity I studied media in the 1980s. I went to university to find; a scholarly community, a video camera, an edit suite, a reference library, experts, and somewhere to argue about ideas. I can now find the community online, the camera is in my pocket, the edit suite is on my laptop, the library begins with Wikipedia, and I can find outstanding blogs. Most of my students today go for the same reason I did, fetishising the technology. Staff do the same.11
  21. 21. scarcity In 1980 it was enough for the university to offer these things. Quantity was sufficient because of scarcity. Now?
  22. 22. BEINGACADEMIC
  23. 23. being academic I got to be an academic because I am smart.
  24. 24. being academic I got to be an academic because I am smart. Yet at primary and secondary school you get taught without being socialised into being teachers.12
  25. 25. being academic I got to be an academic because I am smart. Yet at primary and secondary school you get taught without being socialised into being teachers. At university good teaching too easily becomes socialising our students into becoming petite academics, little ‘me’s’.13
  26. 26. being academic As someone with this particular sort of ‘smart’ it turns out I’m good at explaining things. I’m an associative thinker (which is one of the reasons I work in hypertext) and can join up stuff for others.
  27. 27. being academic As someone with this particular sort of ‘smart’ it turns out I’m good at explaining things. I’m an associative thinker (which is one of the reasons I work in hypertext) and can join up stuff for others. But notice what has already happened.
  28. 28. being academic As someone with this particular sort of ‘smart’ it turns out I’m good at explaining things. I’m an associative thinker (which is one of the reasons I work in hypertext) and can join up stuff for others. But notice what has already happened.14
  29. 29. being academic As someone with this particular sort of ‘smart’ it turns out I’m good at explaining things. I’m an associative thinker (which is one of the reasons I work in hypertext) and can join up stuff for others. But notice what has already happened. I had become habituated to using my academic norms to judge the academic merit of my students.15
  30. 30. QUANTITY & QUALITY
  31. 31. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality.16
  32. 32. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality. A quantity is something that has number, scale.
  33. 33. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality. A quantity is something that has number, scale. It is pretty easy to measure (it is something that is measurable).
  34. 34. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality. A quantity is something that has number, scale. It is pretty easy to measure (it is something that is measurable). It is delightfully empirical.17
  35. 35. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality. A quantity is something that has number, scale. It is pretty easy to measure (it is something that is measurable). It is delightfully empirical. A quality is an attribute that is independent of quantity, of scale.
  36. 36. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality. A quantity is something that has number, scale. It is pretty easy to measure (it is something that is measurable). It is delightfully empirical. A quality is an attribute that is independent of quantity, of scale. How many kids I have is a quantity. How I feel about them is a quality.
  37. 37. quantity and quality I have been thinking about quantity and quality. A quantity is something that has number, scale. It is pretty easy to measure (it is something that is measurable). It is delightfully empirical. A quality is an attribute that is independent of quantity, of scale. How many kids I have is a quantity. How I feel about them is a quality. This is independent of quantity. (Though a change in quantity can cause qualitative change.)18
  38. 38. quantity and quality19
  39. 39. quantity and quality “How do you know you are assessing what your students have learnt?” CourseHero.com as outside the fire learning wall. From here it was but a skip and a jump to turnitin (.com). It is an untenable and irrelevant arms race that has nothing to do with learning, but a lot to do with the acculturation of students into the habitus of the university (as if they care).20
  40. 40. quantity and quality “How do you know you are assessing what your students have learnt?” CourseHero.com as outside the fire learning wall. From here it was but a skip and a jump to turnitin (.com). It is an untenable and irrelevant arms race that has nothing to do with learning, but a lot to do with the acculturation of students into the habitus of the university (as if they care). Evidence of copy and paste does not tell me what has been learnt.21
  41. 41. quantity and quality I think there are simple category errors happening that confuse quantity with quality. More does not equal better. Whether this is oversight, compliance, auditing, assessment, access, contact. Doing more (quantity), in universities, is not a solution. It is doing differently (quality). My problem is that if a university has defined itself via scarcity, what is my job, now?22
  42. 42. quantity and quality I think there are simple category errors happening that confuse quantity with quality. More does not equal better. Whether this is oversight, compliance, auditing, assessment, access, contact. Doing more (quantity), in universities, is not a solution. It is doing differently (quality). My problem is that if a university has defined itself via scarcity, what is my job, now? And what is ‘quality’?
  43. 43. PARADIGMCHANGE?
  44. 44. paradigm change23
  45. 45. paradigm change I am the first or second person in the world to have started videoblogging.
  46. 46. paradigm change I am the first or second person in the world to have started videoblogging. However, my idea for videoblogging is quite different to what it has become.
  47. 47. paradigm change I am the first or second person in the world to have started videoblogging. However, my idea for videoblogging is quite different to what it has become. I still think video for the internet age will happen.
  48. 48. paradigm change I am the first or second person in the world to have started videoblogging. However, my idea for videoblogging is quite different to what it has become. I still think video for the internet age will happen. Like blogs did for writing.
  49. 49. paradigm change I am the first or second person in the world to have started videoblogging. However, my idea for videoblogging is quite different to what it has become. I still think video for the internet age will happen. Like blogs did for writing. With blogs we have trackback, blogrolls, pings, blogs and blog posts. It is a network sensible thing made up of whole fragments. It is porous and granular.24
  50. 50. paradigm change I often meet staff who tell me blogs don’t work with their students.
  51. 51. paradigm change I often meet staff who tell me blogs don’t work with their students. Students complain about having to do yet more blogging. They keep multiple blogs for different subjects. They are told what to write and assessed on just these.
  52. 52. paradigm change I often meet staff who tell me blogs don’t work with their students. Students complain about having to do yet more blogging. They keep multiple blogs for different subjects. They are told what to write and assessed on just these. The same can be said about the essay, but no one, students or staff, ever ask why another essay has to be written.25
  53. 53. paradigm change I often meet staff who tell me blogs don’t work with their students. Students complain about having to do yet more blogging. They keep multiple blogs for different subjects. They are told what to write and assessed on just these. The same can be said about the essay, but no one, students or staff, ever ask why another essay has to be written. If you don’t blog how do you imagine you could teach with a blog?
  54. 54. paradigm change I often meet staff who tell me blogs don’t work with their students. Students complain about having to do yet more blogging. They keep multiple blogs for different subjects. They are told what to write and assessed on just these. The same can be said about the essay, but no one, students or staff, ever ask why. If you don’t blog how do you imagine you could teach with a blog? It is a verb and a noun.
  55. 55. paradigm change Blogging requires a change in practice. This is a qualitative change. You can get there via quantity, but numbers by themselves won’t do it.
  56. 56. paradigm change26
  57. 57. AFFECTIVEPEDAGOGY
  58. 58. affective pedagogy If scarcity is no longer the reason to go to university, what is? What is the ecology of the post industrial? What do they learn from me if not my expertise? What is this idea of ‘quality’?
  59. 59. affective pedagogy University today should provide an experience that changes how I understand and what I understand. To learn how to ‘be’ a learner in my discipline. To learn a vocabulary of tacit knowledge that is ready to hand. Quality is not quality assurance (which is an audit culture’s effort to make the quantitative appear qualitative). It is a qualitative change in understanding, a difference that makes a difference in how something is known.27
  60. 60. affective pedagogy It is the difference that makes a difference in how I know, in itself.
  61. 61. affective pedagogy How? We shift towards other, differing, new making — how we make (social, shared, public, personal, aggregative), what we make (mixed media, logical forms outside of the teleological, writing with not to media), and who manages the making (students and teachers as collaborators). A qualitative change in the forms used to express knowledge, in what counts as knowledge, and how it is conducted.28
  62. 62. paradigm change29
  63. 63. some things that influenced this Ponterotto, Joseph G. “Brief Note on the Origins, Evolution, and Meaning of the Qualitative Research Concept ‘Thick Description’.” The Qualitative Report 11.3 (2006) : 538–549. Efimova, Lilia. “Blending Blogging Into an Academic Text.” Internet Research 9.0 (2008) : 1–12. Frayling, C. “Research in Art and Design.” Royal College of Art Research Papers 1 (1993) : 1–5. Meyer, Jan, and Ray Land. ETL Project Occasional Report 4. “Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines.” 2005. Bell, Daniel. “Welcome to the Post-Industrial Society.” Physics Today February (1976) : 46–49. Shirky, Clay. Clay Shirky. “The Collapse of Complex Business Models.” http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/04/the-collapse-of-complex- business-models/ (April 1, 2010.) A Manifesto for Media Education. http:// www.manifestoformediaeducation.co.uk/ Simon, Roger I. Teaching Against the Grain:Texts for a Pedagogy of Possibility. Bergin and Garvey, 1993.
  64. 64. thank you Adrian Miles http://vogmae.net.au @vogmaeSchool of Media and Communication RMIT University

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