Innovative U: Beginning Notes

Reading The Innovative University by Christensen and Eyring.

I am going to take some notes here.

To a significant degree, colleges and universities have become expensive as a result of attempting to attract the most capable and discerning student-customers, not because of trying to accomodate employees. (xxi) The traditional university is still indispensable. Mastering the challenges and opportunities presented by a fast-paced, global society requires more than just basic technical skill and cognitive competence. Young college students in particular need an environment in which they can not only study but also broaden their horizons and simply “grow up.” (xxiii) [I]t is no longer as important (xxiii) to evidence educational capacity via brick-and-mortar facilities and PhD-trained faculty as to demonstrate student learning. (xxiv)

This last I actually disagree with. I think the argument that this statement alludes to is that PhD folks aren’t important in the new-world-order of higher education. I don’t think that is true–or I don’t think it should be true. I believe that the value-added by PhD professors (folks who have thought long and hard about their fields) is significant, even in an innovatively-disrupted future for higher education.

A disruptive innovation… disrupts the bigger-and-better cycle by bringing to market a product or service that is not as good as the best traditional offerings but is more affordable and easier to use. (xxiv)

Ah, here again, I disagree. I think that online learning (which they reference immediately afterwards) can actually be just as good, even though more affordable. “Easier to use” is a judgment call and I would argue that technology is easier to use in some ways (accessible from even remote areas) but not in others (requires personal discipline that an hour in class 3x a week helps develop).

I also think that some f2f classes (mine, for instance) offers the tutorials and discussion boards that the authors deny match with f2f classes.

[I]nstitutions of higher education must develop strategies that transcend imitation. They must also master the disruptive technology of online learning and make other innovations. (xxvi)

Problem with this statement? I’m looking for rhetorical analysis here. 1. Says cannot imitate. 2. Says must imitate.

What does this mean?

For me, it means the credibility of the authors just dropped a little bit.

…to thrive they must build on what they have always done best. (xxvi)

Two things done well: caring and professional teaching.

What I think that means we need to do is create a system (of online learning, since that seems to be the focus of the book) that takes advantage of those two things.

They (BYU-Idaho) defined scholarship unusually broadly, to include and even emphasize the scholarship of learning. (xxviii)

“competency-based instruction” (xxix)
I like this idea. Students test through subjects and move forward as they learn (or as they show proficiency already obtained). I think our freshman would be shocked–shocked!–by how little they know if we did a proficiency-based movement for classes.

Times of terror and deepest misery may be in the offing. But if any happiness at all is to be extracted from that misery, it can only be a spiritual happiness…-Hermann Hesse

I’ve worried about that possibility myself.

History of movies in the classroom began with German immigrant DeVry (9).

Lectures, for example, were augmented with computer graphics, bu tte lecture itself persisted in its fundamental form. (18)

Podcasts = lectures
Is this bad? Or does the fact that students can download them and listen while they drive or run or play frisbee make a difference?

Until now, American higher education has largely regulated itself, to great effect. US universities are among the most lightly regulated by government. They are free to choose what discoveries to pursue and what subjects to teach, without concern for economic or political agendas. Responsibly exercised, this freedom is a great intellectual and competitive advantage. (19)

I like this. Not sure how likely it is to continue, but I like the fact that they say it is a good thing.

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