Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learning Organizations, Faculty Development, Technology

This quarter, I am taking my last research course for my Ph.D. I also decided to take a course on Writing a Literature Review. For my quantitative research course, I am developing a course project--essentially a mini research proposal. I was hoping that the articles for my KAMs would help me decide on my dissertation topic/question--and that I could begin to develop my proposal as my course project. Unfortunately, I find that all my research questions seem to lend themselves to descriptive studies or qualitative research. Therefore, my project proposal is not really a project that I can implement at this point in my career. Oh, well.

I am finding that the Lit Review course is helping me focus my research more, however. The matrix is especially helpful as I create my annotated bibliographies based on the new KAM guidelines.

One thing I've found is that the plethora of terms used to describe "online learning" and "faculty development" make it difficult to make sure that I've covered all the bases. In addition, I have been focusing on faculty development and higher education. However, I'm not finding information on the relationship between faculty development initiatives and knowledge management or organizational change. I'm not sure if there has not been any discussion or if I'm not asking the right questions/putting in the right keywords. Peter Senge's book Schools That Learn is primarily directed at lower education (elementary-secondary). I can't believe that no one in higher ed has read his books.
Kezar (2005) maintains that although "the learning organization has been one of the most written about topics in organizational studies. higher education institutions have been less likely to apply these concepts to their organizational functioning" (p. 1).

Higher education (especially 4-year research institutions) is such a bastion of tradition! The whole concept of being a good instructor is a relatively new idea. All too often faculty see faculty development initiatives as intrusive and meddling. They pride themselves on what they know. And they find it hard to give up "power." Admitting that they don't know something (such as how to use technology in their teaching practices) is difficult. So not only is technology integration a new innovation, but faculty development to improve teaching and learning is a new innovation. All too often technology initiatives are introduced without getting all stakeholder buy-in and without adequately establishing policies and procedures--one of which is to provide ongoing support of faculty to learn how to use the technology AND how to integrate the technology in their teaching practices (they are not the same thing.)

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