Welcome to Wired Ivy… Summer Shorts! Kieran here, and I’ve got a question for you… Does the room where it happens always have to be a room?
In ages past, information distribution was a problem with few solutions. True, a printing press could be gleaned by a man of means and esteem, but with literacy scant, and paper steep, the dispersal potential, while intensified, remained circumscribed… and not cheap.
Which is why the best shot for knowledge dropped by a founding father, or a scholar, to spread a lot farther was to assemble a conclave.
Rooms were not prerequisite for compromise and understandings to happen, but they happened with greater haste when meetings took place, so the place to be was in the room [record scratch]
Ok, ok… I know there’s only so far I can go with this attempt to make a treatise on taking an inventive approach to in-person versus virtual teaching a tribute to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. For one thing, I can rhyme but I can’t sling. When I try it sounds more like an homage to Theodor Geisel.
So be it — Dr. Seuss taught me how to read.
Plus, I’m long past the age when I believed embarrassment was literally fatal so the possibility of looking foolish is worth the risk, in my opinion. Especially for educators. Because for someone to learn something from your lessons, first they have to remember what you said. And I’m betting you won’t forget this commentary any time soon. No matter how hard you try.
Back to my original disquisition…
[rewind] …so the place to be was in the room.
While it was once difficult and expensive to distribute information this is no longer the case. The means of moving ideas from one person in one place to other people in other places has traveled past horse-and-buggy, railroads, telegraph, telephones, radio, television, mainframes, PCs, laptops, smartphones, ARPANET, Internet, dial-up, cable, satellite, Ethernet, WiFi, 5G, and into the 21st Century.
An Information Age that has open doors previously closed. Now a physical room, though presupposed, Based on tradition and glory, is but one of many sites to tell your story.
Looking for minds at work? You’ll find millions of them in virtual classrooms. Students who enroll for credit, for necessity, or for love; faculty who volunteered, or were shoved. So yes, independence from place-based learning has been transformative. The technology liberating, the impact sweeping. Yet there’s room for compromise in teaching.
Which room was once the only option. Here’s my proposal: There’s now an arsenal of content delivery options at your disposal. You don’t have to pick between a room and Zoom, a lectern or broadband. Your choices are unlimited… not OR but AND.
For example, with a close at hand constituency, and open eyes, you might see that a blend of here and anywhere could be the key. Let the learning goals lead, combine the best of both, in a blended, aka hybrid, approach. A mix-tape of cadence, locations, and folks. Same class, same instructor, in-person, online, connecting with students in different places and times, or all together, synchronized.
It doesn’t take a genius so don’t be mislead. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel… or higher ed. You don’t have to work harder, just be a smarter self-starter. Marshall your courage, take a risk, and no remorse. Just explore innovative ways to deliver your course.
That would be enough.
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CITATIONS AND REFERENCES
The terms blended and hybrid are often used interchangeably to describe courses designed with some content delivered in-person and some online. However, that’s a very simplistic definition for an approach that is limited only by the imagination of the educator designing the course. Moreover, there are specific definitions within the context of accreditation, both at the regional and state levels. Below you’ll find some links that may open your eyes and mind to new ways to structuring your courses, based on the best use of face-to-face vs. virtual channels, so you can let the learning objectives guide decisions, rather than habit and tradition.
Getting Started with Designing a Hybrid Learning Course — An introduction from Cornell University.
How I’m Spending My Pandemic Summer Vacation — Chronicle of Higher education published Sarah Rose Cavanagh’s syllabus for preparing to teach remotely in the Age of Covid-19.
Not Your Mother’s Online Class — In this Inside Higher Ed article, Curtis Newbold writes that hybrid education may be the breath of the future, and the death of teaching as we know it.
We’ll end our Summer Shorts virtual music festival with a group of talented stage performers offering a cover of an apropos tune from the Hamilton soundtrack. Prepare to be amazed and astonished!
Wired Ivy is wholly owned by Kieran Lindsey and Daniel Marcucci, and we are solely responsible for its content. Views expressed in this podcast and affiliated media are those of Kieran, Dan, and our guests, and do not represent Virginia Tech or any other institution. Our audio engineer is Star Path Images, and a license for our theme music, Breakfast with You, was purchased from SmartSound.
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