On May 19th, I had the pleasure of presenting at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, as the keynote for the EduSoCal10 conference.  The event was a creative venture to substitute the Educause regional conference that did not take place on the west coast this year.  I’d like to thank Crista Copp, Director of Academic Technology at LMU, and Michael Berman, CIO of CSU Channel Islands, for this speaking opportunity.  LMU has shared this presentation, in addition to many other of the day’s sessions, as videos on their iTunes U site.  I have embedded my presentation below, with permission from LMU. 

My presentation explores the art historical role of innovation and risk-taking in western society, highlighting the potential of creativity in teaching to unhinge higher education from its lecture-based traditions. The presentation showcases a specific case study in teaching innovation from my community college History of Women in Art class that examines the learning effects of an instructional model that embraces active learning in the classroom, rather than passive delivery of lecture. Student feedback and survey results are included. This case study was also shared last September, 2009, as an Educause Learning Initiative webinar titled, “Teaching Without Walls.”

I’d like to take this opportunity to respond more deeply and thoughtfully to one question I received from the audience.  My presentation criticizes the effectiveness of lectures as a learning activity.  I was asked (not verbatim), “Given your perspective of lectures, why, then, did you select to deliver your content via lecture?” I had considered the contradiction embedded in my lecture style as I was preparing my content but, truly, hadn’t worked through it entirely.  In my response to the question, I acknowledged that contradiction but didn’t have a clear answer as to why I delivered my presentation via lecture.  Now I can lucidly explain this, as I’ve spent some time thinking about it.

Lectures do have value in learning and I believe my case study demonstrates this fact. However, if I’m given 16-weeks with a group and my goal is to facilitate they their learning of a variety of concepts and ideas, lecture alone is not an ideal activity, especially to fill my precious face-to-face time with my learners.  Lecture has an important role in learning but it’s not only piece of how we should be facilitating deep learning.  As facilitators of learning, we need to engage our audience actively in critique, debate, and discussion to promote higher levels of learning, as well as meet the “offline” expectations of our digital generation of students who are deeply informed by YouTube and TiVo who are most likely to say, “If it’s passive content like a lecture is, share it with me digitally so I can watch it when and where it’s convenient for me,  I can rewind and forward the content, and learn at my own pace.”

When teaching a class on a campus,  I believe this moment in higher education is our moment, as “teachers”– not deliverers of information — to implement technology into our instruction (via web-based tools outside the classroom) to enable us to have more time to work directly with our students in a live setting — without technology — resulting in more dynamic, relevant, and enriching learning for our students.  “The World is Open,” as Curtis Bonk has demonstrated, and our Googled, YouTubed, mobile society has capsized the relevance of a learning model that is based on showing up at a specific time and place, twice a week, for sixteen weeks to hear a professor deliver information that is available in the pocket of most students.  It is time for our classroom model to be transformed by technology, just as the rest of the world has been.

Enjoy the video (56 minutes). I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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