While attending the League for Innovations 2013 conference in Dallas, I was chatting with a colleague about collaborative and active learning and the new language of flipped classrooms (i.e., technology-delivered content outside of class time to maximize student engagement with the material, faculty and other students during face-to-face sessions). We were reminiscing about conversations in our early faculty years of the late 1980s. At that time we were shifting from being teaching-centered to learning-centered with the refrain of faculty moving from a “sage on the stage” to a “guide on the side.” A decade later we were teaching online classes and in technology-enhanced “smart classrooms.”
What has changed in the 21st century? Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS), competency-based courses, badges, learning analytics, personalized adaptive learning, open source course materials, institutional accountability, efficiency and unbundling of faculty roles. Students are consuming education in different ways by utilizing multiple institutions and multiple delivery modalities. The 21st Century Commission Report, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future,” encourages the leaders of community colleges to redesign the learning experience, reinvent institutional roles and reset community colleges for the century ahead. Mandates for increased student learning success and credential completion are permeating external and internal conversations. It is apparent that significant transformation is coming to community colleges whether we are ready or not.
What hasn’t changed in the last 25 years? Student success depends not only on high tech but also on the high touch. When students recount their college experiences, the reflection on what changed their lives is not the information or skills learned, but the faculty and staff with whom they connected. <Read more.>