5 Technologies Not Appearing in My Fall Class

An alternative approach.

September 15, 2013

Here is a list of a few of the technologies that I will not be using in my course, (that begins this week), Higher Education In The Digital Age: Trends, Challenges And Opportunities For Colleges And Universities:

1. No Learning Management System

2. No PowerPoint

3. No Videos

4. No Mobile Apps

5. No Flipped Classroom

Here are some technologies that we will use:

  • A Table: We have only six students signed up. That is great. We will sit around a seminar table and talk to each other. Face to face.   
  • A Book: The assigned book is William Bowen's Higher Education in the Digital Age (you can see where I got the course title). We will see who buys the hardcover and who buys the Kindle. (I have the hardcover).
  • Some Articles: Every article that we will read can be found (for free) on the Web. If the article required a subscription or is behind password then it is not on my syllabus.

Before you start wondering if: a) I need turn in my edtechie badge, or b) if my institution has decided to walk away from learning technology, or c) that I'm crazy, not telling the truth, or both - there are few things that you should know about my course.

First, the cost to attend my course is $55.That buys you six class sessions, every Monday from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. One reason why enrolled students pay so little in tuition is that I will be making zero dollars for teaching.   

Second, the course is not a credit bearing course. Or a course even offered as part of my institution's course catalog. Rather, this an ILEAD course. 

The website for ILEAD explains the program thusly:  

ILEAD is a continuing education program based on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. ILEAD (pronounced like Homer's "Iliad") is an acronym of Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth. Our program encourages participants to actively take part in courses of study suggested by the membership.

We offer year-round opportunities to study timely and provocative subjects by participating in courses, attending lectures, interacting at social events, taking part in group journeys, and much more!

This will be my first ILEAD class, and I couldn't be more excited. I've been out of the classroom for too long. For reasons of both timing and opportunity I have not taught a face-to-face, blended, or online course going on four years. I miss teaching. Maybe this will ILEAD course will be my gateway drug back to the classroom. We will see.

My hope is that working with ILEAD learners will allow me to scratch my teaching itch in something approaching the Platonic ideal for education. A seminar where we can learn together through dialogue and discussion. A class where we can challenge each other's assumptions, question long-held beliefs, and move together to a new understanding.

Of course, teaching in this way (with no technology, no grades, and nobody who doesn't want to be present) is not realistic in the real world of postsecondary education.  

In the real world higher education is very expensive, and the people who teach need to get paid.  

In the real world we can't run many classes with six students.

In the real world we use learning technologies to make large classes feel like seminars. 

In the real world we use technology to allow learners that would not otherwise be able to participate in our programs, because they don't live where we teach or because they work full-time and have families, to enroll.

The irony that I'm teaching a course called Higher Education In The Digital Age with almost no digital technology is not lost on me. 

For the next six weeks I plan to savor every discussion of our reading, every debate, every argument, and every new insight.   

I look forward to not having our learning together mediated by anything more substantial than a table.

What are you teaching this Fall?

What technologies are you not using?


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