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Goal: Integrative Learning

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 4 months ago

The Goal:


Three very important curricular initiatives, the move to a four-credit curriculum, the new general education program, and the service-learning initiative, will support this goal; the faculty is already fully engaged in these efforts.




Integrative learning leads students to synthesize learning from a wide array of sources, learn from experience, and make significant and productive connections between theory and practice. This approach to teaching and learning is necessary in today's world where technology and globalization transform knowledge practices in all disciplines and professions: disciplines are now less bounded, with new areas of scientific knowledge emerging on the borders of old ones, and with a significant exchange of concepts, methods, and subject matter between the humanities, the social sciences, and the arts (University of Southern California).




In the past curriculum design in higher education has often been fragmented, without much allegiance towards the education of the whole student. The intent of the codified approach was well meaning in that it would provide the student with a deep and focused examination of a given subject. However this often led to limited internal coherence in curriculum or programs, and little opportunity for integrative learning. Our current emphasis on academic technology further enforces the traditional approach in higher education and does little to make transparent the interconnections of seemingly disparate information.


Presently our measure of technology adoption has focused on the use of our learning management system (LMS) to deliver course material. Whether a course syllabus, email, discussion posts, or more administrative tasks such as online grading, the use of the LMS has been primarily focused on content presentation. While a very useful tool when taken in context, its architecture and intended use limits how a student might engage with the subject and does little to encourage cross course learning or knowledge building outside of the classroom. If our current understanding of academic technology starts and stops with the use of a LMS then we will be able to do little to support integrative learning and student engagement. Showing, sharing, and educating campus on how effective use of technology can be a path to engagement pedagogies is key to moving beyond the LMS as the lone academic technology metric.


Contributing to our heavy reliance on the LMS as our academic technology metric has been the absence of a strategic plan that places value and importance on technology integration. Many faculty considered technology innovators have done so on their own or with limited support from the college. Pockets of early adopters soon followed and some success was seen but widespread use of technology (non LMS) has never really flourished. There are many factors that contribute to this but perhaps the biggest obstacle has been the lack of a clear and concise message to campus that technology used to engage learners and enhance teaching and scholarship, is a priority. 






Pedagogy first, then technology.


In order to realize its benefits, we need to intentionally promote the intelligent use of technology as a way to explore new approaches to learning, teaching, and scholarship. We have a solid foundation in place which will help us move forward including curricular changes that make visible student learning outcomes, the expectations of our 'connected' students, and the ubiquitous nature of technology and the birth of Web 2.0. We are poised to use technology to create learning environments that challenge students to become actively engaged, independent, lifelong learners inside and outside of the classroom.


Alma Clayton-Pedersen states that "technology used in the service of learning will require more—not less—sophistication on the part of students as they engage in processes of integration, translation, audience analysis, and critical judgment. The learning outcomes of a 21st-century education will enable us to meet new challenges here and abroad, ranging from information "overload" to persistent inequality and pressing social issues. These challenges require educators who can think in interdisciplinary, multimedia ways to construct the 21st-century curriculum. Faculty with expertise in one or more subjects, who have been exposed to what we know about how people learn, can determine how to enhance this learning through the use of technology. But simply understanding how to use technology will not provide the integration needed to reach the desired learning outcomes".


When guided by pedagogical objectives we have an opportunity to support students and faculty with existing and emerging technology tools that "support knowledge creation, knowledge gathering, and knowledge sharing" inside and outside of institutional settings." <Natriello>. 


Desirable Outcomes:



  • Support intentional learners by helping them connect disparate[diverse?] information and draw on a wide range of information and knowledge to make decisions and apply knowledge.
  • Find ways in which technology will be used to balance the "playing field" by developing and recognizing talent.
  • Support the 21st century student [and teacher?]by championing innovation, creativity, and citizenship.



University of Southern California (2007).  Center for Excellence in Teaching.  Retrieved November 2007 from http://www.usc.edu/programs/cet/resources/learn/integrative.html


 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) (2007). Chapter 2: Barriers to Readiness. Retrieved November 2007 from  http://www.greaterexpectations.org/


Moore, A. (2007). “Active Learning and Technology: Designing Change for Faculty, Students, and Institutions” EDUCAUSE September/October 2007 . Retrieved November 2007 from http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Review/ActiveLearningandTechnolo/44994


Claton-Pedersen, A. , O’Neill, N (2005). “Educating the Net Generation”. Curricula Designed to Meet 21st Century Expectations. http://www.educause.edu/CurriculaDesignedtoMeet21st%2DCenturyExpectations/6065


Gary Natriello, "Imagining, Seeking, Inventing: The Future of Learning and the Emerging Discovery Networks", Learning Inquiry, vol. 1 no. 1 (April 2007): 7-18





Comments (2)

Anonymous said

at 6:52 pm on Nov 4, 2007

This is great.

BTW you really nailed a key element here -- the challenge is not a KSC specific challenge but a general challenge -- you've made a couple edits that have really brought that out.

I also like the links at the bottom! That's good. Really happy with that.

Anonymous said

at 6:26 pm on Nov 14, 2007

Alma Clayton-Pedersen's words make me think about the challenge of having faculty embrace this new pedagogy. She might suggest we begin with "audience analysis" (faculty as audience) and be sure they "know about how people learn" (I probably know more about subject than learning, and define learning as students knowing the subject as I define it). So it seems to me that a frontal assault with the tools of technology (which I realize is not what is being proposed but is where conversations about this inevitably seem to end up) is the last place to start. I see the ISP course design process as a means to engage faculty in a slightly new learning environment, create new definitions of learning, and open the door for technology to help integrate learning newly defined.

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