This morning we held the second meeting of the Dean’s Advisory Committee (DAC) for the University Libraries. The committee was asked the following questions which led to an engaging conversation that touched on the opportunities and challenges facing colleges, departments, programs, research institutions, faculty, and students:
- What will research and teaching look like in ten years?
- Is there anything you wish you could change about your research practices and the way you teach?
- What barriers or obstacles prevent you from teaching differently and approaching research differently?
- What core research, teaching, and learning skills, literacies, abilities, or mindsets could faculty and students develop at Virginia Tech? (How do we prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet?)
Since I have been using Google Glass and Apps to advance the way I teach and undertake research, I have been confronted with a number of these types of questions over the past year. From this experience, I believe the future of teaching will be heavily influenced by “teaching analytics” that will enable faculty (and students) to identify how, where, and when student learning occurs. I also believe these data will enable faculty to become better teachers by identifying those techniques that effectively engage students.
As a relatively junior faculty member, I would also like to see the creation of “teaching coaches” who mentor faculty in the art of pedagogy. These coaches could be identified through VT’s awards for teaching or through projects funded by TLOS (Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies and be compensated (either financially or through a reduction in duties) for their mentoring work. The creation of an environment where faculty can experiment with new techniques, approaches, platforms, etc. is likely to be critical to advancing teaching and learning.