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Great Teaching Trumps Innovation

Teacher at the board

To steal a phrase from Dr. Craig Swenson’s keynote, “Time is out of joint” (Hamlet), we live in a world where we see increasing innovation happening in all facets of life – from AI, machine learning, unbundling of education, the rise of online education in traditional higher education, automation of jobs, to the kaleidoscopic diversity in our classrooms (Gates Foundation would call it “the new normal”). We live in crazy times. Think about this - forty years ago, Toyota sold mopeds, Oldsmobile was a well-known brand, and there were only three TV networks. What will be next?

We are faced with unprecedented levels of technological complexity and new forms of competition. With that, I propose a few pearls of wisdom, derived from some thought-provoking sessions at AU TLC today (Weds, Nov. 8), on how we can compete:

~See innovation as an opportunity, not a threat.

~While we as faculty cannot force students to drink water (i.e., learn), we can make ’em thirsty. Or, as Arthur C. Clark said, “when students are engaged learning happens”.

~While technology evolution will no doubt transform and disrupt some traditional models of education, great teaching will always be in high demand. Another way to think about this comes from Sigatra Mitra, who said, “If a computer can replace a teacher it should”. But no computer will replace Escalante (Stand and Deliver), or Grumwell (Freedom Writers), or Dr. Levine (my favorite college professor 😊). Let’s be like them!

~Finally, consider the Medici Effect when thinking about all the changes happening all around us- i.e., where diversity, cultures, disciplines all stream together at an intersection is where groundbreaking ideas emerge.

What are our groundbreaking ideas to improve retention, increase student learning, and differentiate ourselves in a very competitive and evolving market? I want to thank the incredible TLC team for cultivating an environment where these types of discussions inspire us, move us to action, and further enrich our commitment to our mission.

Dr. Andrew Shean

Chief Academic Learning Officer

Bridgepoint Education

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