The State of College Teaching

I posted last year about the state of educational research and funding. Some quotes I drew then:

Educational research is not very influential, useful, or well funded. (source)

the U.S. spends approximately $300 billion a year on education and less than $30 million, 0.01 percent of the overall education budget, on education research . . . This minuscule investment suggests a feeble longterm commitment to improving our educational system. (ibid)

Just about everybody, having gone to school, thinks he or she is an expert on education. (ibid)

Educational technology is getting a bad name because of some bad research. Two varieties of bad research have recently received far too much press. These illustrate the “hobbled horse race” and “trivial treatment” fallacies. (source)

Here also are some equally down quotes about college teaching😉

College teaching may be the only skilled profession for which systematic training is neither required nor provided–pizza delivery jobs come with more instruction. (source)

According to a recent study, 72% of the papers appearing in leading engineering journals were never cited(7). Imagine the educational uses that could have been made of the money and time spent on the research described in those papers. (source)

Just as there is little or no attention to training faculty for teaching – because there has long been the implicit, though now thoroughly discredited, assumption that if one masters the content, one can teach it effectively – a similar assumption has been made about teaching assistants. (source)

when college students abandon science as a major, 90 percent of them do so because of what they perceive as poor teaching; and, among those who remain in the sciences, 74 percent lament the poor quality of teaching. (source)

The continued downward spiral of enrolment in physical sciences in the USA and Europe has science educators concerned on both sides of the Atlantic. Physics has been particularly hard-hit, with the percentage of students choosing to major in the subject at the lowest level in decades. University physics has a reputation as a difficult, abstract subject with little application to the real world and introductory physics has little impact on students’ conception of the discipline. (source)

I posted to the learning sciences & educational technology group some links on improving college teaching, including the technique of having instructional consultants work with faculty on improving their courses and teaching, as described in this recent article. There is also a conference on this topic every year.

Posted in edtech, education
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