Posted November 6, 2016on:
Not preventing something is not the same as promoting, sanctioning, or allowing it. This might sound obvious when you say it, but this seems to escape people who seek change.
For example, take how many educational institutions adopt a standard learning management system (LMS). When a few instructors ask if they can not use it or operate outside of it, the reasonable response from higher-ups is that they are not prevented from doing this. However, these independent or alternative efforts are not supported either.
Since components are often tightly linked — content storage and delivery; online discussion; assignment checking, submission, and grading — operating outside an institutional LMS takes know-how, courage, and persistence. Instructors have legitimate concerns about what others think about their actions and if these impact student feedback on teaching and their appraisals.
But ask any instructor who has had legitimate reasons to move beyond institutional LMS if their students’ feedback or instructional appraisals have been bad. You will more likely than not find that when these educators put their learners’ interests before their own, neither feedback nor appraisals suffer.
So the issue of higher-ups or IT departments or current policies not supporting innovative educators is a non-issue. The main thing that prevents change is the mindset and determination of the educator.