Saturday, February 14, 2009

TLT Vision or Strategic Plan for an Institution: Good Idea?

Steve Gilbert and I did some really exciting consulting for Howard University this past week, helping their TLT Roundtable develop a vision of teaching and learning with technology for the next few years, at the urgent request of Howard's administration for use in the upcoming budget cycle.

I was impressed with the planning work at Howard, which is just getting started. And I think a Roundtable is a good group to develop a vision that a community can embrace, and implement.

But I haven't heard about many multi-year plans to use technology to improve, alter, or
transform teaching and learning in departments, colleges or universities. I'm talking about plans to make relatively specific, programmatic improvements that imply relatively specific technology-related investments (e.g., improving undergraduate research by relying in part on more remote labs, simulations, and ePortfolios; internationalizing a program by relying in part on networking with people and resources in other countries; empowering faculty to improve their teaching through large-scale training in how to find and use free and open source tools). (Planning to improve technology capacity, e.g., changing learning management systems, or expanding enrollment by relying part on technology- these are more common topics for IT plans. But I'm interested in TLT plans, either standalone, or integrated into a larger academic plan or vision).

Budgets are tight, and many institutions feel pressed against the wall. Isn't that exactly the moment to plan how to make changes, year by year, to do these a bit differently? (In our work with Howard so far, we've already developed some new ideas and materials for doing just that.)

Enough preaching. To help us help you, and other institutions, here are two requests.

First, I've created this brief Flashlight Online survey that asks about whether or not your institution or department has any sort of vision or plan for using technology to support and improve teaching and learning over the next few years. (If you don't have a plan, the survey also asks whether that's intentional - 'we don't think planning is appropriate here'). Once you respond, you'll be able to see what others have said (and you can return to the URL as often as you like to see updates. We'll publicize these responses, and the plans you send us. So please tell us all what your institution has been doing. It will take you only 2-3 minutes.

Second, if your institution or department has a vision or plan for how to improve teaching and learning with technology in the next few years that you'd like to share with others, please send it to me, Steve Ehrmann.

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