Learning Spaces Collaboratory – 2017

Collaboration is a requirement to improve teaching and learning, and events organized by the Learning Spaces Collaboratory are the catalyst.

There are webinars, reports and roundtables throughout the country. These are interventions to a business-as-usual attitude. The core ingredients are urgent conversations among faculty members.

Why are these LSC events necessary? Because improving teaching and learning is enormously difficult for higher education. In Reengineering the University, William Massy identifies several factors including decentralization of teaching activity.

As a former vice provost at Stanford, he has seen this up close. “The benefits of such decentralization are substantial, but a heavy price is extracted when it comes to systemic improvement of teaching and learning.” Decentralization honors the scholarship of the individual instructor but discourages the necessary collaborative action.

Our inboxes are flooded with a range of conferences that are organized to showcase services and equipment. Only occasionally do they engage in conversations about teaching and learning. For LSC, improving teaching and learning is the reason to exist. This work is as important to the future of higher education as OR’s are to healthcare.

Through the leadership of Jeanne Narum, LSC has been at this work for many years. Their upcoming events are another example of the type of interventions required – recognizing the problem and documenting design thinking to describe an appropriate response. Implementation will always require institutional action, but without the catalyzing influence provided by such events, the inertia of the status quo is overwhelming.

Check it out.

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