Assembling the heterogeneous elements for (digital) learning

You want digitally fluent faculty?

The 2014 Horizon Report for Higher Education has identified the “Low Digital Fluency of Faculty” as the number 1 “significant challenge impeding higher education technology adoption”. I have many problems with this, but the image below captures my main problem.

You want digitally fluent faculty? by David T Jones, on Flickr

As a fairly digitally fluent faculty member I have yet to work for an institution of higher education that is able to deal with digitally fluent faculty. I’ve spent the last 20+ years banging my head against the digital illiteracies of higher education institutions. So to hear that the low digital fluency of faculty is seen as the #1 challenge impeding technology adoption is really rather aggravating.

(And I do know that Nicholson’s character didn’t actually say both lines)


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  1. I think there may be some truth in the idea that institutions cannot handle digitally fluent faculty. The problem seems to run in two directions. Some of our systems (PeopleSoft, parts of Moodle, etc.) are so bad that if users are mostly exposed to just systems of that ilk they never gain any real sense of agency/fluency and are left believing that things are as good as they get and working with ICT is always a struggle. Users who have acquired some level of digital fluency on their own find it difficult to tolerate the awkward systems that interrupt the flow that should be associated with fluency and either complain and/or go feral and develop workarounds (to the disquiet of the systems folk). Either way nobody can be truly fluent in a system that constantly throws up barriers.

    • I’m also thinking of the various ways in which staff development happens or other information is distributed. Face-to-face sessions to introduce a new online course template. Email (with PDF attachments, Sharepoint and Moodle. etc.

      Not to mention the IT mindset of “we must approve any tool before you use it”

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