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Game changers, audibles, and rejuvenated pedagogies

As game changers, we recognize that we are in the middle of building our technology and team skills and literally testing our skills as we develop them. We are immersed in our professional development while writing about the capacities we are using in an effort to communicate these to our faculty and student colleagues and constituents. We are having the experience of time and space being compressed, so we must be able to think and move quickly in order to respond to learner needs and system failures (e.g., university servers). The well-established model of reflection and the time for reflection on reflection are greatly changed. The need to be extremely proactive in responding to learner needs, technology adaptations, and institutional mandates has moved the fore, which further exacerbates our sense of urgency.

In our professional development as faculty colleagues we are not talking about the minor changes and adjustments that one makes to one’s courses to enable them to “go live.” Instead, we have tried to evoke a sense of a major change in the way the game itself is being played. Analogous to this phenomenon is that while the Wright brothers could be identified as the initial breakthrough in flying, the collective that enabled jet flight is not as readily known or remembered. In our genuine interdependence as teaching faculty, we are not striving to be the first wave of change—the Wright Brothers. Our goal is not to fly a few hundred feet across the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk. Instead, we want to be at the wave of innovation where air travel is the norm. We imagine transporting our students from one destination to another smoothly and effectively so they can transact the business of transforming schools to become just, equitable, democratic, and innovative centers of learning. This means re-setting our game plan.

As support systems for game changers, the academy needs to provide a highly responsive and adaptive infrastructure that allows faculty and students to excel at online learning, which means time, equipment, and resources. Institutions are demanding innovation in learning and teaching and yet what is sorely lacking is a dynamic and reliable network that enables people to do their jobs in new ways. The kind of support we are talking about is not based on highly specialized knowledge and roles so much as well-resourced networks that function at an increased level across entire university and school systems. Interdependent people such as instructors, faculty teams, and technology support personnel would be working together to produce high-quality instruction on behalf of a larger cause, such as successfully educating future leaders to lead effectively in high-need schools and low-income areas. Online programming is here to stay in educational leadership and while some of us have already adapted to it, we also face issues of program quality in the face of inconsistent and unreliable support:

"The growth of online programs undoubtedly is of concern to the professoriate, because over half of the respondents in 2008 cited this issue as a … serious problem. A challenge for educational leadership units is to develop rigorous and engaging online offerings so that quality is not compromised for convenience." (Hackmann&McCarthy, 2011, p. 284)

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Source:  OpenStax, Ncpea handbook of online instruction and programs in education leadership. OpenStax CNX. Mar 06, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11375/1.24
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