Technology. It is so engrained in our everyday we hardly even give consideration to it. My Smartphone is a more powerful computer than the first desktop I owned, which was state of the art at the time. When I was a young child, I recall waiting with my immigrant parents at our dining table for a call from a telephone operator telling us that a family member from a quarter of a world away would be calling us. Now, I make that call from my Smartphone directly to my overseas family, only being careful to remember the time differences. So it should be of no surprise when I tell you how instruction, the delivery of instruction and the grading of the outcomes of that instruction have been effected by technology.
Technology has changed so much of how we conduct business at college, and it is pretty much adapt or be overcome situation. For example, if you are giving students an assignment that will be submitted to you electronically you not only have to set a due date but a due time. You may even have to specify the format of the submission. Then you have to decide as a faculty member do you print out the electronic submission or grade it electronically. I have a colleague who actually grades submissions on line and dictates verbal evaluations which are transmitted to her students. They can look over their graded work with the voice of their instructor providing feedback on their materials.
And like all technologies, it means we can handle more information at a faster speed. The challenge becomes how we can maintain an atmosphere of learning and growth, not simply an “open up and I will fill your mind” approach. For me the question becomes how can I adapt technology to better their instruction but still interact with them in a manner that reveals professionalism and collegiality? Because it can’t be ALL about the technology, ultimately it has to be about the professionals that we are graduating into the world.