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College as a Service (CaaS)

Let's think about higher education as a process in which the institution and the student, together, create the education, write Louis Soares and Amy Ostrom.

Nic Hammond's profile photoDan O'Shea's profile photoLaura Gibbs's profile photoAnissa Goyal's profile photo
my questions center around the accompanying article, where they discuss looking at student evaluations as a guide for whether or not the product produced is being added to. i'm worried the models here (firstly admitting that i have no knowledge of these theories) won't take into account the fact that the product itself (knowledge/learning) is not what's valued by the customers, by and large. we've entered an era of grade-driven education and only hollow, meaningless A grades will please our patrons. basically, in the stock portfolio model, we've been paying our customers for their stock... which is tanking. so how do you parse that out of the reviews they'll give? how do you convince your customer that it's the skills they're building and not the grade they're getting that's what they're paying for?
+Nic Hammond I understand your point, but I would really disagree that students value only grades. The reason they might seem to value only grades is because we often don't offer them much more than that! But when I redesigned my classes years ago to be project-based, where the students basically get my "services" as a personal writing coach every week for 15 weeks, the results were dramatic - students were happier, I was happier, and the work they produced was marvelous, far better than in the traditional "turn-in-your-paper-the-final-week-of-class" or - worse - "the-final-will-be-45%-of-your-grade" approach taken in so many college classes. I think we could all find a lot of learn by thinking about services as described in this article; it seems a big advance on the "student as customer" model which maybe gets at the same idea, but in a much less helpful way than what I found reading this article.
+Laura Gibbs I agree with what you're saying here. being involved in teaching chemistry at the college level, you're not always given the luxury of having project-based assessment. i've both been a part of, and now encourage the faculty i work with, to get into more active, collaborative learning environments. but my experience has been, when you call a grade a grade, students get disappointed and complain regardless of the hours of support in the form of office hours, workshops, review sessions, thoughtful and formative clicker questions throughout class time, homework assignments... the list goes on. i think there needs to be a sea change, where students are told, "look, what you've done so far got you by... but no longer. and i'm paid to be here because presumably i know how much you should know when you leave. let's all figure out how to get you to my threshold of competence/excellence, depending upon what you want out of this class."
YES, to active, collaborative learning! I get a sense of that from the article - instead of being a professor who produces some good for the student to (passively) consume - lectures, powerpoints, whatever, I want to collaborate with my students, working together with them to accomplish something other than just "getting a grade" (or taking a test, or reading some paper they wrote overnight in the last week of the semester) - so I definitely feel a sympathy for paragraphs in the article like these: Student participation, based on their preferences, values and starting points, is required for change even as a diabetes patient may need to change eating habits and monitor glucose levels in support of a doctor’s expert care, prescriptions and coaching. (Note: This means that “college” cannot be defined as something students are not ready for, but rather as an offering that has no value until a student is engaged.)In order to promote increased accountability and productivity in higher education we need a set of theories, analytical tools and measures designed to unlock the co-creation of value process in services, not one designed for goods production.
so then the limitation is that all of our metrics for the amount of learning we've accomplished will always be taken at the end? now i'm wondering if this can be answered... the only way to see change is to work and work and then measure how much changing you did. the difficulty is measuring the change while you're changing!
Ha ha, again I am feeling very lucky to be working with my students on writing projects - writing is a holistic thing that tends towards continuous improvement since you are basically using most/all of your writing skills all at once when you are writing; the finished product naturally reflects the preceding process in toto. So the trick with a writing course is just to get the students writing a lot, finding a way to give them lots of prompt and useful feedback... and, ideally, helping them to become good peer reviewers of others' work also, but this is the weakest link in my system (one I am working on hard next year), since when students themselves are working on improving their writing, it is a real challenge for them to at the same time be assisting others in that process. But peer feedback is definitely valuable and I've got it working okay in my classes - but I definitely want for it to work better! :-)
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