Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Year of Curriculum Development

This seems to be the year of curriculum development for many people I know.  Some of our school departments are having curriculum completely revamped; some people are happy, while some are not.  I know several faculty members who are teaching at new places, in addition to with us, and they're having a variety of curriculum experiences.  I have several friends who are learning all sorts of interesting ways to teach with online resources and various LMS (Learning Management Systems) that exist.

Friday a friend said to me, as she often does, "We should create our own LMS and sell it.  We'd be wildly rich."

That friend has not been the same since she went to a technology conference that was part of the South by Southwest festival in Austin.  I love her enthusiasm, but she wildly overestimates my skills with computers.  I love that about her too.

In the spring, I did some curriculum development for an online Humanities course.  It's the kind of thing where the faculty member will be handed the materials that I completed.  With the exception of grading and leading the threaded discussions, there's not much for the faculty member to do.

I'm thinking of how much I've changed since I first started teaching.  In my first years of teaching, I often taught at places where I had to choose between 3 textbooks, and I chafed at that level of outside control.

Now the idea of being handed a course that's ready to go doesn't bother me as much, especially if it's one of the first year courses.  I've taught Composition using a variety of approaches, and essentially, we're all doing the same thing as we try to teach how to write an effective essay.  If I'm teaching a Lit class, I once wanted to choose the literature.  Now I can talk about anything and lead the discussion (but truth be told, if there's time, I'd still like to choose the works of literature).

Have I lost my youthful passion?  Should I be worried?

Is it a sign of being tired?  Or just a sign of being reasonable?  Or both?

I do still find myself enthusiastic about all the new approaches that technology offers--when I'm not worried about being pushed out of my career field by all the technology.  It's an interesting time to be in education.  I have some friends who are convinced that we're at the beginning of an exciting era.  I have others who are convinced that the world of education that they loved has gone away.

I suspect we're all correct to a certain degree.

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