2 mins reading
My younger sister and I often laugh about the frequent stories our Dad would tell us as kids recounting how, as a child, he would always share everything with his siblings. Given information that we’ve been able to glean from other sources (including alternate stories our father has told over the years), we’re highly skeptical that much sharing transpired. But the moral of the story can be true even if its foundations are unstable. It sounds a little corny to say that ‘sharing is caring’, so let’s go with sharing is good.
This article by Jeffrey Young from a few years ago makes a compelling case that while academic research in Higher Education is founded on a culture of sharing, there is no equivalent culture embedded into the teaching context. Beyond invitations to speak about digital learning initiatives at (mostly research or industry-oriented) conferences, I recall very few instances over the past decade when I’ve been explicitly encouraged (or heard others being encouraged) to share teaching practices.
A peer-to-peer mentoring program pops up every now and then in some institutions, and the formation of MOOCs has raised interesting questions about open learning. Deakin University’s ‘Transforming Digital Learning: Learning Design Meets Service Design‘ MOOC is one example of how this has intersected with sharing knowledge about contemporary teaching practices.
However, for the most part a culture of sharing in this area can still feel somewhat haphazard.
The digital age has certainly diversified the opportunities for this sharing to take place. Social media hashtags, websites, blogs, videos, podcasts, and other interactive platforms like the #edureading Academic Reading Group’s use of Flipgrid demonstrate the valuable and varied ways online media can facilitate informal, collegial collaborations. The growing interest in – or rather necessity of – delving more deeply into the digital learning arena will undoubtedly see more individual initiatives to come, though change also needs to be systemic if the culture of openness is to grow…
Thanks for reading. Let me know in a comment what the culture of sharing is like in your institution (internally and externally)? How does your institution promote and/or reward this?
If you feel that the sharing of teaching practices still has some way to go, we’ll just have to take my Dad’s word for it that he always shared when he was younger. And sharing is good.
If you’d trust him to share anything with you at all.